Quote of the Day: December 16th

Previous quotes of the day

  • Courtesy of the mind consists in thinking kind and delicate thoughts.


  • If you had to define humour in a single phrase, you might define it as dignity sitting on a tintack.


  • Anger and gravest suspicions about everybody has kept her young and on the boil.


  • Weapons are like money. No-one knows the meaning of enough.


  • My final word before I’m done
    Is ‘cancer can be rather fun’.
    Thanks to the nurses and Nye Bevan
    The NHS is quite like heaven
    Provided one confronts the tumour
    With a sufficient sense of humour.

    Disease, Sickness

  • The main problem with getting old is the future’s not what it used to be.


  • Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right.


  • A man can measure out his life in the dogs he has loved.


  • There are probably more annoying things than being lectured about African development by a wealthy Irish rock star in a cowboy hat, but I can’t think of one at the moment.

    Anger, Annoyance, Irritation

  • Every intelligent boy of sixteen is a socialist. At that age one does not see the hook sticking out of the rather soggy bait.


  • Whatever tears one may shed, in the end one always blows one’s nose.


  • Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those we cannot resemble.

    Absurdity, Envy

  • Never get involved with someone who wants to change you.


  • A narcissist is someone better looking than you are.


  • All progress is based on a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income.


  • Happiness is less important than trying to live in the right way.


  • No caparisons, Miss, if you please! Caparisons don’t become a young woman.


  • A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is a bone shared with the dog when you are just as hungry as the dog.


  • If if power corrupts the reverse is also true; persecution corrupts the victims, though perhaps in subtler and more tragic ways.

    Persecution, Power, Victims

  • Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.


  • The purpose of a lawsuit is to harass and discourage, rather than win.


  • The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.


  • Some men just want to watch the world burn down.


  • The certainties of one age are the problems of the next.


  • Money as it turned out, was exactly like sex. You thought of nothing else if you didn’t have it and thought of other things if you did.


  • President George W. Bush overcame an incredible lack of obstacles to achieve his success.


  • Bi-sexuality? It immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.


  • Many years ago I chased a woman for almost two years, only to discover that her tastes were exactly like mine; we were both crazy about girls.


  • Good intentions are invariably ungrammatical.


  • Most things are praised or decried because it is fashionable to praise or decry them.


  • You see, astrology is like fortune-telling. If you can't get it right, you say, "Well, if Venus was doing something peculiar in the background, that would alter your prognostication--because, of course, astrology is rubbish.


  • Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.


  • When you hear Bach or Mozart, you hear perfection. Remember that Bach, Mozart and Beethoven were great improvisers. I can hear that in their music.


  • No plagiarist can excuse the wrong by showing how much of his work he did not pirate.


  • There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make.


  • The surest sign of being born with great qualities, is to be born free from envy.


  • Forethought is lauded without stint, yet it can give us no guarantee about the slightest turn of events.


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


  • I am between the devil and the Holy See. My task is to prevent the californication of Ireland.


  • If it’s them, we feel we should know all about it – that’s transparency. But if it’s us, we feel we should have the right to stop them finding out about it – that’s privacy.


  • Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president, but they don’t want them to a become politicians in the process.


  • Patience is a minor form of despair disguised as a virtue.


  • When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.


  • Let your credo be this; let the lie come into the world; let it even triumph. But not through me.


  • A diplomat these days is nothing but a head waiter who’s allowed to sir down occasionally.


  • The quality of our lives depends not on whether or not we have conflicts, but on how we respond to them.


  • If the highest aim of a Captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port for ever.

    Self –preservation

  • There’s been a colour clash –both teams are wearing white.


  • All our life…..is but a mass of habits.


  • Don't stand there and be hungry; come on in and get fed up.


  • The triumph of sugar over diabetes.
    [of J.M.Barrie]


  • Censorship like charity should begin at home, but unlike charity should end there.


  • A minor operation is one performed on somebody else.


  • Such a clever actress. Pity she does her hair with Bovril.


  • On an occasion of this kind, it becomes more than a moral duty to speak one’s mind. It becomes a pleasure.


  • The promise given was a necessity of the past; the word broken is a necessity of the present.


  • There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.


  • Any Man who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


  • Father had a secret of making inanimate objects appear to possess malevolent life of their own and sometimes it was hard to believe that his tools and materials were not really in a conspiracy against him.


