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"I think it's interesting that when you play a lesbian, people ask you if you're lesbian, but if you play a serial killer, nobody asks you if you're a serial killer."

-- Nora Dunn (who plays a lesbian on NBC's "Sisters") to Los Angeles' Lesbian News.

"... We are men of groans and howls,
Mystic men who eat boiled owls,
Tell us what you wish, oh King,
Our magic can do anything."

-- From Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr Seuss. Part of a chant by the royal magicians, but it might as easily have been by the royal software engineers.

"A spokesman for the Lyon Group, producers of Barney and Friends, denied that Barney is an instrument of Satan." -- The Advocate, spring 1994

"I don't mind straight people as long as they act gay in public."

-- T-shirt worn by Chicago Bulls transvestite Dennis Rodman during a network-TV interview.

History has proven that nobody pays any attention to history. -- Claude Cuervo

We ought to live each day as though
It were our last day here below.
But, if I did, alas, I know
It would have killed me long ago

-- Piet Hein - "More Grooks"

If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you? -- Garrison Keillor

I think that a lifetime of listening to disco music is a high price to pay for one's sexual preference. -- Quentin Crisp

Quotes from The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce.


n. A breaker of idols, the worshipers whereof are imperfectly gratified by the performance, and most strenuously protest that he unbuildeth but doth not reedify, that he pulleth down but pileth not up. For the poor things would have other idols in place of those he thwacketh upon the mazzard and dispelleth. But the iconoclast saith: "Ye shall have none at all, for ye need them not; and if the rebuilder fooleth round hereabout, behold I will depress the head of him and sit thereon till he squawk it."


n. A specialist who knows everything about something and nothing about anything else.

An old wine-bibber having been smashed in a railway collision, some wine was pouted on his lips to revive him. "Pauillac, 1873," he murmured and died.


n. The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding.

Being asked whether it was better to marry or not, he replied, "Whichever you do, you will repent it."

-- Attributed to Socrates in Socrates by Diogenes Laertius.

By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher ... and that is a good thing for any man.

-- Socrates

"He [...] lived in utter disregard of the most elementary rules of hygiene. If he had not married later a woman of exceptional intelligence who made it the only object of her life to preserve him, he would have died many years ago from consequences of sheer neglect" -- Nikola Tesla commenting on Thomas Edison.

A bachelor is a man who never made the same mistake once.

There is now less flogging in our great schools than formerly -- but then less is learned there; so that what the boys get at one end they lose at the other.

-- Samuel Johnson

"Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and the seed of an homer shall yield an ephah." - Isaiah 5:10. And you can't argue with that.

"I'm just a poor old man. ... My legs are grey. My ears are gnarled. My eyes are old and bent."

-- Matthias, from Monty Python's Life of Brian

For non-deterministic read "Inhabited by pixies."

-- Anonymous - stolen from A.M. Kuchling's Quotes Page

Quotes from a now-extinct page belonging to Mike Rosenberg:

"At my age I do what Mark Twain did," said British astronomer Patrick Moore, on the occasion of his 76th birthday. "I get my copy of the daily paper, look at the obituaries page, and if I'm not there, I carry on as usual."

What I believe ...
... I believe that robots are stealing my luggage.
... I believe that Ronald Reagan can make this country what it once was...an arctic wasteland, covered with ice...

-- From What I Believe, a monologue read out by Steve Martin

"Defense of Marriage? It's like the old V-8 commercial. As if this act didn't pass, heterosexual men all over the country would say, [smacking head] 'I could've married a guy!'"

-- Gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass, in an April 2 speech at the University of Texas Law School.

East is East and West is West,
Though this may not seem relevant.
We all know how to milk a cow,
But you can't muck about with an elephant.

-- A sign in a Ceylon Zoo

University President: "Why is it that you physicists always require so much expensive equipment? Now the Department of Mathematics requires nothing but money for paper, pencils, and erasers... and the Department of Philosophy is better still. It doesn't even ask for erasers."

