Anything but Quotidian: Quotes, phrases, and one poem
“To love means this:
into the depths of a yard and,
till the rook-black night,
chop wood with a shining axe,
giving full play to one’s strength.” (Mayakovsky)
“We’ve died on the fields of the everyday’ – an echo of Mayakovsky’s suicide note of 1930 (‘The boat of love ran aground on the everyday’).” Daniil Kharms LRB
‘What we know is that, in an unclichéd way, nobody knows anything.’ Philip Roth (Human Stain)
On the House of Lords: “…a body of five hundred men chosen at random from amongst the unemployed” - David Llyod George, British PM from 1916 to 1922
“We seem to have conquered and peopled half the world in a fit of absence of mind.” (Sir John Seeley on Britain’s conquests)
‘The Ka‘bah is a cube because the world is a sphere’ - Islamica Magazine
Nation - “A group of people united by a common error about their ancestry and a common dislike of their neighbors” - J.E. Brown
Cracked pistachio green walls.. (Urvashi Butalia - describing her uncle’s house in Lahore in the story, Ranamama)
No stone unthrown, Encyclopedic viciousness (Joe Queenan accuses Kitty Kelley of those sins in his review of Kelley’s book on Nancy Reagan)
Is it not strange that sheep’s guts should hale souls out of men’s bodies? (Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing)
“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys,” said Jim Dunn. (NY Times article on Hedge Fund Managers or the new Robber Barons) Likewise - if you pay a lot, you pay a lot.
About as original as a Xerox machine (Hindustan Times)
John Stuart Mill to John Stewart; Madison to Madison Avenue (Dr. James Fishkin, on democracy)
If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly. (D.K. Chesterton)
It is the mark of a truly intelligent person to be moved by statistics. (George Bernard Shaw)
…the primary risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is age. (NY Times, Wikipedia)
“The American people live in a country where they can have almost anything they want. And my regret is that it seems that they don’t want much of anything at all.” (Nader quoting Eugene Debs in a conversation with Jeffrey Rosen)
“All models are wrong. Some models are useful.” George Box
“We might calll this the information age but I consider that complete bullshit. What is the information?” Keith Jarrett. (Full quote - Of what value is it if it doesn’t atttach itself to something? In the future, I can foresee an audience that literally thinks all music is equal, and there’s no such things as good or bad.)
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually produce a masterpiece. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.
~ Eyler Coates
to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight and never stop fighting
~ e e cummings
In three words i can sum up everything I've learned about life.
It goes on.
~ Robert Frost
Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack in everything;
That's how the light gets in.
~ Leonard Cohen
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
~ Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)
I fell in love – that is the only expression I can think of – at once, and am still at the mercy of words, though sometimes now, knowing a little of their behavior very well, I think I can influence them slightly and have even learned to beat them now and then, which they appear to enjoy.
~ Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet, short-story writer, and playwright, "Poetic Manifesto" in the Texas Quarterly, Winter 1961
A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
~Thomas Mann, novelist, Nobel laureate (1875-1955)
The world in general doesn't know what to make of originality; it is startled out of its comfortable habits of thought, and its first reaction is one of anger.
~ W. Somerset Maugham, writer (1874-1965)
In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
~ Al Rogers
Assumptions are the termites of relationships.
~ Henry Winkler, actor (1945- )
Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.
~ George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), novelist (1819-1880)
Either you think - or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
There is no remedy so easy as books, which if they do not give cheerfulness, at least restore quiet to the most troubled mind.
~ Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, author (1689-1762)
Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching.
~ Satchel Paige
Fake it till you make it.
~ (Heard on West Wing)