July 24, 2010

The Short Story Artist

Joyce Carol OatesYou may know that the most famous writer of short stories in American literature was a gentleman named O Henry, who wrote great volumes of stories and poems while living in a microscopic stone house in the midst of what is now a parking lot in San Antonio, Texas. We'll save O Henry for another time. Today's article is on Joyce Carol Oates -- a very recognizable and very prolific figure in American literature. She is an author, poet, teacher, editor and publisher, a runner a diarist, and an essayist.

Over the last forty-seven years she has written fifty novels, dozens of plays, numerous books of poetry, and many, many short stories. She has won numerous writing awards, been nominated twice for a pulitzer, and for the last few years has taught creative writing at Princeton University. She is know for creating complex characters, and criticized somewhat for her tendency to steer into themes of sex and violence.

I must admit, that for the most part, I am not fond of her poetry. On the other hand, I have always been a fan of her short story writing. Oates is a master of developing characters, atmosphere, and the arc of a story in a dozen pages without ever seeming rushed. I also like the varied viewpoints she uses for narration.

Below are a collection of first lines from her books and short stories that will be added to Quotation collection #26, Good Starts: Here, too, she demonstrates a wide range of voices.

By the way, The O Henry Awards are given every year for the best short stories published in the U.S. Joyce Carol Oates won the award in 1967, and has remained a regular contender for decades.


Innocently it began.
Joyce Carol Oates, A Fair Maiden, 2010

The yearning in my heart!
Joyce Carol Oates, Little Bird of Heaven, 2009

One afternoon in September 1919 a young woman factory worker was walking home on the towpath of the Erie barge Canal, east of the small city of Chautauqua Falls, when she began to notice that she was being followed, at a distance of about thirty feet, by a man in a panama hat.
Joyce Carol Oates, The Grave Digger's Daughter, 2007

Ohhh God.
Joyce Carol Oates, Black Girl/White Girl, 2006

At the time unknown, unnamed, the individual who was to throw himself into the Horseshoe Falls appeared to be the gatekeeper of the Goat Island Suspension Bridge at approximately 6:15 A.M.
Joyce Carol Oates, The Falls, 2004

He had known it must happen soon.
Joyce Carol Oates, The Tattooed Girl, 2003

Where she'd died wasn't where she would be found.
Joyce Carol Oates, The Barrens, 2001

How death enters your life.
Joyce Carol Oates, Middle Age: A Romance, 2001

This movie I've been seeing all my life, yet never to its completion.
Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde, 2000

There was a time in the village of Willowsville, New York, population 5,640, eleven miles east of Buffalo, when every girl between the ages of twelve and twenty (and many unacknowledged others besides) was in love with John Reddy Heart.
Joyce Carol Oates, Broke Heart Blues, 1999

We were the Mulvaneys, remember us?
Joyce Carol Oates, We were the Mulvaneys, 1996

God erupted in thunder and shattering glass.
Joyce Carol oates, What I Lived For, 1994

The rented Toyota, driven with such impatient exuberance by The Senator, was speeding along the unpaved unnamed road, taking the turns in giddy, skidding slides, and then, with no warning, somehow the car had gone off the road and had overturned in black rushing water, listing to its passenger's side, rapidly sinking.
Joyce Carol Oates, Black Water, 1992

She wanted very much to know why, yet she dreaded knowing why, her son, newly home after four months away, was avoiding her.
Joyce Carol Oates, Goose-Girl, 1991

The other day, it was a sunswept windy
March morning, I saw my grandmother staring at me, those deep-socketed eyes, that translucent skin, a youngish woman with very dark hair as I hadn't quite remembered her who had died while I was in college, years ago, in 1966.
Joyce Carol Oates, Why Don't You Come Live With
Me It's Time, 1991

In the unmarked government sedan with the olive-tinted windows, en route to the consul-general's residence in a leafier, less traffice- and bicycle-clogged part of the city, the cultural attache's wife leaned forward to tell
Caroline Carmichael, in a lowered voice, "You won't mention this to anyone tonight, of course, Miss Carmichael--but Mr. Price has been under a good deal of pressure lately."
Joyce Carol Oates, American, Abroad, 1991

"Little Red" Garlock, sixteen years old, skull smashed soft as a rotten pumpkin and body dumped into the Cassadaga River near the foot of Pitt Street, must not have sunk as he'd been intended to sink, or floated as far.
Joyce Carol Oates, Because It Is Bitter, and Becaue It Is My Heart, 1990

There are stories that go unaccountably wrong and become impermeable to the imagination.
The Swimmers, Joyce Carol Oates, 1989

How subtly the season of mourning shaded into a season of envy.
Joyce Carolo Oates, House Hunting, 1988

Not once upon a time, but a few years ago.
Joyce Carol Oates, You Must Remember This, 1987

It was a mild, fragrant evening in late September, several weeks after he had moved to Glenkill, Pennsylvania, to begin teaching at the Glenkill Academy for Boys, that Monica Jensen was introduced to Sheila Trask at a crowded reception in the head-master's residence.
Joyce Carol Oates, Solstice, 1985

They are sitting at opposite ends of the old horsehair sofa waiting for something to happen.
Joyce Carol Oates, The Assignation: A Book of Hours, 1975

Jesse wakes, startled.
Joyce Carol Oates, Wonderland, 1971

One warm evening in August 1969 a girl in love stood before a mirror.
Joyce Carol Oates, Them, 1969

I was a child murderer.
Joyce Carol Oates, Expensive People, 1968

On that day many years ago a rattling Ford truck carrying twenty-nine farmworkers and their children sideswiped a local truck carrying hogs to Little Rock on a rain-slick country highway.
A Garden of Earthly Delights, 1967


June 01, 2010

Remembering the Captain

Jacques Cousteau in his trademark red hatJune 11th marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, one of the greatest explorers the world has ever known. Cousteau was a French naval officer who excelled at diving. After World War II, he turned his passion into a career, then turned his career into a cause. Eventually he became a touchstone for our awareness of the world around us. Cousteau gave us his first-person observations of "beauty and fragility" of the undersea world, and of the living world as a whole. The Cousteau Society, with several hundred thousand members, lives on in his name, promoting the need to address environmental issues and act as responsible stewards of underwater ecosystems.