  • All the passions cause us to make mistakes but love is responsible for the silliest ones.


  • A Consumer’s Guide to Religion; The Best Buy –Church of England. It’s a jolly friendly faith. If you are one, there is no onus to make everyone else join. In fact, no-one need ever know.


  • To know how to say what others only know how to think, is what makes men poets or sages; to dare to say what others only dare to think, is what makes men martyrs or reformers – or both.


  • Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.


  • You would have thought that our first priority would be to ask what the ecologists are finding out, because we have to live within the conditions and principles they define. Instead, we've elevated the economy above ecology.


  • Sincerity in society is like an iron girder in a house of cards.


  • It is when you reach 60, that you suddenly realise that time is much, much more precious than money.


  • Hollywood is bounded on the north, south, east and west by agents.


  • Genes are so obviously very complex as to defy any profound understanding of how they work.

    Experiments, Genetics, Science

  • The secret of success is to be ready when your opportunity comes.


  • If we had no faults we should not find so much enjoyment in seeing faults in others.


  • Elizabeth Taylor is wearing Orson Welles designer jeans.


  • A seed is essentially a very small plant in a box.


  • Mr Knox was a fair, spare young man who looked like a stable boy among gentlemen and a gentleman among stable boys.

    Social Class

  • Solitude is a condition best enjoyed in company.


  • A young Scotsman of your ability let loose upon the world with £300 what could he not do? It is almost appalling to think of . Particularly if he went among the English.


  • The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.


  • Diplomacy - lying in state.


  • I don’t understand why one should look for sermons in stones when the inability to preach is so attractive a feature of stones.


  • If young women do not wish to appear coquettish and elderly men do not wish to be ridiculous, they should never refer to love as something with which they could be personally concerned.


  • Politics are, like God ’s infinite mercy, a last resort.


  • I don’t like Switzerland. It has produced nothing but theologians and waiters.


  • A professor is one who talks in someone else’s sleep.


  • Conquering the world on Horseback is easy. It is dismounting and governing that is hard.


  • Age doesn’t matter unless you are a cheese.


  • Our ignorance of history causes us to slander our own times.


  • ‘He isn’t; I am and you’re not.’
    [to a criminal in the dock]


  • Beauty in distress is much the most affecting beauty.


  • This is a free country madam. We have a right to share your privacy in a public place.


  • One does not deceive oneself about the consequences of one’s acts; one deceives oneself about the ease with which one can live with those consequences.

    Conscience, Integrity

  • The only safe pleasure for a parliamentarian is a bag of boiled sweets.


  • Death is nature’s way of telling you to slow down.


  • Fashions of thought, as well as the fortunes of the world, come round on the whirligig of time.


  • Of course I believe in the devil. How else would I account for the existence of Lord Beaverbrook?


  • Being a husband is a whole time job. That is why so many husbands fail. They cannot give their entire attention to it.


  • Politics are almost as exciting as war and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times.


  • The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.


  • Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.


  • Good sense is the best of burdens. While travelling, it is better than gold.

    Common Sense

  • Some crimes become innocent and even glorious by their sheer impudence, number and enormity. This is why public thefts become skilful moves and annexing provinces without justification is called conquest.


  • As soon as a politician tells you that decent, law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear from a particular measure, you can be sure that someone, somewhere is losing a part of their freedom.


  • Well, meretricious and a happy new Year to you too!
    [to a critic of his book on Lincoln]


  • Intrepidity is unusual strength of soul which raises it above the troubles , disorders and emotions that might be stirred up in it by the sight of great danger. This is the fortitude by which heroes keep their inner peace and preserve clear use of their reason in the most terrible and overwhelming crises .


  • The worst thing in politics is to tell the truth at the wrong time.


  • Warriors are unfashionable people in democratic societies during periods of peace

    Peace, Popularity, Society, War

  • Wine is bottled poetry.


  • It’s television you see. If you are not on the thing every week, the public think you are either dead or deported.


  • It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

    Self –preservation

  • The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.


  • An economist is someone who when he finds something that works in practice wonders if it would work in theory.


  • It time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.


  • Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.


  • Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.


  • It useless to hold a person to anything he says while he’s in love, drunk or running for office.


  • I had an interest in death from an early age. It fascinated me. When I heard ‘Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall’, I thought did he fall or was he pushed.


