Navigation Bar
MAIN Cheap Thoughts Cheap Thoughts Index Cheap Thoughts on Science Really Cheap Thoughts Index


Cheap Thoughts




Facts and Evidence


Fantasy and Reality

Farming and Gardening

Fate, Destiny, Free Will, and Chaos


Fighting Each Other

Food and Drink

     Coffee and Tea

     Smoking and Drinking





Facts and Evidence


Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
     John Adams, Argument in Defense of the [British] Soldiers 
     in the Boston Massacre Trials, (December 1770)


... absent evidence is real evidence. It is the evidence of a failure to detect expected effects of a hypothesis, and so it is evidence against the hypothesis.
     Jonathan E. Adler, "Open Minds and the Argument from Ignorance" 
     (Skeptical Inquirer, January/February 1998, p. 41)


It is the easiest thing in the world to deny a fact. People do it all the time. Yet it remains a fact just the same.
     Isaac Asimov


Every man has a right to be own opinion. But no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.
     Bernard Baruch


A fact is in itself nothing. It is valuable only for the idea attached to it, or for the proof which it furnishes.
     Claude Bernard, An Introduction to the 
     Study of Experimental Medicine


Proof, n. Evidence having a shade more of plausibility than of unlikelihood. The testimony of two credible witnesses as opposed to that of only one.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


I grow daily to honor facts more and more, and theory less and less.
     Thomas Carlyle


If you hear hooves clip-clopping down a London street, it could be a zebra or even a unicorn, but, before we assume that it's anything other than a horse, we should demand a certain minimal standard of evidence.
     Richard Dawkins, "Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder" 
     (Richard Dimbleby Lecture, BBC1, November 12th, 1996)


"Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing," answered Holmes thoughtfully. "It may seem to point very straight to one thing, but if you shift your own point of view a little, you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different."
     Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,
     The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892)
     "The Boscombe Valley Mystery"


"There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact," he answered, laughing.
     Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,
     The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892)
     "The Boscombe Valley Mystery"


"I had," said he, "come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows, my dear Watson, how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data. ... I can only claim the merit that I instantly reconsidered my position when, however, it became clear to me that whatever danger threatened an occupant of the room could not come either from the window or the door."
     Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,
     The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892)
     "The Adventure of the Speckled Band"


"My whole examination served to turn my conjecture into a certainty. Circumstantial evidence is occasionally very convincing, as when you find a trout in the milk, to quote Thoreau's example."
     Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,
     The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892)
     "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor"


"It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recognize, out of a number of facts, which are incidental and which vital. Otherwise your energy and attention must be dissipated instead of being concentrated."
     Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 
     The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894)
     "The Reigate Puzzle"


"I have not all my facts yet, but I do not think there are any insuperable difficulties. Still, it is an error to argue in front of your data. You find yourself insensibly twisting them round to fit your theories."
     Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 
     His Last Bow (1917)
     "The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge"


"We approached the case, you remember, with an absolutely blank mind, which is always an advantage. We had formed no theories. We were simply there to observe and to draw inferences from our observations."
     Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 
     His Last Bow (1917)
     "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box"


"When once your point of view is changed, the very thing which was so damning becomes a clue to the truth."
     Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 
     The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes (1927)
     "The Problem of Thor Bridge"


Whereas the trained mind accords belief to plausible evidence only and grants a possibility solely on the basis of a sound inference from established facts, the untrained mind insists that a proposition must be true if it cannot be disproved. "You can't prove it isn't so!" is as good as Q.E.D. in folk logic — as though it were necessary to submit a piece of the moon to chemical analysis before you could be sure that it was not made of green cheese.
     Bergen Evans, The Natural History of Nonsense (1945, 1958)


I would rather discover a single fact, even a small one, than debate the great issues at length without discovering anything at all.
     Galileo Galilei


We humans seem to be extremely good at generating ideas, theories, and explanations that have the ring of plausibility. We may be relatively deficient, however, in evaluating and testing our ideas once they are formed. One of the biggest impediments to doing so is our failure to realize that when we do not precisely specify the kind of evidence that will count as support for our position, we can end up "detecting" too much evidence for our preconceptions.
     Thomas Gilovich, How We Know What Isn't So: The 
     Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life


Whenever truth stands in the mind unaccompanied by the evidence upon which it depends, it cannot properly be said to be apprehended at all.
     William Godwin, An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793)


Facts are not pure unsullied bits of information; culture also influences what we see and how we see it. Theories, moreover, are not inexorable inductions from facts. The most creative theories are often imaginative visions imposed upon facts; the source of imagination is also strongly cultural.
     Stephen Jay Gould


Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
     Aldous Huxley


In scientific work, those who refuse to go beyond fact rarely get as far as fact.
     Thomas Henry [T. H.] Huxley


... it is wrong for a man to say that he is certain of the objective truth of any proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty.
     Thomas Henry [T. H.] Huxley, letter to Charles Kingsley


Facts need no pedigree; logic has no heraldry, and the living should not be awed by the mistakes of the dead.
     Robert Ingersoll


One unerring mark of the love of truth is not entertaining any proposition with greater assurance than the proofs it is built upon will warrant.
     John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)


Those who forget good and evil and seek only to know the facts are more likely to achieve good than those who view the world through the distorting medium of their own desires.
     Bertrand Russell, A Free Man's Worship and Other Essays (1976)


Fantasy flies in when fact leaves a vacuum.
     Peter Shaffer, Lettice and Lovage


Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
     Homer Simpson in The Simpsons


When one man has reduced a fact of the imagination to be a fact to his understanding, I foresee that all men will at length establish their lives on that basis.
     Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or, Life in the Woods (1854)


Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.
     Henry David Thoreau, Journal (1906)


Often, how louder and clearer than any tongue, does dumb circumstantial evidence speak.
     Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889)


Even the clearest and most perfect circumstantial evidence is likely to be at fault, after all, and therefore ought to be received with great caution. Take the case of any pencil, sharpened by any woman; if you have witnesses, you will find she did it with a knife; but if you take simply the aspect of the pencil, you will say she did it with her teeth.
     Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894)
     "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar"


In fact, it went on looking better and better, straight along - until by-and-by it grew into positive proof. And then Richard put the matter at once out of his mind, for he had a private distinct that a proof once established is better left so.
     Mark Twain, "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg" (1899)


It is wiser to find out than to suppose.
     Mark Twain, More Maxims of Mark (Merle Johnson, ed., 1927)


"Supposing is good, but finding out is better."
     Mark Twain, Bernard DeVoto (ed.), Mark Twain in Eruption (1940)


The brightest flashes in the world of thought are incomplete until they have been proved to have their counterparts in the world of fact.
     John Tyndall


Facts cannot be observed as Facts except in virtue of the Conceptions which the observer himself unconsciously supplies.
     William Whewell, The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1840, 1847)





A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well known, and then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.
     Fred Allen


Famous, adj. Conspicuously miserable.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


Celebrity-worship and hero-worship should not be confused. Yet we confuse them every day, and by doing so we come dangerously close to depriving ourselves of all real models. We lose sight of the men and women who do not simply seem great because they are famous but are famous because they are great. We come closer and closer to degrading all fame into notoriety.
     Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image (1961)


[Celebrity] ... A person who is known for his well-knownness.
     Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image (1962)


Formerly a public man needed a private secretary for a barrier between himself and the public. Nowadays he has a press secretary, to keep him properly in the public eye.
     Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image (1962)


Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.
     Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image (1962)


William Faulkner lived in Oxford for the whole of his life, and his home is now a museum, preserved as it was on the day he died in 1962. It must be unnerving to be so famous that you know they are going to come in the moment you croak and hang velvet cords across the doorways and treat everything with reverence. Think of the embarrassment if you left a copy of Reader's Digest Condensed Books on the bedside table.
     Bill Bryson


There are five stages of fame: denial, anger, negotiation, acceptance, and death. These stages are virtually the same as the five stages of terminal illness.
     Nora Ephron, Nora Ephron Collected (1991)
     "Famous First Words" (1989)


Being famous is really rather a nuisance.
     Stephen William Hawking


To be famous, to read about oneself in the newspapers, to be talked about — all this is sweet, there is no doubt; but few of the joys that life can offer cost so much effort, and few efforts have such an uncertain result.
     Primo Levi, Other People's Trades (1989)
     "Why Does One Write?"