Cousteau was a man of many talents, and had a persistent drive to invent, explore, and communicate what he learned. He was a man of many labels - explorer, diver, researcher, inventor, author, film maker, photographer, ship's captain, and narrator among others. It is his nuanced monologues delivered in a steady, understated voice I remember best, his softly French-accented English voiced over images of coral reefs, whale sharks, diving iguanas and undersea caves. Foremost among his inventions was perfection of the “aqua lung” - the open-loop SCUBA gear that enabled him and the crew of his research vessel, the Calypso, unprecedented access to the undersea landscape and its inhabitants. His work with Harold Edgerton of MIT led to the development of underwater flash photography, and of color adjusted films that revealed the true colors of undersea life.

The timing of this 100th anniversary is not without its irony. Cousteau observed and documented half a century of decline in once robust undersea populations from overfishing and the damaging impact of widespread pollution, and of man-made changes in rivers and estuaries and their bird, fish, and mammal populations. I can only imagine his sadness at the scale of the environmental disaster that continues to evolve in the Gulf of
Mexico, as toxic crude petroleum, methane, and other contaminants spew into the sea from a ruptured oil well, five thousand feet (1500 m) beneath the surface.

On a brighter note, to celebrate the anniversary, you can exploreThe Cousteau Society web site at , find Jacques Cousteau Island on Google Maps, or listen to John Denver's song tribute, "Calypso". You could also read one of Cousteau's 50 books, or try to find one of his dozen movies or over 100 television documentaries. There is also, I must admit, an interesting parody of Cousteau and the Calypso crew, with Bill Murray playing a sort of anti-Cousteau in "The Life Aquatic".

Also due out this month is a biography of Cousteau written by his oldest son, Jean-Michel Cousteau. "My Father, the Captain: My Life With Jacques Cousteau".

Below are some quotes from JYC, and one from the opening of Jean-Michel's new book, and from some of the Cousteau books on my bookshelves.

I have always found it curious that my father's family had almost nothing to do with the sea. It is as though he came to it on his own, like a calling, without the benefit of familiarity, proximity, or custom.
--Jean-Michel Cousteau

From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.
--Jacques-Yves Cousteau, in Time Magazine,
March 1960

The sea is the universal sewer.
--Jacques-Yves Cousteau, to the US House Committee on Science and Astronautics, January 1971

If we go on the way we have, the fault is our greed — if we are not willing — we will disappear from the face of the globe, to be replaced by the insect.
--Jacques-Yves Cousteau,, Interview, July 1971

It is at night, above all, that we feel we are uncovering the secrets of a world that is unknown, mysterious, and without defense against us.
--Jacques-Yves Cousteau, from Life and Death in a Coral Sea, 1971

It means nothing to strike up a friendship with a sea lion or dolphin if, at the same time, we are destroying their last refuges along our coasts and our islands. It is an exercise in vanity and absurdity to try to communicate with a killer whale and then to put it on exhibition in an aquatic zoo as a circus freak.
--Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Diving Companions, 1971

The world of living beings is a _whole_. As a whole, it is indispensable to the ecological balance of the planet and to the psychological equilibrium of man. Any real solution to the problem of the environment must therefore be a global solution, effective simultaneously at the scientific, technological, legislative, political and international levels. If we pretend otherwise, we are not being honest with ourselves or with those who will come after us.
--Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Diving Companions, 1971

The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man it is to know that and to wonder at it.
--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

In nature, experiments are constantly carried out, producing a never ending array of strange, bizarre, and sometimes grotesque creatures. As odd as some creatures may seem to us, their features usually represent special capabilities that have enabled them to survive.
--Jacques-Yves Cousteau, The Ocean World, 1979

Man as a species has progressed to this point only because of his ability to keep written records. The wheel does not have to be reinvented every few generations, A young scientist can pick up where his predecessors left off.
--Jacques-Yves Cousteau, The Ocean World, 1979

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds on in its net of wonder forever .
--Jacques-Yves Cousteau


May 31, 2010

What they're still carrying

In honor of Memorial Day in the U.S., PBS Newshour broadcast an interview with Tim O’Brian, author of The Things they Carried. This year marks the 20th anniversary of a book which has become required reading in the U.S. in classes at both the high school and college level. I have quoted the book before, so on this occasion I would like to quote a few of O’Brian’s comments from the interview.

The entire interview can be read or seen at


“The things we carry, the objects we carry say things about the sorts of people we are. The book does start with the physical stuff we carry through a war, not just the military stuff, but the rabbit's feet and the pictures of your girlfriend back home, and all you don't have. And then the book tries to move into the emotional and the spiritual burdens that you're going to carry, not just through the war, but to your grave.”

“I wanted to write a work of fiction that would feel to the reader as if this had occurred or, in a way, is occurring as I read it. And, so, I would use every strategy I could think of, invention, and dialogue, and using my own name, dedicating the book to the characters, as a way of giving a reader a sense of witnessed experience. I was a soldier in Vietnam. But the stories in the book are, for the most part, invented. Yet, they're launched out of a world I once knew.”

“Sometimes things like wars can do precisely the reverse of what you want with a policy. You can manufacture enemies, as I was telling the class, that a bullet can kill the enemy, but a bullet can also produce an enemy, depending on whom that bullet strikes.”


December 02, 2009

Quotes from Recent Movies

Some additions for the Quotations archive - recent Movie Quotes:

WALL-E (2008)

Try blue, it's the new red!
-- Axiom Ship’s Computer

Computer, define "dancing".
-- Jeff Garlin as Captain of the Axiom

This is called farming! You kids are gonna grow all kinds of plants! Vegetable plants…pizza plants . . . .
-- Jeff Garlin as Captain of the Axiom

Time for lunch... in a cup!
-– Axiom Ship’s Computer

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

What the hell can a slumdog possibly know?
-- Irrfan Khan as the Police Inspector

A few hours ago, you were giving chai for the phone walahs. And now you're richer than they will ever be. What a player! Ladies and gentlemen, what a player!
-- Anil Kapoor as Prem Kumar

Zombieland (2009)

You see? You just can't trust anyone. The first girl I let into my life and she tries to eat me.
--Jesse Eisenberg as Columbus

The first rule of Zombieland: Cardio. When the zombie outbreak first hit, the first to go, for obvious reasons... were the fatties.
--Jesse Eisenberg as Columbus

Let me begin my three-part apology by saying that you're a wonderful human being.
--Jesse Eisenberg as Columbus

I could tell she knew what I was feeling -- we all are orphans in Zombieland.
--Jesse Eisenberg as Columbus

Up (2009)

Adventure is out there!
-- Christopher Plummer as Charles Muntz

Now, we're gonna walk to the falls quickly and quietly with no rap music or flashdancing.
-– Ed Asner as Carl Frederickson

