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.
Danforth Quayle, Vice President of the U.S., NAACP luncheon in Nashville
[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.
Gore, Vice President of the U.S., on CNN Late Edition
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;
[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.
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,
[Probably urban legend, but a damn good
Good composers borrow. Great composers steal.
Igor Stravinsky [?]
Things should be described as simply as possible, but no simpler.
Albert Einstein [?]
are so many variants of this quotation floating about that this should be
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by
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,
Prizes are for children.
Ives, upon being offered, but refusing, the Pulitzer prize (attributed
by Byron Alley, BugTraq)
Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found
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
[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
Premature optimization is the root of all evil.
[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
– 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
[NB: This attribution is probably urban
[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
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,
- Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should
soon want bread.
- If the government is big enough to give you everything you want, it is big
enough take away everything you have.
Gerald R. Ford, quoted in “If Elected”
- A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a
fool trusts either of them.
P.J. O'Rourke, quoted in “Quote”
- The Government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a healthy appetite
at one end and no responsibility at the other.
Ronald W. Reagan, quoted in “New York Times
- One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in
this world are to cured by legislation.
Thomas B. Reed, speech (1886)
- I don't make jokes – I just watch the government and report the
Will Rogers, quoted
in “Saturday Review”
- A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support
Shaw, “Everybody's Political What's What”
- Flaming death to godless Communists!
C.E.A. Finney, “Liberals Really
- Fragrant mirth to godful Puritans!
C.E.A. Finney, “Yeah, and So Do
From USEnet & e-mail signatures
Cecil, you're my final hope
- The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear
arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in
Jefferson (cited by Olen Kline)
- In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence
of our friends.
King Jr. (cited by Lou Rinaldi)
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:
- All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is
- Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
- No enemy is stronger than one who does not know he is beaten.
J. Middleton Murray
- The day will happen whether or not you get up.
- To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others.
- An impossibility does not disturb us until its accomplishment shows what
fools we are.
Henry s. Haskins
- Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for
- We strain hardest for things which are almost but not quite within our
Frederick W. Faber
- A free press can of course be good or bad. But, most certainly, without
freedom, it will never be anything but bad.
- If only men could be induced to laugh more they might hate less, and find
more serenity here on earth.
- Not everything that is more difficult is more meritorious.
Saint Thomas Aquinas
- When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each
- The very essence of the creative is its novelty, and hence we have no
standard by which to judge it.
Carl R. Rogers
- Should you ask me my comprehension of a starlit night, awe would be my
- If one is really a superior person, the fact is likely to leak out without
too much assistance.
John Andrew Holmes
- Some things have to be believed to be seen.
More Quayle Quotes
The following are from Steve Riedler's site:
- I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was
that I didn't study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those
- I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy
- but that could change. (1989-05-22)
- What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very
wasteful. How true that is. (1989-05-15)
- The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. I mean in this
century's history. But we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this
- I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix.
- I am not part of the problem. I am a Republican.
- I have made good judgements in the past. I have made good judgements
in the future.
- For NASA, space is still a high priority. (1990-09-05)
- Welcome to President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and my fellow astronauts.
- Mars is essentially in the same orbit ... Mars is somewhat the same
distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where
there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is
oxygen. If oxygen, then we can breathe. (1989-08-11)
- Republicans understand the importance of bondage between mother and
- If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.
- It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in
our air and water that are doing it.
- We don't want to go back to tomorrow, we want to go forward.
- The future will be better tomorrow.
- Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things. (1988-11-30)
- We're going to have the best educated American people in the
- People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have
tremendous impact on history.
- A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the
- Murphy Brown is doing better than I am. At least she knows she still has a
job next year.
- We are ready for any unforeseen event which may or may not occur.
- Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having
it. (1992-05-22, as reported by Esquire in 1992 August)
- When I have been asked during these last weeks who caused the riots
and the killing in L.A., my answer has been direct and simple: Who is
to blame for the riots? The rioters are to blame. Who is to blame for
the killings? The killers are to blame.
- We're all capable of mistakes, but I do not care to enlighten you on
the mistakes we may or may not have made.
- Public speaking is very easy.
- The American people would not want to know of any misquotes that Dan
Quayle may or may not make.
- I stand by all the misstatements that I've made. (1989-08-17)