Archive for November, 2012


attitude abroad

When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.

Winston Churchill, a speech to the Houses of Parliament (1947)


southern speech patterns

The average Southerner has the speech patterns of someone slipping in and out of consciousness. I can change my shoes and socks faster than most people in Mississippi can speak a sentence.

Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent (1989)


the travel writer

The travel writer seeks the world we have lost—the lost valleys of the imagination.

Alexander Cockburn, “Bwana Vistas,” in Harper’s (1985)


newspaper people

Newspaper people love impossible dreams. I suppose we’re reckless sentimentalists. If we didn’t love impossible dreams, we would not still be working in an industry whose basic technology was developed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

R. W. Apple Jr., quoted by Stephanie Mansfield in, “The Power and the Portly: R.W. Apple, Jr. and The New York Times. ” Lear’s Magazine (1993)


strong and content

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, / Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms, / Strong and content I travel the open road.

Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road” (1856)


a cautious creative

You can be Cautious or you can be Creative (but there’s no such thing as a Cautious Creative). A Cautious Creative is an oxymoron.

George Lois, interview with Designers & Books (2012)


secret worlds

Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds… Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.

Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Chapter Six, “I Woke Up And One Of Us Was Crying” (1992)


to obtain love

To obtain [love]…a man must give up his rib.

Anne Fortier, Juliet (2010)


the greater fool

Sloan Sabbith: ‘The greater fool is actually an economic term. It’s a patsy…For the rest of us to profit, we need a greater fool—someone who will buy long and sell short. Most people spend their lives trying not to be the greater fool. We toss him the hot potato; we dive for his seat when the music stops. The greater fool is someone with the perfect blend of self-delusion and ego to think that he can succeed where others have failed. This whole country was made by greater fools.’

Aaron Sorkin, The Newsroom, “The Greater Fool”  (2012)


oh, words!

I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave “V” words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land’s-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.

Robert Pirosh, letter to various studios in Hollywood (1934)


killing fish

If you want to know why you didn’t make a boat. I’ll tell you. You’re just out there hammering the water. You’re killing fish, not rowing.

Jim Dietz in David Halberstam’s  The Amateurs (1996)



One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.

Agatha Christie, Autobiography (1977)



One can be a soldier without dying, and a lover without sighing.

Sir Edwin Arnold, Adzuma (1893)



Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space.

Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye (1988)

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