Scream all you want, small mailman. None of your mailman friends can hear you.
-- Bob Peterson as Alpha and Delroy Lindo as Beta

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

If what I think is happening is happening - it better not be.
-- Meryl Streep as Mrs. Fox

Why a fox? Why not a horse, or a beetle, or a bald eagle? I'm saying this more as, like, existentialism, you know? Who am I? And how can a fox ever be happy without, you'll forgive the expression, a chicken in its teeth?
--George Clooney as Mr. Fox

Basically, there's three grabbers, three taggers, five twig runners, and a player at Whackbat. Center tagger lights a pine cone and chucks it over the basket and the whack-batter tries to hit the cedar stick off the cross rock. Then the twig runners dash back and forth until the pine cone burns out and the umpire calls hotbox. Finally, you count up however many score-downs it adds up to and divide that by nine.
-- Owen Wilson as Coach Skip

I should have listened to my lawyer.
-- George Clooney as Mr. Fox

Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)

Once again, a UFO has landed in America, the only country UFOs ever seem to land in.
--News Reporter

This place is an X-file, wrapped in a cover-up and deep-fried in a paranoid conspiracy.
-- Kiefer Sutherland as General W.R. Monger

Don't think of it as prison. Think of it as a hotel that you can never leave, 'cause it's locked from the outside.
-- Kiefer Sutherland as General W.R. Monger

Oh, honey, ever since you were a little baby, I knew... you would save the world from an alien invasion.
-- Julie White as Wendy Murphy

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

She's only interested in you because she thinks you're the Chosen One.
-- Emma Watson as Hermione Granger
But I am the Chosen One.
-- Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter

Times like these, dark times, they do funny things to people. They can tear them apart.
-- Mark Williams as Arthur Weasley

He's covered in blood again. Why is it he's always covered in blood?
-- Bonnie Weright as Ginny Weasley

Knowing (2009)

What happens when the numbers run out?
--Rose Byrne as Diana Whelan

Just step back. Have another look at it! Systems that find meaning in numbers are a dime in dozen. Why? Because people see what they want to see.
-- Ben Mendelsohn as Phil Bergman

Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

This is all yours. You're the owner of this world.
-- Jams Gandolfini as Carol

Star Trek (2009)

Don't pander to me, kid. One tiny crack in the hull and our blood boils in thirteen seconds. Solar flare might crop up, cook us in our seats. And wait till you're sitting pretty with a case of Andorian shingles, see if you're so relaxed when your eyeballs are bleeding. Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence.
-- Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard McCoy ("Bones")

The purpose of the test is to experience fear, fear in the face of certain death, to accept that fear, and maintain control of oneself and one's crew. This is the quality expected in every Starfleet captain.
-- Zachary Quinto as Spock

I don't believe in no-win scenarios.
-- Chris Pine as James T. Kirk

I suffer from aviophobia - it means fear of dying in something that flies!
-- Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard McCoy ("Bones")

Angels and Demons (2009)

Religion is flawed because man is flawed.
-- Armin Mueller-Stahl as Cardinal Strauss

Watchmen (2009)

What, in life, does not deserve celebrating?
-- Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt

Once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense.
-- Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Edward Blake

September 03, 2009

E.L. Doctorow on the Radio

Of the 30+ text collections at The Other Pages, many are unique. One of my favorites was brought to mind this afternoon while driving home from work. E.L. Doctorow was doing an interview with Melissa Block on NPR, discussing his new book, Homer & Langley. While the book has an interesting premise, I was taken with some of Doctorow’s comments about writing. In particular about how you get started.


He said: “I could not have done this book had I not found the first line for it: ‘I'm Homer, the blind brother,’ and once I had that it was a way of breaking into the story.”


When Michelle asked him why that was so important, he continued: “The first lines of a book are very crucial, usually, for the beginnings of books. They give you the voice. They imply the kind of texture the text will have. And, in effect, they are the acorn from which the oak grows. They Predict. You can find the entire book in that first line.”


This is a great unsolicited advert for collection # 26 – Good Starts. I had seen many first-line indices for poetry, but none for books – so I started one some time ago:


Here are a few new ones – starting with a batch by Doctorow himself – and he definitely shows a wide range of voices in his opening lines – though he seems to have a preference for character narration:


I'm Homer, the blind brother,
Homer & Langley, E.L. Doctorow, 2009


In 1902 Father built a house at the crest of the Broadview Avenue hill in New Rochelle, New York.
Ragtime, E.L. Doctorow, 1975


Startled awake by the ammoniated mists, I am aroused in one instant from glutinous sleep to grieving awareness; I have done it again.
World's Fair, E.L. Doctorow, 1985


He had to have planned it because when we drove into the dock the boat was there and the engine was running and you could see the water churning up phosphorescence in the river, which was the only light there was because there was no moon, nor no electric light either in the shack where the dock master should have been sitting, nor on the boat itself, and certainly not from the car, yet everyone knew where everything was, and when the big Packard came down the ramp Mickey the driver braked it so that the wheels hardly rattled the boards, and when he pulled up alongside the gangway the doors were already open and they hustled Bo and the girl upside before they even made a shadow in the darkness.
Billy Bathgate, E.L. Doctorow, 1989


They were a hateful presence in me.
Loon Lake  by E.L. Doctorow, 1980


The Man from Bodie drank down a half bottle of the Silver Sun's best; that cleared the dust from his throat and then when Florence, who was a redhead, moved along the bar to him, he turned and grinned down at her.
Welcome to Hard Times by E.L. Doctorow, 1960


People wouldn't take what Martin Pemberton said as literal truth, he was much to melodramatic or too tormented to speak plainly.
The Waterworks by E.L. Doctorow, 1994


The date was April 14, 1912, a sinister day in maritime history, but of course the man in suite 63-65, shelter deck C, did not yet know it.
Devil in the White City, Erik Larson, 2003


Hador Goldenhead was a lord of the Edain and well-loved by the Eldar.

The Children of Hurin, J.R.R. Tolkien, 2007


Hapscomb’s Texaco sat on Number 93 just north of Arnette, a pissant four-street burg about 110 miles from Houston.

The Stand, Stephen King, 1978


“Oh my God!" my friend Arnie Cunningham cried out suddenly.

Christine, Stephen King, 1983

December 14, 2008

Quotations for the week of December 14th, 2008

These are taken from "The Things They Carried", by Tim O'Brien, originally published in 1990. The book is a retelling of his time spent as a U.S. soldier during the war in Vietnam.

Some carried themselves with a sort of wistful resignation, others with pride or stiff soldierly discipline or good humor or macho zeal. They were afraid of dying but they were even more afraid to show it.