  • No woman marries for money; they are all clever enough, before marrying a millionaire, to fall in love with him first.


  • Wealth and power are much more likely to be the result of breeding than they are of reading.


  • We repair what your husband fixed.


  • An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her.


  • Outrage is the necessary stuff of politics: only the topics vary.


  • When in doubt, don't.


  • Without the aid of prejudice and custom, I should not be able to find my way across the room.


  • Do the duty that lies nearest thee, which thou knowest to be a duty. The second duty will already have become clearer.


  • In the sphere of thought, absurdity and perversity remain the masters of the world, and their dominion is suspended only for brief periods.


  • Class is the most difficult subject for American writers to deal with and the most difficult for the English to avoid.


  • The humour of Dostoyevsky is the humour of a bar loafer who ties a kettle to a dog’s tail.


  • An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.

    Advantage, Gain

  • There are worse occupations in this world than feeling a woman’s pulse.


  • Never interrupt your enemy when he’s in the process of destroying himself.


  • A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past; he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.


  • Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.


  • We cannot get over being deceived by our enemies and betrayed by our friends, yet we are often content to be so treated by ourselves


  • The education of a doctor which goes on after he has his degree, after all, is the most important part of his education.


  • Reality is something the human race doesn’t handle very well.


  • Life’s a curse, love’s a blight, God’s a blaggard, cherry blossom is quite nice.
    [on A.E.Housman]


  • In any country there must be people who have to die. They are the sacrifices any nation has to make to achieve law and order.


  • Most of what matters in our lives takes place in our absence.

    circumstances, Life

  • There are people who are very resourceful, at being remorseful,
    And who apparently feel that the best way to make friends
    Is to do something terrible and then make amends.


  • I have to listen to a lot of boring speeches, but I have discovered that there is nothing so boring as not listening to a boring speech.


  • The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it’s so rare.


  • If you are going through hell, keep going.


  • Any stigma will serve to beat a dogma.


  • Man works to stand out, but not too far out and on the contrary, he wants to merge himself with a group, with some larger body, but not altogether

    Personality, Society

  • Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume that you are.


  • From a worldly point of view, there is no mistake so great as that of being always right.


  • There is nothing so bad or so good that you will not find Englishmen doing it; but you will never find an Englishman in the wrong. He does everything on principle.


  • Television has brought back murder into the home – where it belongs.


  • All the world’s a stage, and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.


  • Reviewers are usually people who have been poets, historians, biographers etc, if they could; they have tried their talents at one or the other and have failed. Therefore they turn critics.


  • Listening to a speech by Chamberlain is like paying a visit to Woolworth’s. Everything is in its place and nothing above sixpence.

    Prime Ministers

  • Income tax has made more liars out of the American people than Golf.


  • The art of public life consists to a great extent of knowing exactly where to stop and then going a bit further.

    Daring, Government, Politics, War

  • We had a lot in common. I loved him and he loved him.


  • Some people think that football is a matter of life and death. I can assure them it’s much more serious than that.


  • A modest man who has much to be modest about.
    [on Clement Attlee]

    False Compliments

  • However glorious an action may be, it must not be deemed great unless there is a great purpose behind it.


  • America - one of the finest countries anyone ever stole.

    America, USA

  • The officers of this branch of the force, the Obscene Publications Squad, have a discouraging club tie on which a book is depicted being cut in half by a larger pair of scissors.


  • Student; Did Hamlet actually have an affair with Ophelia?
    Manager; In our company always.


  • Hypochondria’ is Greek for men.


  • If Botticelli were alive today he’d be working for Vogue.


  • Many a man in love with a dimple makes the mistake of marrying the whole girl.


  • Millions long for immortality - who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

    Boredom, Bores

  • Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.


  • The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of one’s self.


  • We risk being the first people in history to have been able to make their illusions so vivid, so persuasive, so ‘realistic’, that they can live in them.


  • No individual word was decipherable, but with a bold reader, groups could be made to conform to a scheme based on probabilities.


  • Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving in words evidence of the fact.


  • It is better to have written a damned play than no play at all – it snatches a man from obscurity.


  • Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.


  • Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them.


  • Protestant women may take the pill. Roman Catholic women must keep taking The Tablet.


  • Hell is full of musical amateurs. Music is the brandy of the damned.