A celebrity is one who is known to many persons he is glad he doesn't know.
     H. L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy (1949)
     "Sententiæ — The Mind of Man"


Fame — An embalmer trembling with stagefright.
     H. L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy (1949)
     "Sententiæ — The Mind of Man"


Fame lost its appeal for me when I went into a public restroom and an autograph seeker handed me a pen and paper under the stall door.
     Marlo Thomas


Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion.
     Mark Twain, Notebook, 1868


In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.
     Andy Warhol, cf. Ralph Keyes, 
     "Nice Guys Finish Last Seventh" (1992)



Fantasy and Reality


Beware the writer who always encloses the word reality in quotation marks: He's trying to slip something over on you. Or into you.
     Edward Abbey


Oh dear, I think you'll find reality's on the blink again.
     Marvin, the Paranoid Android in Douglas Adams,
     The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (radio program, 1977-1980)


What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet.
     Woody Allen, Without Feathers (1975)


A man's life is dyed the color of his imagination.
     Marcus Aurelius


Imagination, n. A warehouse of facts, with poet and liar in joint ownership.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


It's my belief that sanity lies in realizing that reality is not exactly what we have in mind.
     Roy Blount, Jr., Not Exactly What I Had In Mind (1986)


Every time I close the door on reality, it comes in through the window.
     Ashleigh Brilliant


I have abandoned my search for truth, and am now looking for a good fantasy.
     Ashleigh Brilliant


I never miss reality when I'm not in it, but it's sometimes nice to come back to.
     Ashleigh Brilliant


What could possibly be more fantastic than reality?
     Ashleigh Brilliant


Why does merely attempting to understand Reality so often seem to lead to going insane?
     Ashleigh Brilliant


... when reality looks too ugly, just fantasize. It can’t hurt.
     Jimmy Buffett, A Pirate Looks At Fifty (1998)


A little escapism never hurt anybody. I should know, I've been selling it for years.
     Jimmy Buffett, A Pirate Looks At Fifty (1998)


I think what every child needs and ought to have every day is two hours of daydreaming. Plain old daydreaming. Turn off the Internet, the CD-ROMs, and the computer games and let them stare at a tree for a couple of hours. It's good for them. And you know something? Every now and then they actually come up with one of their own ideas.
     George Carlin, Napalm & Silly Putty (2001)


I wrestled with reality for thirty-five years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it.
     Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) in Mary Chase
     and Oscar Brodney, Harvey (movie, 1950)


We must select the illusion which appeals to our temperament and embrace it with passion, if we want to be happy.
     Cyril Connolly


Imagination is cheap if we don’t have to bother with the details.
     Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea: 
     Evolution and the Meanings of Life


Reality is that which when you stop believing in it, it doesn't go away.
     Philip K. Dick, VALIS (1981)


"... for strange effects and extraordinary combinations we must go to life itself, which is always far more daring than any effort of the imagination."
     Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle, 
     The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892)
     "The Red-Headed League"


Up until the twentieth century, 'reality' was everything humans could touch, smell, see, and hear. Since the initial publication of the chart of the electromagnetic spectrum ... humans have learned that what they can touch, smell, see, and hear is less than one millionth of reality. Ninety-nine percent of all that is going to affect our tomorrows is being developed by humans using instruments and working in ranges of reality that are nonhumanly sensible.
     R. Buckminster Fuller


Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
     T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets (1936-1942)
     "Burnt Norton"


The mind does not create what it perceives, any more than the eye creates the rose.
     Ralph Waldo Emerson


The capacity of minds to comprehend is not what makes reality real.
     Ralph Estling, “Two Troubles with Science”
     (Skeptical Inquirer, Mar/Apr 1997, p. 54)


The hypothesis that there is an external world, not dependent on human minds, made of something, is so obviously useful and so strongly confirmed by experience down through the ages that we can say without exaggerating that it is better confirmed than any other empirical hypothesis. So useful is the posit that it is almost impossible for anyone except a madman or a professional metaphysician to comprehend a reason for doubting it.
     Martin Gardner, The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener (1983)


I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.
     Dr. Theodore Geisel (Dr. Suess)


Few people have the imagination for reality.
     Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


It's not that I'm out of touch with reality. It's just that I have a bad opinion of it.
     G. P. Greenwood


Each of us wages a private battle each day between the grand fantasies we have for ourselves and what actually happens.
     Cathy Guisewite


Reality is determined not by what scientists or anyone else says or believes but by what the evidence reveals to us.
     Alan Hale


Reality is the ultimate illusion
     Mal Hancock


Not seeing people permits us to imagine them with every perfection.
     Victor Hugo, Les Misérables (1862)


Sometimes you have to look reality in the eye and deny it.
     Garrison Keillor


In the interest of fair play I offer two news situations that I find acceptable. One exists. The other does not. Naturally the one that exists is not nearly as acceptable as the one that does not. And this is probably as good a definition of reality as you are likely to find.
     Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan Life (1978)


Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.
     John Lennon


I write of things which I have neither seen nor suffered nor learned from another, things which are not and never could have been, and therefore my readers should by no means believe them.
     Lucian of Samosata


We can all be comforted by the thought that he's not really gone — that there's a little Tuttle left in all of us. In fact, you might say that all of us made up Tuttle.
     Hawkeye's eulogy for the (fictional) Captain Tuttle in
     MASH (TV series, CBS, 1972-1983) "Tuttle"


We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.
     Iris Murdoch, interview, 1932


People who say things like “May all your dreams come true” should try living in one for five minutes.
     Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men (2003)


To distinguish the real from the unreal, one must experience them both.
     Raymond Smullyan, 5000 B.C. and Other Philosophical Fantasies (1983)


... when dreams become more important than reality, you give up travel, building, creating — you even forget how to repair the machines left behind by your ancestors.
     Vina, "The Cage"/"The Menagerie"
     STAR TREK:  The Original Series


She has an illusion, and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant.
     The Keeper, "The Cage"/"The Menagerie"
     STAR TREK:  The Original Series


This isn't reality — this is fantasy.
     Uhura in STAR TREK III The Search for Spock


[Guinan and Data are standing in front of the window in Ten-Forward, looking at the cloud patterns in the nebula.] It is interesting that people try to find meaningful patterns in things that are essentially random. I have noticed that the images they perceive sometimes suggest what they are thinking about at that particular moment. Besides, it is clearly a bunny rabbit.
     Data, "Imaginary Friend"
     STAR TREK The Next Generation


That’s the wonderful thing about crayons. They can take you more places than a starship.
     Guinan, "Rascals"
     STAR TREK The Next Generation


But who knows? Our reality may be very much like theirs, and all this might just be an elaborate simulation running inside a little device sitting on someone's table.
     Captain Picard, "Ship in a Bottle"
     STAR TREK The Next Generation


I have no use for fantasy adventure. I live the greatest adventure one could ever desire.
     Tosk, "Captive Pursuit"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


"I have no time for fantasies."
"No imagination, eh?"
"Waste of time. Too many people dream of places they’ll never go, wish for things they’ll never have instead of paying adequate attention to their real lives."
     Odo and Quark, "If Wishes Were Horses"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


There isn’t a problem in the world that can’t be fixed by the right holosuite program.
     Quark, "Playing God"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


"Anything worth doing in a holosuite can be done better in the real world."
"You obviously haven't been in the right holosuite program."
     Kira and Quark, "Second Skin"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


When your only reality is an illusion, then illusion is reality.
     The Clown, "The Thaw"
     STAR TREK:  Voyager


I believe in facing reality, but only because I don’t like turning my back on it.
     Bob Thaves, “Frank and Ernest” (comic strip, Jan 14, 2002)


Shams and delusions are esteemed for soundest truths, while reality is fabulous. If men would steadily observe realities only, and not allow themselves to be deluded, life, to compare it with such things as we know, would be like a fairy tale and the Arabian Nights' Entertainments.
     Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or, Life in the Woods (1854)


Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito's wing that falls on the rails. ... If the bell rings, why should we run? We will consider what kind of music they are like. Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, through church and state, through poetry and philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality, and say, This is, and no mistake ... Be it life or death, we crave only reality. If we are really dying, let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities; if we are alive, let us go about our business.
     Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or, Life in the Woods (1854)


Reality is nothing but a collective hunch.
     Lily Tomlin


Sometimes I feel like a figment of my own imagination.
     Lily Tomlin


Against a diseased imagination, demonstration goes for nothing.
     Mark Twain, "The Private History of a Campaign That Failed" (1885)


The human imagination is much more capable than it gets credit for. This is why Niagara is always a disappointment when one sees it for the first time. One's imagination has long ago built a Niagara to which this one is a poor dribbling thing. ... St. Peter's, Vesuvius, Heaven, Hell, everything that is much described is bound to be a disappointment at first experience.
     Mark Twain, Notebook, 1896


Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.
     Mark Twain, Following the Equator (1897)
     "Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar"


You can't depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus.
     Mark Twain, Notebook, 1898


I made some studies, and reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it. I can take it in small doses, but as a lifestyle I found it too confining.
     Jane Wagner


I refuse to be intimidated by reality anymore. After all, what is reality anyway? Nothin' but a collective hunch.
     Jane Wagner


Illusion is the first of all pleasures.
     Oscar Wilde


The basis of action is lack of imagination. It is the last resource of those who know not how to dream.
     Oscar Wilde



Farming and Gardening


Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from a cornfield.
     Dwight D. Eisenhower (speech, September 1956)


What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.
     Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fortune of the Republic (1878)


There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.
     Thomas Jefferson


Earth is so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest.
     Douglas William Jerrold