They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing--these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight.

The war occurred half a lifetime ago, and yet the remembering makes it now. And sometimes the remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.

A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted...then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue.

It comes down to gut instinct. A true war story, if truly told, makes the stomach believe.

To generalize about war is like generalizing about peace. Almost everything is true. Almost nothing is true.

We called the enemy ghosts. "Bad night," we'd say, "the ghosts are out." To get spooked, in the lingo, meant not only to get scared, but to get killed. The countryside itself seemed spooky--shadows and tunnels and incense burning in the dark. The land was haunted.

You don't try to scare people in broad daylight. You wait. Because the darkness squeezes you inside yourself, you get cut off from the outside world, the imagination takes over.

Often in a true war story there is not even a point, or else the point doesn't hit you until twenty years later, in your sleep, and you wake up and shake your wife and start telling the story to her, except when you get to the end you've forgotten the point again.

It's a hard thing to explain to somebody who hasn't felt it, but the presence of death and danger has a way of bringing you fully awake. It makes things vivid. When you're afraid, really afraid, you see things you never saw before, you pay attention to the world. You make close friends. You become part of a tribe and share the same blood.

September 26, 2008

Quotations for September 26th, 2008

I regret calling my wife 'huge'. What I meant to say was that there are specific areas of my wife that are larger than normal and growing every day. All other portions of my wife are quite petite. I apologize and will be coming home with flowers.
--Jerry O'Connel, regarding his pregnant wife, model Rebecca Romijn, 14Sep2008 in Time

In America, unfortunately, we regulate by tombstones.
--NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) Official, on the lack of regulations requiring automatic safety
devices, after a fatal los angeles train crash was attributed to operator error, 15Sep2008 in the Sun-Sentinel

I dedicate this song to the pope.
--Madonna, pop singer, on a recent performance of "Like a Virgin", in Rome, 14Sept2008, in Time

I don't know what I'll be coming back to. I have nothing.
--Arma Eaglin, Galveston, Texas resident, after flooding caused by hurricane Ike, 14Sept2008, in the

I think out third child is this campaign.
--Michelle Obama, wife of presidential nominee Barack Obama, when asked if she were considering having another child, 22Sept08, in Time

Democracy is a process, not a destination.
--Jardo Muekalia, representative of Angola's rebel Unita movement, on elections, 22Sept2008, in Time

(term for misleading advertising suggesting products, practices or legislation are environmentally friendly, when they really aren't), Sept2008

America is like my distant uncle who doesn't remember my name but occasionally gives me pocket money.
--Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian Author, on receiving a $500,000 McArthur grant, 27Sep2008

It's a question of marketing toilets as a status symbol. I want people to aspire to owning a toilet.
--Jack Sim, founder of the WTO (World Toilet Organization), on the need for improved sanitation in developing countries, 23Sept2008, on NPR

August 26, 2008

Quotes for the week of August 26th, 2008

Losing him is like losing 12 people because he absolutely filled up any room he was in.
--Chris Rock, American Commedian, on the death of fellow commedian and actor Bernie Mac, 11Aug2008

That wrinkly, white-haired guy used me in his campaign ad, which I guess means I'm running for President.
--Paris Hilton, American "Celebrity", on the use of her name in a television advertisement by candiate John McCain, 06Aug2008

Some companies seem to figure no one is watching, so they can get away with it.
Stephen Schondelmeyer, of the University of Minnesota, on price increases of 100% to 1000% by drug manufacturers, 08Aug2008

You just have to learn how to handle the stings.
--Antonio Lopez, Catalan Scuba Diver, on the increase in Jellyfish populations attributed to declining ocean health, 04Aug2008

He didn't have enough days, but he lived them like he should have.
--Neil Teplica, about his co-author Dave Freeman, authors of the original “100 Things to do Before You Die’, who died in his home after a fall, 26Aug2008, from an AP wire story.

They scream, they sing, they fall down, they take their clothes off, they cross-dress, they vomit.
- Konstantinos Lagoudakis, Mayor of Malia, Crete, about British tourists unwinding a little too much on their visits to Greece, 23Aug2008.

All I know is, there is water where it didn’t used to be, and I’m responsible for dealing with that.
--Admiral Thad W. Allen, Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard, on patrolling areas of the Arctic Ocean that used to be covered by sea ice. NYT online edition, 16Aug2008

They don't expect a free hot dog at the ballpark.
--Michelle Mohr, US Airways spokesperson, on why airline passengers should not be surprised by added charges for blankets, pillows, and checked baggage, TIME online, 06Aug2008

At least the airsickness bags are still free – for now.
--Anonymous Airline Passenger, on the increase in ‘a la carte’ fees for amenities by airlines, 08Aug2008

Its like when you pull the string on an old lawnmower - you don't know if its going to start or not. But once you get it going, it runs just as well as any other mower.
--Sheila Taormina, U.S. Olympic Triathlete, describing her performance, in the Sun Sentinel, 26Aug2008

I think she did good.
--Sasha Obama, age 7, on her mother Michelle Obama's speech before the Democratic National Convention, 26Aug2008

Every coin is awesome, but Alaska's is particularly awesome.
--Andy Brunhart, Dep. Director of the US Mint, on the last of 50 comemorative quarters, in Time Magazine Online, 26Aug2008

Here I am, a person who has worked his entire life, paid his bills, does the right thing, has insurance, and can't get a procedure that I need. I have never confronted a problem like that before.
--Jack Atwell, Ft. Lauderdale resident, after being asked to bring $2,500 "up front" money for a cardiac test, in the Sun Sentinel, 26Aug2008

You always find out who's been swimming naked when the tide goes out. We found out that Wall Street has been kind of a nudist beach.
-- Warren Buffet, Billionaire, on financial solvency issues with Mortgage lenders Freddie mac and Fannie Mae, TIME online, 22Aug2008

I have been waiting for this day for a long time.
--Wu Jingyu, Chinese Olympian in Tae Kwon Do, after winning China's first (of many) gold medals in the Beijing Games, 21Aug2008

I don't even think about not having a leg.
--Natalie Du Toit, South African Olympic distance swimmer, and the first amputee to qualify for the Olympics, 21Aug2008

This storm is going to be with us for a while. It looks it could be a boomerang storm.
--Charlie Crist, Florida Governor, on Tropical Storm Fay which made four landfalls in Florida and dropped over two feet of rain, 20Aug2008