-- Told by Isaac Asimov - quote stolen from http://www.amk.ca/quotations/quotations.txt

"I suppose that the form my bereavement took after my mother died was fairly conventional. Initially I was shocked. Her final illness was mercifully quick, but harrowing. Cancer tore through her body as if it were late for an important meeting with a lot of other successful diseases."

"... Meanwhile, the dreams continued. And Mother managed to be as embarrassing in them as she had been alive, but for entirely different reasons. With death she had taken on a mantle of candour and social sharpness that I tended to attribute to myself rather than her. At the dream dinner parties she would make asides to me the whole time about how pretentious people were and what bad taste they displayed, talking all the while in a loud and affected voice which, needless to say, remained inaudible to her subjects. After a while I ceased trying to defeat her with the logic of her own extinction; it was pointless. Mother had long since ceased to be susceptible to reasoning. I think it was something to do with my father, a man who uses dialectics the way the Japanese used bamboo slivers during the war."

"... There are a million questions I'd like the answers to. You always hated groups and here you are submitting to indoctrination in a religion ostensibly run by dead employees of British Telecom. Why? ..."

-- Will Self, The North London Book of the Dead

"Well, of course I would never use a preposition to end a sentence up with, because it might be difficult to make sense out of, and, after all, what would I want to use a preposition to finish a sentence that you cannot make any sense out of up with for?"

-- From It was a Dark & Stormy Night: The Final Conflict (Penguin books), a collection from the annual Bulwer-Lytton competition.

"The wicked oppressor's name was Anzaruni, which shows that he was a servant of Satan."

-- A cryptic remark from The Amulet of Anzaruni, in Myths and Legends of the Swahili by Jan Kanppert. I've been unable to track down the meaning of the name.

Quotes from The World of S. J. Perelman:

Quotes from The Most of S. J. Perelman:

From www.oconnor.cx/quotes.shtml:

Some definitions pilfered from http://luc.aleaume.free.fr/new_site/site_fortune/html/definitions.html:

Some quotes from The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce:

"Computer games don't affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music." -- Kristian Wilson, Nintendo Inc., 1989

From www.thirdstoned.com/quotefile.html:

From George Mikes, How To Be An Alien:

From the shareware game Exile - Escape From The Pit:

From [link defunct 9 Feb 2002: www.tnibooks.com/susannahfelts/]:

From the 1971 movie The Abominable Doctor Phibes:

From Phantom Quest Corp, Incident File 04: Lover Come Back to Me:

"Anyone who has ever hammered a nail into his nose owes a large debt to Melvin Burkhart" - London Daily Telegraph, quoted in Sydney Morning Herald 20 Dec 2001 p. 22
"Well, if apparently he said no such thing, wasn't he in reality, in saying no such thing, correct in what he apparently didn't say?" -- UK Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith, famous for getting it wrong, gets it even wronger while locking horns with PM Tony Blair during Question Time on Wednesday. [Sydney Morning Herald 11 Jan 2002 p. 16]

In present-day England, the progressive Lord Chief Justice Peter Taylor told the BBC that 'At a stroke we could disarm a good deal of public misunderstanding of the legal profession if we stopped wearing wigs and gowns in court'. This view is all the more pertinent when it is pointed out that children, on seeing judges in their red and white furred gowns and wigs, have been known to hand them their list of requests for Christmas toys.

-- Justin Fleming, from his book Barbarism to Verdict - A History of the Common Law, Chapter 4.