A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except learning how to grow in rows.
     Doug Larson


When you find that flowers will not endure a certain atmosphere, it is a very significant hint to the human creature to remove out of that neighborhood.
     Henry Mayhew


Around my house I'm known as the Black Thumb. I'm just one of those people, you know? The only way I could get anything to grow was to marry a botanist.
     O'Brien, "Paradise"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine



Fate, Destiny, Free Will, and Chaos


Destiny, n. A tyrant's authority for crime and a fool's excuse for failure.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


One possible reason why I don't believe in fate is that I wasn't fated to.
     Ashleigh Brilliant


It is the awareness of unfulfilled desires which gives a nation the feeling that it has a mission and a destiny.
     Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind (1954)


Though we chisel away as best we can at the mysterious block from which our life is made, the black vein of destiny continually reappears.
     Victor Hugo, Les Misérables (1862)


An intellect which at any given moment knew all the forces that animate Nature and the mutual positions of the beings that comprise it, if this intellect were vast enough to submit its data to analysis, could condense into a single formula the movement of the greatest bodies of the universe and that of the lightest atom: for such an intellect nothing could be uncertain, and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes.
     Pierre-Simon de Laplace, Analytic Theory of Probabilities (1812)


Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.
     Jawaharlal Nehru


One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it.
     French Proverb


If a man is destined to drown, he will drown even in a spoonful of water.
     Yiddish Proverb


All I can say is, fate shmate, and this was definitely shmate.
     Rita Rudner, Naked Beneath My Clothes:
     Tales of a Revealing Nature


There is no such thing as free will. The mind is induced to wish this or that by some cause and that cause is determined by another cause, and so on back to infinity.
     Baruch Spinoza, (1677)


For a good many centuries, human thought about nature has swung between two opposing points of view. According to one view, the universe obeys fixed, immutable laws, and everything exists in a well-defined objective reality. The opposing view is that there is no such thing as objective reality; that all is flux, all is change. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus put it, "You can't step into the same river twice." The rise of science has largely been governed by the first viewpoint. But there are increasing signs that the prevailing cultural background is starting to switch to the second — ways of thinking as diverse as postmodernism, cyberpunk, and chaos theory all blur the alleged objectiveness of reality and reopen the ageless debate about rigid laws and flexible change.
     Ian Stewart, Nature's Numbers: The Unreal
     Reality of Mathematics


... the fault in Laplace's vision lies not in his answer — that the universe is in principle predictable, which is an accurate statement of a particular mathematical feature of Newton's laws of motion — but in his interpretation of that fact, which is a serious misunderstanding based on asking the wrong question. By asking a more appropriate question, mathematicians and physicists have now come to understand that determinism and predictability are not synonymous.
     Ian Stewart, Nature's Numbers: The Unreal
     Reality of Mathematics


Anything truly regular is by definition fairly predictable. But sensitivity to initial conditions renders behavior unpredictable — hence irregular. For this reason, a system that displays sensitivity to initial conditions is said to be chaotic. Chaotic behavior obeys deterministic laws, but it is so irregular that to the untrained eye it looks pretty much random. Chaos is not just complicated, patternless behavior; it is far more subtle. Chaos is apparently complicated, apparently patternless behavior that actually has a simple, deterministic explanation.
     Ian Stewart, Nature's Numbers: The Unreal
     Reality of Mathematics


The discovery of chaos has revealed a fundamental misunderstanding in our views of the relation between rules and the behavior they produce — between cause and effect. We used to think that deterministic causes must produce regular effects, but now we see that they can produce highly irregular effects that can easily be mistaken for randomness. We used to think that simple causes must produce simple effects (implying that complex effects must have complex causes), but now we know that simple causes can produce complex effects. We realize that knowing the rules is not the same as being able to predict future behavior.
     Ian Stewart, Nature's Numbers: The Unreal
     Reality of Mathematics


Chaos teaches us that systems obeying simple rules can behave in surprisingly complicated ways. There are important lessons here for everybody — managers who imagine that tightly controlled companies will automatically run smoothly, politicians who think that legislating against a problem will automatically eliminate it, and scientists who imagine that once they have modeled a system their work is complete. But the world cannot be totally chaotic, otherwise we would not be able to survive in it. In fact, one of the reasons that chaos was not discovered sooner is that in many ways our world is simple. That simplicity tends to disappear when we look below the surface, but on the surface it is still there.
     Ian Stewart, Nature's Numbers: The Unreal
     Reality of Mathematics


There is this trouble about special providences — namely, there is so often a doubt as to which party was intended to be the beneficiary. In the case of the children, the bears, and the prophet, the bears got more real satisfaction out of the episode than the prophet did, because they got the children.
     Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894)
     "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar"


"Oh, everythying's ordered, when a person has to find some way out when he has been stupid."
     Mary Richards in Mark, Twain, "The Man
     That Corrupted Hadleyburg" (1899)


Predestination was doomed from the start.