July 27, 2008

Random Quotations for July 27th, 2008

Until the crickets sing it is not summer.
--Greek Proverb

It is well that war is so terrible. We should grow too fond of it.
--Robert E. Lee [1862]

The customer is never wrong (Le client n'a jamais tort) - usually re-stated as "The customer is always right."
  --Cesar Ritz

When you're dancing with a bear, you have to make sure you don't get tired and sit down. You've got to wait till the bear is tired before you get a rest.
  -- Joycelyn Elders, essay in the New York Times, September 14th 1993

The well-traveled may lie with impunity.
-- French Proverb

It was not so very long ago that people thought that semiconductors were part-time orchestra leaders and microchips were very, very small snack foods.
  Geraldine Ferraro

When I go out there, I have no pity on my brother. I'm out there to win.
--Joe Frazier

The blues is an art of ambiguity, an assertion of the irrepressibly human over all circumstances, whether created by others or by one's own human failing.
--Ralph Ellison, 1953

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
--Helen Keller

I found out life's hard but it ain't impossible.
--August Wilson, Two Trains Running, 1992

When we cannot get what we love, we must love what is within our reach.
--French Proverb

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.
-- Gilda Radner

July 02, 2008

Quotes for July 2nd, 2008

Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.
--Bruce Lee

A ship's not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails - that's what a ship needs - but what a ship is, what the Black Pearl really is, is freedom.
--Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean

The truth is more important than the facts.
--Frank Lloyd Wright

In some circumstances, the refusal to be defeated is a refusal to be educated.
--Margaret Halsey

The earth is like a spaceship that didn’t come with an operating manual. We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.
--Buckminster Fuller

I like a book for my companion while dining out. A book does not make bad jokes, drink too much, or eat more than you can afford to pay for.
--Kenneth Turan

What do you mean he don't EAT no MEAT? Oh, that's okay. That's okay. I make lamb.
--Aunt Voula in My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Seeing ourselves as others see us would probably confirm our worst suspicions about them.
--Franklin P. Adams

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
-- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

If you haven't found something strange during the day, it hasn't been much of a day.
--John A. Wheeler

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
--Hubert H. Humphrey

I took a course in speed reading and was able to read War and Peace in 20 minutes. Its about Russia.
--Woody Allen

June 26, 2008

Quotes for June 26th, 2008

Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.
-- Karen Kaiser

Not all who wander are lost.
-- J.R.R. Tolkien

Unemployment is capitalism's way of getting you to plant a garden.
-- Orson Scott Card

People love to admit they have bad handwriting or that they can't do math. And they will readily admit to being awkward: I'm

such a klutz! But they will never admit to having a poor sense of humor or being a bad driver.
-- George Carlin

The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for

white, or women created for men.
-- Alice Walker

There is eloquence in screaming.
-- Patrick Jones

History is a better guide than good intentions.
-- Jeane Kirkpatrick

The fastest way to succeed is to look as if you're playing by somebody else's rules, while quietly playing by your own.
-- Michael Konda

Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part

to us, do they?
-- George Carlin

I think of lotteries as a tax on the mathematically challenged.
-- Roger Jones

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.
-- Erica Jong

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.
-- Soren Kierkegaard

Friends aren't jumper cables. You don't throw them into the trunk and pull them out for emergencies.
-- Charlie Krueger

Without darkness there are no dreams.
-- Karla Kuban

The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.
-- G.K. Chesterton

Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard-working, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two percent

that get all the publicity. But then - we elected them.
-- Lily Tomlin

Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies.
-- E.B. White

Factorials were someone's attempt to make math look exciting.
-- Steven Wright

June 23, 2008

Quotes for the week of June 23rd

The problem is time. There just isn’t enough time. Men won’t spend a whole day away from their family anymore.
--Walter Hurney, Real Estate Developer, Hauppauge, NY, on the recent decline in popularity of Golf as an activity, in the NYT online edition, 21Feb2008

This isn’t news. It does nothing to change the human rights situation, which continues to be unfavorable, or to end the one-party state. There’s no reason to celebrate.
--Elizardo Sánchez, Cuban Dissident, on the announcement that Fidel Castro would not seek a return to the presidency, 20Feb2008

Independence is a catharsis. Things won’t change overnight and we cannot forget the past, but maybe I will feel safe now and my nightmares will finally go away.
--Antoneta Kastrati, 26, resident of Peja whose family was killed by ethnic Serbs, on Kosovo’s declaration of Independence, 18Feb2008.

October 26, 2007

The Bard, and Quoting the Alphabet

Work continues on updates to the quotations collection. Shakespeare has been expanded and updated to the new format. I’ve also been working on the Alphabetical by Author collection (#17), which will also have a new format, and substantial additional entries. Over 600 new quotes have been added to W through Z already. As always, these cover a WIDE range of material, from historical to humor, music to marketing, etc.

My goal is to get the Alpha collection substantially done before the holidays. Next year’s emphasis will be on expanding and updating the poetry collection, and finding a better format for Universe. I continue to receive inputs from contemporary poets and need to find a better way to handle the material, most of which has not been put online. There are also some photo additions planned for the near future.

For now, a sampling of added material:

True is it that we have seen better days.

--William Shakespeare, As You Like It
     Act II, scene vii, line 126 [Duke Senior]

I do desire we may be better strangers.

--William Shakespeare, As You Like It
     Act III, scene ii, line 98 [Orlando]

If the skin were parchment and the blows you gave were ink,
Your own handwriting would tell you what I think.

--William Shakespeare,  The Comedy of Errors
     Act III, scene i, lines 15-16 [Dromio of Ephesus]

Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.

--William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
     Act III, scene i, line 158

If you're not ready to die for it, take the word "freedom" out of your vocabulary.

--Malcolm X [1962]

America is God's Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and re-forming!

--Israel Zangwill [from The Melting Pot]

You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.

--Frank Zappa

Out of our quarrels with others we make rhetoric. Out of our quarrels with ourselves we make poetry.

--William Butler Yeats

Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn't matter. I'm not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn't make us better, then what on earth is it for?

--Alice Walker

Deep breaths are very helpful at shallow parties.

--Barbara Walters

I'd asked around 10 or 15 people for suggestions on what to paint. Finally one lady friend asked the right question, "Well, what do you love most?" That's how I started painting money.

--Andy Warhol

Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for, I have grown not only gray, but almost blind in the service of my country.