  • Work as if you were to live a hundred years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow.


  • If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who knows so much as to be out of danger?


  • A town and country soprano of the kind often used for augmenting grief at a funeral.


  • My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people.

    Fat, Gluttony

  • God can stand being told by Professor Ayer and Marghanita Laski that He does not exist.


  • The Greeks said God was always doing geometry, modern physicists say he is playing roulette. Everything depends on the observer, the universe is a totality of observations. It’s a work of art created by us.


  • Great men are almost always bad men.


  • An actor’s a guy who, if you ain’t talking about him, ain’t listening.


  • An American is a man with two arms and four wheels.

    America, USA

  • I am the Roman Emperor and am above grammar.


  • It’s an odd job making decent people laugh.


  • The charm of novelty is to love as the bloom is to fruit. It gives a lustre that is easily rubbed off and never comes back.


  • Character is much easier kept than recovered.


  • He has passed from rising hope to elder statesman without any intervening period whatsoever.
    [On David Steel, Leader of the Liberal Party]


  • Fortunate people seldom mend their ways, for when good luck crowns their misdeeds with success, they think it is because they are right.


  • Football is popular because stupidity is popular.


  • It is sometimes possible to be a fool with brains, but never to be a fool with discrimination.


  • The role of mythology is to shield us from history.

    History, Myths, Stories

  • The asylums of this country are full of the sound of mind disinherited by the out of pocket.


  • A fool and his money are soon parted. What I want to know is how they got together in the first place.


  • Drive carefully. We'll wait.


  • People don’t talk in Paris. They just look lovely and eat.


  • Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.


  • The trouble with this business is the dearth of bad pictures.


  • Everything considered, work is less boring than amusing oneself.


  • We don’t have a plan and when we discover people who do have plans, we take vehemently against them.


  • For God’s sake give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself.


  • The good of the people is the chief law.


  • We are never so generous as when giving advice.


  • No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without final getting bewildered as to which may be true.

    Realism, Reality

  • We would be delighted if you send in your payment on time. However, if you don't, YOU will be delighted.


  • To you I’m an atheist; to God, I’m the loyal opposition.


  • Go ahead; try defeatism. It won’t work.


  • The difference between men and boys, is the price of their toys.


  • Be the first to not do what nobody has ever thought of not doing before.


  • Why, Sir, there is every possibility that you will soon be able to tax it!
    [when asked by Gladstone on the usefulness of electricity]


  • Forgetting is the only vengeance and the only forgivenesss.


  • In the face of such overwhelming statistical possibilities, hypochondria has always seemed to me to be the only rational position to take on life.


  • No one takes himself more seriously than a comedian.


  • The poor object to being governed badly; the rich to being governed at all.


  • Always remember the golden rule of politics; never kick a man until he is down.


  • I have long been of the opinion that if work were such a splendid thing the rich would have kept more of it for themselves.


  • A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world.


  • A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.


  • Even the greatest poets need something to cling to. Keats had Beauty; Milton had God; T.S.Eliot’s standby was Worry.


  • If everybody contemplates the infinite instead of fixing the drains, many of us will die of cholera.


  • It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.


  • When a man is wrapped up in himself he makes a pretty small package

    Ego, Egotism

  • Many have built their careers buttressing the status quo, reinforcing what they've already accomplished, and resisting the radical thinking that can topple their legacy - not exactly the attitude you want when trying to drive innovation forward.


  • An egotist is a person of low taste, more interested in himself than me.


  • It is easier to fall in love when you are out of it than to get out of it when you are in it.


  • Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business.


  • A camel is a horse designed by a committee.

    Bureaucracy, Camel, Committee

  • He really is terribly heavy going. Like running up hill on roller skates.


  • That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in another.


  • You can’t find any true closeness in Hollywood, because everybody does the fake closeness so well.


  • A bore is one who has the power of speech but not the capacity for conversation.

    Boredom, Bores

  • I’ve absolutely no idea if God exists. It seems unlikely to me, but then – does a trout know that I exist?


  • In the little world in which children have their existence, there is nothing so finely perceived and finely felt as injustice.


  • My position on cake is pro-having it and pro-eating it.


  • Frankly speaking it is difficult to trust the Chinese. Once bitten by a snake you feel suspicious even when you see a piece of rope.