Tell us your phobias and we will tell you what you are afraid of.
     Robert Benchley, quoted in Robert E. Drennan (ed.),
     The Algonquin Wits (1985)


I don't have a fear of heights. I do, however, have a fear of falling from heights.
     George Carlin, Napalm & Silly Putty (2001)


Fear to do ill, and you need fear nought else.
     Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Quotations (1975)


Scariest sentence in the English language: "We'll be in the air momentarily."
     Pieter Hazewindus


I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
     Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear in Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)


Luposlipaphobia: The fear of being pursued by timber wolves around a kitchen table while wearing socks on a newly waxed floor.
     Gary Larson, "The Far Side" (cartoon)


The man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears.
     Michel de Montaigne


Many a man will have the courage to die gallantly, but will not have the courage to say, or even to think, that the cause for which he is asked to die is an unworthy one. Obloquy is, to most men, more painful than death; that is one reason why, in times of collective excitement, so few men venture to dissent from the prevailing opinion.
     Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays (1950)
     "An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish"


Only a fool has no fear.
     Worf, "Coming of Age"
     STAR TREK:  The Next Generation


We're all very good at conjuring up enough fear to justify whatever we want to do.
     Vedek Bereil, "In the Hands of the Prophets"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


In the end, it's your fear that will destroy you.
     Shapeshifter, "Paradise Lost (Part 2 of 2)"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


There is no greater enemy that one's own fears.
     Martok, "By Inferno's Light (Part 2 of 2)"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


We often fear what we do not understand. Our best defence is knowledge.
     Tuvok, "Innocence"
     STAR TREK:  Voyager


Nothing is so much to be feared as fear.
     Henry David Thoreau, Journal (1906)


A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths.
     Steven Wright


Even snakes are afraid of snakes.
     Steven Wright



Fighting Each Other


"Out," he said. People who can supply that amount of firepower don't need to supply verbs as well.
     Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980)


Number Two's eyes narrowed and became what are known in the Shouting and Killing People trade as cold slits, the idea presumably being to give your opponent the impression that you have lost your glasses or are having difficulty keeping awake. Why this is frightening is an, as yet, unresolved problem.
     Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980)


For instance, there was once an insanely aggressive race of people called the Silastic Armorfiends of Striterax. That was just the name of their race. The name of their army was something quite horrific. ... The best way to pick a fight with the Silastic Armorfiends of Striterax was just to be born. They didn't like it, they got resentful. And when an Armorfiend got resentful, someone got hurt. An exhausting way of life, one might think, but they did seem to have an awful lot of energy. The best way of dealing with a Silastic Armorfiend was to put him in a room on his own, because sooner or later he would simply beat himself up.
     Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe, and Everything (1982)


I believe that all citizens should have the weapons of their choice. However, I also believe that only I should have ammunition. Because frankly, I wouldn't trust the rest of you goobers with anything more dangerous than string.
     Dogbert in Scott Adams, Fugitive from 
     the Cubicle Police
("Dilbert," 1996)


In the event of war, I'm a hostage.
     Woody Allen, Annie Hall (with Marshall Brickman, movie, 1977)


Human war has been the most successful of our cultural traditions.
     Robert Ardrey


[John] Dalton's records, carefully preserved for a century, were destroyed during the World War II bombing of Manchester. It is not only the living who are killed in war.
     Isaac Asimov


The War Office kept three sets of figures: one to mislead the public, another to mislead the Cabinet, and the third to mislead itself. [Referring to World War I]
     Herbert Asquith


If it's natural to kill, why do men have to go into training to learn to do it?
     Joan Baez, attributed


Nonviolence is a flop. The only bigger flop is violence.
     Joan Baez, London Observer (1967)


The world is a madhouse, so it's only right that it is patrolled by armed idiots.
     Brendan Behan


The last century was the bloodiest century, but it was beaten by the first half of the present one, which in its terror was outdone by the first twenty-five years of the remaining half..
     Ambrose Bierce, "Peace on Earth" (Wasp, 1885)


Cannon, n. An instrument employed in the rectification of national boundaries.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