--George Washington [1873]

When I grow up, I'm not going to read the newspaper and I'm not going to follow complex issues and I'm not going to vote. That way I can complain when the government doesn't represent me. Then, when everything goes down the tubes, I can say the system doesn't work and justify my further lack of participation. – Calvin

--Bill Waterson

September 25, 2007

A Quotations Update

The updating process continues, with about half of the Quotations collection now converted to the new format. Among the newly updated areas are Quotations from Poetry, (#12), Malapropisms (#8) and Quotations by Women (#9).

Here’s a smattering.


Sit at the western window. Take the sun
Between your hands like a ball of flaming crystal,
Poise it to let it fall, but hold it still,
And meditate on the beauty of your existence;
The beauty of this, that you exist at all.
   Conrad Aiken, Chiarascuro: Rose

Water, water, everywhere,
   Nor any drop to drink.
   Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Ancient Mariner, II, Verse 9

The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.
   T. S. Eliot, Preludes, IV, 15-16

For we have thought the longer thoughts
And gone the shorter way.
And we have danced to devil's tunes
Shivering home to pray;
To serve one master in the night,
Another in the day.
   Ernest Hemingway, [Chapter Heading, 1923]

Patience is a plant
That grows not in all gardens.
   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Michael Angelo, Part ii

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I'll never see a tree at all.
   Ogden Nash, Song of the Open Road

Learn to live, and live to learn,
Ignorance like a fire doth burn,
Little tasks make large return.
   Bayard Taylor, To My Daughter

 I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams...
   William Butler Yeats, He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

American is a very difficult language mixed with English.
  -- Anonymous

An autobiography is an obituary in serial form with the last chapter missing.
  --Quentin Crisp

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists.
  --Joan Gussow, 1986

None of us can boast about the morality of our ancestors. The records do not show that Adam and Eve were married.
  -- Ed Howe

Moral indignation is, in most cases, 2% moral, 48% indignation, and 50% envy.
  --Vittorio de Sica

Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.
  --Mark Twain

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

One reason I don't drink is that I want to know when I'm having a good time.
  Lady Nancy Astor

Where large sums of money are concerned, it is advisable to trust nobody.
  Agatha Christie

It is a mark of many famous people that they cannot part with their finest hour.
  Lillian Hellman

It is a mark of many famous people that they cannot part with their finest hour.   Oh, to be only half as wonderful as my child thought I was when he was small, and only half as stupid as my teenager now thinks I am.
  Rebecca Richards

September 15, 2007

This Just In.....

The Quotations Home Page has just received a substantial update. The major reference pages have been updated and a new file format with improved readability has been introduced. This format is on alll of the index pages, as well as every page that has been updated (u) recently.

 Along with the format update (the first in six years), collection # 27, African American Expression, has been substantially enlarged to over 600 entries.

Never work just for money or for power. They won't save your soul or help you sleep at night.
--Marian Wright Edelman, 1992

It is easy to look back, self-indulgently, feeling pleasantly sorry for oneself and saying I didn't have this and I didn't have that. But it is only the grown woman regretting the hardships of a little girl who never thought they were hardships at all. She had the things that really mattered.
--Marian Anderson, 1956

Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time.
--James Baldwin, 1962

 Shaking hands with the Queen of England was a long way from being forced to sit in the colored section of the bus going into downtown Wilmington, North Carolina.
--Althea Gibson

In the beginning there was neither nothing nor anything. Darkness hid in darkness -- shrouded in nothingness.
  -- Zora Neal Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain 1939

 What Clinton did with Monica Lewinsky does not add up to Bush lying to the world, saying, Let's invade Iraq because they've got weapons of mass destruction. It just doesn't add up. The man cheated on his wife, but nobody died. Americans are not coming home in body bags because of that.
--Spike Lee

Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art.
--Charlie Parker

For most entertainers, there is a single experience, one defining moment, when confidence replaces the self-doubt that most of us wrestle with.
--Charley Pride

Life is not a spectator sport. If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you're wasting your life.
--Jackie Robinson

Wishing, of all strategies, is the worst.
  --Andrew Young

August 30, 2007

Morley's Domestic Poetry

Recently I mentioned Christopher Morley. His name may remind you a little of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (Jacob Marley) or of a Conan Doyle adventure (Holmes’ nemesis James Moriarty). On that second count, you might not be too far off. Morley was a BIG Sherlock Holmes fan.

Morley was many things, chief among them, like Adams, he was a columnist, writing The Bowling Green for many years with humor, insight, and everyman-ish viewpoint that makes pleasant reading 80 years later. Though I doubt many employers, then or now, would appreciate his version of the Algonquin round table, the self-titled “Three Hours for Lunch Club”.

He was a prolific writer, putting out over 50 books of humor, fiction, essays and poetry. Several of his books, including Parnassus on Wheels and The Haunted Library are available on Project Guttenburg. 

Another of his projects was editing not one, but two editions of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. Morley himself, like his very good friend Don Marquis (another humorist, columnist, and frequent poet), is himself quite quotable for his wit and opinions on a wide variety of issues. Here's a sampling from The Quotations Home Page and other sources:

“Humor is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: an awareness that some things are really important, others not; and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs.”

 “A man who has never made a woman angry is a failure in life.”

“When you sell a man a book you don't sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life.”  -- from Parnassus on Wheels, (1917)

 “Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity. “ 

“No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversations as a dog does. “ 

“People like to imagine that because all our mechanical equipment moves so much faster, that we are thinking faster, too.”

"It's a good thing to turn your mind upside down now and then, like an hour-glass, to let the particles run the other way."   --from The Haunted Bookshop (1919)

“Only the sinner has a right to preach”

“My theology, briefly, is that the universe was dictated, but not signed. “ 

“Life is a foreign language; all men mispronounce it.”

“No man is lonely eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention.” 

“We call a child's mind "small" simply by habit; perhaps it is larger than ours is, for it can take in almost anything without effort”

“We've had bad luck with children; they've all grown up”

“From now until the end of time no one else will ever see life with my eyes, and I mean to make the best of my chance.”

 Cherish all your happy moments; they make a fine cushion for your old age.

While Morley was a Rhodes Scholar who studied History at Oxford, he was also an everyday pedestrian, working in New York and commuting by train to his suburban home on Long Island. He was happily married, and like Adams, could write easily about everything from the milkman to the high price of coal, from washing the dishes to making the last payment on his mortgage.

These pieces on early marriage, parenthood, and domestic life were collected in thee volumes, then anthologized in a volume called Chimneysmoke, published in 1921.  When one of those volumes was published, a critic complained the content "was very domestic" (i.e. too much about 'household' rather than 'important' things). Had the critic been married a few years, he may have made the same comment, but meant something else entirely. Here are some excerpts of Chimneysmoke from Poets’ Corner.


