ceafinney > quotations

Some of Charles's favorite quotations

What a waste it is to lose one's mind, or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.
James Danforth Quayle, Vice President of the U.S., NAACP luncheon in Nashville (1989-05-15)
[One presumes he was attempting to repeat the motto/slogan of the United Negro College Fund: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”]

Maybe you're rude. People don't take rude people seriously.
George Herbert Walker Bush, President of the U.S., to a man who interrupted a press conference and wondered why he was not taken seriously (1992 July)

During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.
Albert Gore, Vice President of the U.S., on CNN Late Edition (1999-03-09)

Hate crimes are rooted in hatred [duh!] and bigotry, and if America is ever to be America [huh?], we must root out hatred and bigotry.
Edward M. Kennedy, Senator from Massachusetts, reported on National Public Radio Morning Edition (2000-06-21; statement 2000-06-20)
[It is well known that Teddy tips the bottle, but here he appears to have had a brain transplant from Dan Quayle. Of course I know what he meant, but he stated it poorly.]

I have had my results for a long time, but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them.
Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855)

You know that I write slowly. This is chiefly because I am never satisfied until I have said a much as possible in a few words, and writing briefly takes more time than writing at length.
Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855)
[I might have said, “Writing succinctly takes time.”]

We should develop anti-satellite weapons because we could not have prevailed without them in Red Storm Rising.
Senator James Danforth Quayle, 1988-09-06
[Probably urban legend, but a damn good one.]

Good composers borrow. Great composers steal.
Igor Stravinsky [?]

Things should be described as simply as possible, but no simpler.
Albert Einstein [?]
[There are so many variants of this quotation floating about that this should be doubted.]

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
Robert Heinlein, Logic of Empire (attributed by Adam Lynch, BugTraq)

Any view of the universe that is not strange is false.
Neil Gaiman (attributed by Adam Lynch, BugTraq)

Prizes are for children.
Charles Ives, upon being offered, but refusing, the Pulitzer prize (attributed by Byron Alley, BugTraq)

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
Oscar Wilde

If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.
Oscar Wilde (attributed by Olaf Seibert, BugTraq)

My own business bores me to death. I prefer other people's.
Oscar Wilde (attributed by the Oscariana Project)

Sleep, those little slivers of death. How I loathe them.
Edgar Allen Poe (attributed by Larry McKevitt, OpenBSD misc)

I listen a lot and talk less. You can't learn anything when you're talking.
Bing Crosby
[The basis of my public persona.]

The greatest of all faults is to be conscious of none.
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.
Niels Bohr (attributed by interviewee on All Things Considered, National Public Radio, 2000-03-01)

There are a number of ways of constructing a software design. One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies, and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies.
C.A.R. Hoare (attributed by K.A. Robbins)

Premature optimization is the root of all evil.
D.E. Knuth
[I previously listed this quotation as “premature optimism”, as I had seen it elsewhere, but the word “optimization” is more in line with Knuth's work. Thanks to Bob Seidensticker.]

On two occasions I have been asked [by Members of Parliament], “Pray, Mr Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out ?”  I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
Babbage (attributed by Thomas Porter)

If you are a fatalist, what can you do about it ?
Ann Edwards-Duff (from fortune, computer program)

A witty saying proves nothing.

In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.
Paul Harvey

– You are a lascivious adulterer !
– Don't you dare say that again until I've had a chance to look it up.
From the movie, What's up, pussycat ?

– Do you like your father ?
– My father was a drunk, a gambler, and a womanizer. I worshipped him.
From the movie, The general's daughter


Everything that can be invented has been invented.
Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Office of Patents (1899)
[NB: This attribution is probably urban legend.]

[Television] won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.
Darryl F. Zanuck, head of 20th Century Fox (1946)

There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.
Ken Olson, President of DEC, World Future Society Convention (1977)

640K ought to be enough for anybody.
Bill Gates, Microsoft (1981)

From Webster's Dictionary of Quotations,
entry for “Government”:

From USEnet & e-mail signatures

Cecil, you're my final hope
Of finding out the true Straight Dope
For I have been reading of Schrödinger's cat
But none of my cats are at all like that.
This unusual animal (so it is said)
Is simultaneously alive and dead!
What I don't understand is just why he
Can't be one or the other, unquestionably.
My future now hangs in between eigenstates.
In one I'm enlightened, in the other I ain't.
If you understand, Cecil, then show me the way
And rescue my psyche from quantum decay.
But if this queer thing has perplexed even you,
Then I will and I won't see you in Schrödinger's zoo.
– Randy F., Chicago
“The Straight Dope, a compendium of human knowledge” by Cecil Adams

Wit & Wisdom from Elliott's Amazing Fruit Drinks

I used to drink Elliott's in the old Pav XI at UVa. Inside each bottle cap was a quotation. I ran across a horde of these caps the other day (why did I save them ?), so here they are:

More Quayle Quotes

P-O-T-A-T-O-E, potatoe.

The following are from Steve Riedler's site: