Quotable Quips

These are entered in no particular order other than the chronology in which they were acquired.  The primary criteria for their collection is a.) relatively short, and b.) either humorous and/or poignant statements of truth.  Sources have not been verified.  Enjoy.

I believe there is nothing more disturbing than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.

-Ansel Adams

The most dangerous thing in the world is to leap a chasm in two jumps.

-David Lloyd George

…It is a wretched taste to be gratified with mediocrity when the excellent lies before us.

-Isaac D’Israeli

In the long run men hit only what they aim at.

-Henry David Thoreau

In the field of experimentation, chance favors only the prepared mind.

-Louis Pasteur

The human intellect has the unlimited capability for producing plausible explanations by the carload lot.

-K.A. Brownlee

Excellence is never granted to man but as a reward of labor.

-Sir Joshua Reynolds

Government service has always attracted those for whom the demands of the private sector are too stringent and those who are devoid both of imagination and ambition.

-Herbert Burkholz, The FDA Follies

There’s no trick being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.

-Will Rogers

Wondrous is the strength of cheerfulness, and its power of endurance – the cheerful man will do more in the same time, will do it better, will persevere in it longer, than the sad or sullen.

-Thomas Carlyle

The mind is never blank…if it were, how would you know?

-Ed Foreman, motivational speaker

Music’s only purpose should be for the glory of God and the recreation of the human spirit.

-Johann Sebastian Bach

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. (Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable).

– Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them.

– Albert Einstein

An expert is a person who tells you a simple thing in a confused way, in such a fashion as to make you think the confusion is your fault.

-William B. Castle, Medical Scientist

Some mornings it just doesn’t seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps.

– Emo Phillips (US comedian)

All animals are equal.  But some animals are more equal than others.

George Orwell, Animal Farm, (last page)

Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane.

Philip K. Dick, Valis, US science fiction author (1928 – 1982)

Every man is wise when attacked by a mad dog; fewer when pursued by a mad woman; only the wisest survive when attacked by a mad notion.

– (William) Robertson Davies, a Canadian novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor, (1913-1995)

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.

– Rick Cook, The Wizardry Compiled (science fiction author)

The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.

– Horace Walpole, English author (1717 – 1797)

Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

– Ronald Reagan

The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

– Ronald Reagan

The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.

– Ronald Reagan

The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.

– Ronald Reagan

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.

– A. H. Weiler, writer, editor, critic at New York Times, (1909 – 2002)

It was on my fifth birthday that Papa put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Remember, my son, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.’

– Sam Levenson, American humorist, writer, television host and journalist (1911 – 1980)

When everyone is against you, it means that you are absolutely wrong– or absolutely right.

– Albert Guinon, French playwright (1863-1923)

Humor is just another defense against the universe.

– Mel Brooks, US actor, comedian, & movie director (1926 – )

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

– Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)

The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.

– George F. Will,US editor, commentator, & columnist (1941 – )

Basic research is what I am doing when I don’t know what I am doing.

– Wernher von Braun, US (German-born) rocket engineer (1912 – 1977)

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

– Arthur C. Clarke, “Profiles of The Future”, 1961 (Clarke’s third law), English physicist & science fiction author (1917 – )

Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.

– Samuel Johnson, from Boswell’s Life of Johnson, English poet, critic, and writer (1709 – 1784)

Humor is also a way of saying something serious.

-T. S. Eliot, British (US born) critic, dramatist and poet (1888 – 1965)

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

-Soren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher (1813 – 1855)

A fanatic is a person who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.

-Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)

Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.

-Frank Leahy, American collegiate football coach, Notre Dame (1908 – 1973)

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument.

-William G. McAdoo, U.S. industrialist, lawyer, and politician (1863 – 1941)

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.

-Philip K. Dick, “How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later”, 1978,
US science fiction author (1928 – 1982)

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

-Albert Einstein

If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.

-Oscar Wilde, Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 – 1900)

How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.

-Benjamin Disraeli, Speech at the House of Commons, January 24, 1860
British politician (1804 – 1881)

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

-Arthur C. Clarke (1917 – ), “Profiles of The Future“, 1961 (Clarke’s third law)

It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backward.

-Lewis Carroll, English author & recreational mathematician (1832 – 1898)

I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

-Robert McCloskey, State Department spokesman (attributed)

Never try to tell everything you know. It may take too short a time.

-Norman Ford

 The reason lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place is that the same place isn’t there the second time.

-Willie Tyler

 Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.

-Timothy Leary, US psychologist & promoter of mind-altering drugs (1920 – 1996)

 For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.

-Richard Feynman, US educator & physicist (1918 – 1988)

 Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.

-Frank Leahy, American football player, coach, college athletics administrator,
and professional sports executive (1908 – 1973)

 There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.

-Peter Drucker (1909 – 2005) American (Austrian-born) management writer

Without absolutes revealed from without by God Himself, we are left rudderless in a sea of conflicting ideas about manners, justice and right and wrong, issuing from a multitude of self-opinionated thinkers.

– John Owen

 The scientific name for an animal that doesn’t either run from or fight its enemies is lunch.

-Michael Friedman

 What luck for rulers that men do not think.

-Adolf Hitler, German Nazi dictator, orator, & politician (1889 – 1945)

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