Dedication for a Fireplace

THIS hearth was built for thy delight,

For thee the logs were sawn,

For thee the largest chair, at night,

Is to the chimney drawn.

For thee, dear lass, the match was lit

To yield the ruddy blaze--

May Jack Frost give us joy of it

For many, many days.

Christopher Morley


To A Child

THE greatest poem ever known

Is one all poets have outgrown:

The poetry, innate, untold,

Of being only four years old.

Still young enough to be a part

Of Nature's great impulsive heart,

Born comrade of bird, beast, and tree

And unselfconscious as the bee--

And yet with lovely reason skilled

Each day new paradise to build;

Elate explorer of each sense,

Without dismay, without pretense!

In your unstained transparent eyes

There is no conscience, no surprise:

Life's queer conundrums you accept,

Your strange divinity still kept.

Being, that now absorbs you, all

Harmonious, unit, integral,

Will shred into perplexing bits,--

Oh, contradictions of the wits!

And Life, that sets all things in rhyme,

may make you poet, too, in time--

But there were days, O tender elf,

When you were Poetry itself!

Christopher Morley


Burning Leaves, November

THESE are the folios of April,

All the library of spring,

Missals gilt and rubricated

With the frost's illumining.

Ruthless, we destroy these treasures,

Set the torch with hand profane--

Gone, like Alexandrian vellums,

Like the books of burnt Louvain!

Yet these classics are immortal:

O collectors, have no fear,

For the publisher will issue

New editions every year.

Christopher Morley


The Music Box

AT six--long ere the wintry dawn--

There sounded through the silent hall

To where I lay, with blankets drawn

Above my ears, a plaintive call.

The Urchin, in the eagerness

Of three years old, could not refrain;

Awake, he straightway yearned to dress

And frolic with his clockwork train.

I heard him with a sullen shock.

His sister, by her usual plan,

Had piped us aft at 3 o'clock--

I vowed to quench the little man.

I leaned above him, somewhat stern,

And spoke, I fear, with emphasis--

Ah, how much better, parents learn,

To seal one's sensure with a kiss!

Again the house was dark and still,

Again I lay in slumber's snare,

When down the hall I heard a trill,

A tiny, tinkling, tuneful air--

His music-box! His best-loved toy,

His crib companion every night;

And now he turned to it for joy

While waiting for the lagging light.

How clear, and how absurdly sad

Those tingling pricks of sound unrolled;

They chirped and quavered, as the lad

His lonely little heart consoled.

Columbia, the Ocean's Gem--

(Its only tune) shrilled sweet and faint.

He cranked the chimes, admiring them,

In vigil gay, without complaint.

            The treble music piped and stirred,

The leaping air that was his bliss;

And, as I most contritely heard,

I thanked the all-unconscious Swiss!

The needled jets of melody

Rang slowlier and died away--

The Urchin slept; and it was I

Who lay and waited for the day.

Christopher Morley


All for now,




July 02, 2007

(Still at the Movies)

I’m continuing to wade through The Movies, hoping to get finished with this by Mid-July and start on something else. Movies are now complete through ‘L’ (1,152 entries).


Another sampling:

There's someone out there for everyone - even if you need a pickaxe, a compass, and night goggles to find them.
  Steve Martin as Harris in L.A. Story

Ain't it a shame how some of God's children have it so easy, while others have it so hard?
  Paulene Myers as Mrs. Edson in Lady Sings the Blues

This is the nineties. You don't just go around punching people. You have to say something cool first.
  Bruce Willis as Joe Hallenbeck in The Last Boy Scout

A man who tells lies, like me, merely hides the truth. But a man who tells half-lies has forgotten where he put it.
  Claude Rains as Mr. Dryden in Lawrence of Arabia

Take me home momma and put me to bed. I have seen enough to know I have seen too much.
  David L. Lander as Radio Sportscaster in A League of their Own

A man, he gives wood, bricks. In time, what does he get? A chapel - a place where his children can receive the sacraments. To these men, for their children to have faith, it is important. To me, it is insurance. To me, life is here on this earth. I cannot see further, so I cannot believe further. But, if they are right about the hereafter, I have paid my insurance, Senor.
  Stanley Adams as Juan in Lilies of the Field

His destructive programming is taking effect. He will be irresistibly drawn to large cities, where he will back up sewers, reverse street signs, and steal everyone's left shoe.
  David Ogden Stiers as Jumba in Lilo & Stitch

I was feeling tight in the shoulders and neck, so I called down and had a Shiatsu massage in my room. And the tightness has completely disappeared and been replaced by unbelievable pain.
  Bill Murray as Bob in Lost in Translation

The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here! Page 73 - Johnson, Navin R.! I'm somebody now! Millions of people look at this book everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity - your name in print - that makes people. I'm in print! Things are going to start happening to me now.
  Steve Martin as Navin R. Johnson in The Jerk

Twenty-six years buried in the deepest, darkest jungle and I still became my father.
  Robin Williams as Alan Parrish from Jumanji

Ian: God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs...
Ellie: Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth...
  Jeff Goldblum / Laura Dern as Dr. Ian Malcolm / Dr. Ellie Sattler from Jurassic Park

May 20, 2007

At the Movies

Well, it's been a busy month, as the school year and related activities draw to a close. We're looking forward to that brief sliver of time between the end of school and the beginning of hurricane season. This is also the time of the year that used to be referred to as the "Summer Blockbuster Movie Season", but is nowadays referred to as the "Sequel Season.

More-or-less on-topic, I'm almost a third of the way through another of the Quotations Collections, # 28, From the Movies. This is a significant upgrade, with over 400 new quotes added so far. The content is a combination of aphorisms, well-remembered lines, and quotes that are indicative of the theme of each film. Movies from A through G have been completed. Here is a sampling

History is-a made at night. Character is what you are in the dark.
  John Lithgow as Lord John Whorfin in The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai (1984)

 When you're a secretary in a brewery, it's pretty hard to make-believe you're anything else. Everything is beer.
  Anne Baxter as Eve Harrington in All About Eve (1950)

Napalm, son. Nothing in the world smells like that. I love the smell of Napalm in the morning.
  Robert Duval as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore in Apocalypse Now (1979)

Fish all bathe together. Though they do tend to eat one another. I often think fish must get awful tired of sea food.
  Dudley Moore as Arthur Bach in Arthur (1981)

I beg you to accept that there is no people on Earth who would not prefer their own bad government to the good government of an alien power.
  Ben Kingsley as Gandhi in Gandhi (1982)