Controversy, n. A battle in which spittle or ink replaces the injurious cannonball and the inconsiderate bayonet.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


Gunpowder, n. An agency employed by civilized nations for the settlement of disputes which might become troublesome if left unadjusted.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


Lead, n. A heavy blue-gray metal much used in giving stability to light lovers — particularly to those who love not wisely but other men's wives. Lead is also of great service as a counterpoise to an argument of such weight that it turns the scale of debate the wrong way. An interesting fact in the chemistry of international controversy is that at the point of contact of two patriotisms lead is precipitated in great quantities.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


Peace, n. In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


Ultimatum, n. In diplomacy, a last demand before resorting to concessions.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


War, n. A by-product of the arts of peace.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


Not until you have a son who is a certain age do you realize why it is that old men start wars and send young men off to fight them.
     Roy Blount, Jr., First Hubby (1990)


Some people can find all the peace of mind they need in a good, satisfying conflict.
     Ashleigh Brilliant


In one sense, I have always felt glad to have had the war [World War II] in my childhood, because, as a result, nothing that has happened in the world since then has ever seemed quite so bad. On the other hand, I never entirely got over my feeling of being cheated when the promised era of peace in a wonderful "post-war world" failed to materialize. I could not understand how, after all that, people could ever even think of fighting again. And I still can't.
     Ashleigh Brilliant, Be a Good Neighbor, and Leave Me Alone (1992)


Our bombs are incredibly smart. In fact, our bombs are better educated than the average high school graduate. At least they can find Kuwait.
     A. Whitney Brown


France is the only major power ever to lose a war with Greenpeace.
     A. Whitney Brown, quoted approximately from Saturday Night Live


I have always thought the nuclear threat was blown way out of proportion. I have a feeling our descendants are going to look back at all this nuclear hysteria from the bottom of their toxic-waste dumps and laugh their feelers off. Philosophically, I would much rather die in a nuclear holocaust along with three or four hundred million of my fellow world citizens than die alone in the gutter from some chemical-induced cancer. I suppose that's because I'm basically a people person.
     A. Whitney Brown, The Big Picture: 
     An American Commentary


It has been said that war is obsolete now that we have nuclear weapons. This is true in much the same sense that knives and chopping boards are obsolete now that we have Cuisinarts.
     A. Whitney Brown, The Big Picture: 
     An American Commentary


When a war breaks out, people say, "It's too stupid; it can't last long." But though a war may well be "too stupid," that doesn't prevent its lasting. Stupidity has a knack of getting its way.
     Albert Camus, The Plague


The very existence of flame-throwers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done.'
     George Carlin


There were no televisions or movies during the Crusades or the Inquisition. Nazism wasn't affected by it or the Civil War or the First World War or the Wild West. The violence in this culture comes out of the people; it doesn't come out of their entertainment.
     George Carlin, quoted by Diane Holloway, "Broadcasters 
     differ with politicians on TV violence" 
     (Austin American Statesman, January 24, 1994)


Long before there were movies and television, Americans killed millions of Indians, enslaved millions of blacks, slaughtered 700,000 of each other in a family feud, and attained the highest murder rate in history. Don't blame Sylvester Stallone. We brought these horrifying genes with us from Europe, and then we gave them our own special twist. American know-how!
     George Carlin, Brain Droppings (1997)


You know, folks, if this old world had any imagination, wars would be fought without codes and conventions, alley fighting would be standard, and the only rules in sports would govern the uniforms. Then we'd have some real fun.
     But I fear that doesn't suit you, and so I return to the notion that produced these thoughts in the first place: You people shouldn't be fighting at all.
     George Carlin, Brain Droppings (1997)


There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result.
     Winston Churchill


Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.
     Georges Clemenceau


War is too important to be left to the military.
     Georges Clemenceau, attributed


He is known as Alexander the Great because he killed more people of more different kinds than any other man of his time. He did this in order to impress Greek culture upon them.
     Will Cuppy, The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody


The World War after the next one will be fought with rocks.
     Albert Einstein, quoted in Banesh Hoffman, 
     Albert Einstein, Creator and Rebel (1972)


I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.
     Dwight D. Eisenhower


Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in a final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed — those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone — it is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
     Dwight David Eisenhower, Speech, American Society 
     of Newspaper Editors (April 16, 1953)


War is delightful to those who have not experienced it.
     Desiderius Erasmus


There never was a good war or a bad peace.
     Benjamin Franklin, letter to Josiah Quincy (September 11, 1783)