From The New Lifetime Reading Plan, by Clifton Fadiman & John S. Major:

"All music is therapy," [Jean-Jaques Lemêtre] says. "Even techno music. But that is bad therapy." [Sydney Morning Herald 11 Jan 2002 p. 16]

"We will be playing the kind of music that'll make you think your life would have been better if you'd had a bigger intake of beer" -- Lucky Oceans on ABC Radio National (Australia) 15 May 2002

"For me, a cruise ship is a prison with the option of drowning." -- Billy Conolly

"Let's dispense with the pleasantries, you twisted space crustacean. What is it you want from me?" -- From the Calvin & Hobbes "Lazy Sunday" Book, p. 35

"The Corrections, though, is a book full of empathy, cruel humour, truth, information, analysis and depth, and despite being a best-seller in the United States, it's a really wonderful novel" -- Ramona Koval, talking about "The Corrections" by Jonathan Franzen, "Australia Talks Books" program on ABC Radio National 2002-10-25 6.12pm
- MP3 audio of quote (99 Kbyte)

From the Gilbert & Sullivan opera, The Sorcerer:

Also under cover of the war [in Iraq], the Victorian pollies [politicians] in a rare but not unexpected show of unanimity, voted to help themselves to 46.5 million dollars of taxpayers' money to top up their super [superannuation] fund. Like everyone else, the pollies have seen their super funds diminishing due to wonky investments but, unlike everyone else, if you're a politician you don't have to put up with it. And the best time to pull the wool over the electors' eyes is day one of a brand new war when nobody will notice. And they wonder why we hold them in low regard.

-- Terry Lane, "The National Interest" program on ABC Radio National 2003-03-30 12:00noon.
- MP3 audio of quote (543 Kbyte)

"This is a very serious offence. [...] It could be punishable by up to 10 years in Britain ... in prison"

-Freudian slip by Rob Watson, commenting on the USA Dept. of Justice investigation into the leaking of a CIA agent's name, ABC Radio National, 1 Oct 2003, 6:05am

Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

-- Jim Horning

Judges, as a class, display, in the matter of arranging alimony, that reckless generosity which is found only in men who are giving away someone else's cash.

-- P.G. Wodehouse, "Louder and Funnier"

Would James Joyce have been happier if he'd been able to scat out loud as well as on the page? Anyone around him wouldn't have been, obviously, since scatting was pretty much invented for the sole enjoyment of the scatter. Everyone hanging around Joyce - the Parisians, the Dubliners, would be cringing and blocking their ears the whole time, begging him to stop, but he'd keep on scatting, impervious to their discomfort and pain, snapping his fingers and making those jazzy faces with his eyes closed. Skeedley bop! Skeedley boo! Skeedley eedley eddley bee... In an Irish accent, for God's sake!! Man, scatting's horrible. They should ban it. It's probably banned in Iran. Banned in Iran diddi ban ban ban!

-- From Sean Condon's column "Don't Get Me Started", Sydney Morning Herald - Good Weekend Magazine, 31 July 2004, p. 62.

From a newsgroup article:

Born and raised in the town of Hawera [New Zealand], [Alan] Brough took to the stage at the age of 4, encouraged by his father, an actor. His first performance was not a success. "I was the little drummer boy in a Christmas pageant," he says. "I was just about to play when Mum and Dad walked in and I went, 'Hello!' and waved and walked up to them. My father was absolutely mortified."

Soon after, Brough was expelled from kindergarten. He still doesn't know why. "There was a little note in my lunchbox that said, 'Mrs Brough, we'd like Alan not to come back.' No one could work out why."

[From an article "Hey, Brough" by Michael Lallo, Sydney Morning Herald "The Guide" supplement, Feb 26 2007, p. 6]

Assorted versions of a quote attributed to Xenarchus:

Hmmm ... "A Greek-English lexicon" by Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, Franz Passow, Henry Drisler (Harper & Brothers, 1846) [Google Books copy here] quotes almost identical Greek text under the entry for "τέττιγες" [searchable copy here - look up "te/ttic"], citing the section on Xenarchus in "Fragments of the Greek comic poets" by August Meineke. But a Google Books copy of 'Poetarum comicorum Graecorum fragmenta' By August Meineke et al. has Meineke citing Athenaeus' "Deipnosophists" as the source for that quote (section VIII ΥΠΝΟΣ, p. 627).
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