I love you. Because we're alike. Bad lots both of us. Selfish and shrewd but able to look things in the eye and call them by their right name.
  Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind (1939)

Come on, all the long distance lines are down? What about satellite? Is it snowing in space? Don't you keep open a line for emergencies or for celebrities? I'm both. I'm a celebrity in an emergency.
  Bill Murray as Phil in Groundhog Day (1993)

Vodka is a luxury we have. Caviar is a luxury we have. Time is not.
  Bob Hoskins as Nikita Khrushchev in Enemy at the Gates (2001)

There is no escape from the Caine, save death. We're all doing penance, sentenced to an outcast ship, manned by outcasts, and named after the greatest outcast of them all.
  Fred MacMurray as Lt. Tom Keefer in The Caine Mutiny (1954)

I am the most renowned killer of fish in the whole United States Army Air Force.
  Alan Arkin as Capt. John Yossarian in Catch-22 (1970)

In the heat of battle my father wove a tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan.
  Jean Shepherd as narrator (Ralphie as an adult) in A Christmas Story (1983)

Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.
  Robin Williams as John Keating in Dead Poets Society (1989)


April 20, 2007

Proverbially Speaking

Quotations #5 and #7 

Continuing with the overhall, the two collections of proverbs have been expanded and re-scripted. with about 100 new additions.

 Collection #5, Proverbial Wisdom, contains collected proverbs from around the world. These include some nicely phrased metaphors, a variety of wide ranging advice, and some with modern-day realism. A sampling is included below.

Collection #7, Annoying Proverbs, contains a list of phrases that, if you grew up in the U.S. or many other english-speaking locales, are 'annoyingly' familiar, as they have been used ad nauseum and parodied to even futher nauseum. I have NOT included any of these because they may already be part of your collective subconscious. You'll thank me later.


The constitution is paper, bayonets are steel. (Konstitisyon se papie, bayonet se fe.)
  Haitian Proverb

Flies know well the sweet seller's beard.
  Lebanese Proverb

If you stop every time a dog barks, your road will never end.
  Arab Proverb

June is too early and July is too late -- for summer.
  Siberian Saying

Little men are fond of long titles.
  German Proverb

When an elephant is in trouble even a frog will kick him.
   Hindu Proverb

April 15, 2007

Worth a Thousand Words?

Quotations #10: Random Visions

Continuing with the revision process, Quotation collection # 10 has been completely updated. In a sense, this is the smallest collection in terms of entries. However, it combines original images with advice and aphorisms from across the Quotations collection.

This also cleans up one of the few areas of material where the source of the original data was unclear. These images are all from TheOtherPages contributors and are of much larger size and quality. So have a browse, and be inspired, forewarned, or whatever.

Two down, twenty-eight to go. Heu. 




April 11, 2007

Getting off to a Good Start

Quotations # 26: Good Starts

I've begun the incredibly laborious process of updating the quotations collections (all 30 of them). I decided to start with #26 (don't ask me why).

 This is an interesting assortment of the opening lines from various stories, with the title, author and date information. It is a great study in contrasts, and an amusing read if you are familiar with the styles of some of the authors.

 I've added another 64 to bring the total to 255. some samples are included below:

 -- Steve

The storm came up out of the southwest like a fiend, stalking its prey on legs of lightning.
  --Abarat, by Clive Barker, 2002

The customs agent spent more time than usual examining the sword that my wife had brought into the country and then asked what we intended to do with it.
  --The Pilgrimage, by Paul Coelho (English Translation), 1992

In the end, write it down.
  --Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher, 2001

"The cow is there," said Ansell, lighting a match and holding it out over the carpet.
  --The Longest Journey, by E.M. Forster, 1907

I'll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination.
  --The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin, 1969

It happened many years ago, before the traders and missionaries first came into the South Seas, while the Polynesians were still great in numbers and fierce of heart.
  --Call it Courage, by Armstrong Sperry, 1940

Lee Chong's grocery, while not a model of neatness, was a miracle of supply.
  --Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck, 1945

January 25, 2007

Random Quotations Again, and a few Miracles


Random quotes, along with some  quotes on Miracles, some taken from a 2005 article in Forbes:

 Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not dissolve in one's bath like a lump of sugar. --Pablo Picasso

If you don't invest very much, then defeat doesn't hurt very much and winning is not very exciting. - Dick Vermeil

It's a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired, you quit when the gorilla is tired. -- Robert Strauss 

You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, Each day brings a miracle of its own. It's just a matter of paying attention to this miracle. -- Paulo Coelho

Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see. --C. S. Lewis

Unemployment is capitalism's way of getting you to plant a garden. -- Orson Scott Card 

 Every cubic inch of space is a miracle. --Walt Whitman

It makes no difference who you vote for - the two parties are really one party representing four percent of the people. - Gore Vidal

That married couples can live together day after day is a miracle the
Vatican has overlooked.....  --Bill Cosby

 There is in every miracle a silent chiding of the world, and a tacit reprehension of them who require, or who need miracles. -- John Donne

Miracles happen to those who believe in them.  -- Bernard Berenson

Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung.  -- Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire

What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant? --George Carlin

The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese. -- G.K. Chesterton

Surrounding yourself with dwarfs does not make you a giant. -- Yiddish Proverb


October 06, 2006

Random Quotations

Fri, October  6th, 2006

 In no particular order, and with no intended agenda, some random additions to the quotation collection:  --Steve

It does not require many words to speak the truth.
Chief Joseph (In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat), Nez Perce (1840-1904)

Having him in Iraq was hard enough. When he got hurt, I said, 'well, at least he can come home now, and get better here with us.' But it's this strange thing. He came home, but he's not home at all."
PENNY ELLIOTT, wife of a National Guard sergeant injured in Iraq, New York Times online edition, 25-Oct-2004.

Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable.
--Buckminster Fuller

Many people hear voices when no-one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.
-- Meg Chittenden

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
-- Winston Churchill

That the birds of worry and care fly above your head, this you cannot change; but that they build a nest in your hair, this you can prevent.
--Chinese Proverb

If film is a director's medium, and television drama is a writer's medium, reality TV is without question a casting director's medium.
ROBERT J. THOMPSON, Professor of Television and Pop Culture at Syracuse University, NY Times online edition, 28-March-2004.

Never stand begging for that which you have the power to earn.
-- Miguel de Cervantes

Never a lip is curved with pain
That can’t be kissed into smiles again.
--Bret Harte

You have to love your children unselfishly. That is hard, but it is the only way.
--Barbara Bush