The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.
     David Friedman


"A knife! He's got a knife!"
     "Of course he has a knife, he always has a knife, we all have knives! It's 1183 and we're all barbarians."
     John (Nigel Terry) and Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn)
     James Goldman, The Lion in Winter (movie, 1968)


I never heard a corpse complain of how it got so cold.
     Richard (Anthony Hopkins)
     James Goldman, The Lion in Winter (movie, 1968)


When I lost my rifle, the Army charged me eighty-five dollars. That's why in the Navy the captain goes down with the ship.
     Dick Gregory


Frankly, I'd like to see the government get out of war altogether and leave the whole field to private individuals.
     Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1955)


We seem to have a compulsion these days to bury time capsules in order to give those people living in the next century or so some idea of what we are like. I have prepared one of my own. I have placed some rather large samples of dynamite, gunpowder, and nitroglycerin. My time capsule is set to go off in the year 3000. If will show them what we are really like.
     Alfred Hitchcock


Those who proclaim the brotherhood of men fight every war as if it were a civil war.
     Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind (1954)


So long a men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will arise to make them miserable.
     Aldous Huxley


The first casualty when war comes is truth.
     Hiram Johnson


Every social war is a battle between the very few on both sides who care and who fire their shots across a crowd of spectators.
     Murray Kempton, Part of Our Time (1955)


Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.
     John Fitzgerald Kennedy


     "Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenceau once said about war?"
     "No, I don't think I do, sir, no."
     "He said war was too important to be left to the generals. When he said that, fifty years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids."
          General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) and
               Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers)
          Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern, and Peter George
          Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop
          Worrying and Love the Bomb
(movie, 1964)


Now then, Dmitri, you know how we've always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the Bomb. The Bomb, Dmitri. The hydrogen bomb. Well now, what happened is, ah, one of our base commanders, he had a sort of — well, he went a little funny in the head. You know, just a little — funny. And, ah, he went and did a silly thing. Well, I'll tell you what he did. He ordered his planes — to attack your country. Well, let me finish, Dmitri. Let me finish, Dmitri. Well listen, how do you think I feel about it? Can you imagine how I feel about it, Dmitri? Why do you think I'm calling you? Just to say hello? Of course I like to speak to you! Of course I like to say hello! Not now, but anytime, Dmitri. I'm just calling up to tell you something terrible has happened. It's a friendly call. Of course it's a friendly call. Listen, if it wasn't friendly, you probably wouldn't have even got it. ... I'm sorry, too, Dmitri. I'm very sorry. All right, you're sorrier than I am, but I am as sorry as well. I am as sorry as you are, Dmitri! Don't say that you're more sorry than I am, because I'm capable of being just as sorry as you are. So we're both sorry, all right? All right.
          President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers) to
               Soviet Premier Kissoff over the phone
          Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern, and Peter George
          Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop
          Worrying and Love the Bomb
(movie, 1964)


Fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face.
     General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden)
     Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern, and Peter George
     Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop
     Worrying and Love the Bomb
(movie, 1964)


Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!
     President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers)
     Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern, and Peter George
     Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop
     Worrying and Love the Bomb
(movie, 1964)


     "Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you keep it a secret! Why didn't you tell the world?"
     "It was to be announced at the Party Congress on Monday. As you know, the Premier loves surprises."
          Dr. Strangelove (Peter Sellers) and Russian
               Ambassador de Sadesky (Peter Bull)
          Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern, and Peter George
          Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop
          Worrying and Love the Bomb
(movie, 1964)


     "Colonel! Colonel, I must know what you think has been going on here!"
     "You wanna know what I think?"
     "I think you're some kind of deviated prevert. I think General Ripper found out about your preversion, and that you were organizing some kind of mutiny of preverts. Now move!"
          Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) and
               Colonel "Bat" Guano (Keenan Wynn)
          Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern, and Peter George
          Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop
          Worrying and Love the Bomb
(movie, 1964)


     "Colonel — that Coca-Cola machine. I want you to shoot the lock off it. There may be some change in there."
     "That's private property."
     "Colonel! Can you possibly imagine what is going to happen to you, your frame, outlook, way of life, and everything, when they learn that you have obstructed a telephone call to the President of the United States? Can you imagine? Shoot it off! Shoot! With a gun! That's what the bullets are for, you twit!"
     "Okay. I'm gonna get your money for ya. But if you don't get the President of the United States on that phone, you know what's gonna happen to you?"
     "You're gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company."
          Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) and
               Colonel "Bat" Guano (Keenan Wynn)
          Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern, and Peter George
          Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop
          Worrying and Love the Bomb
(movie, 1964)


In a war of ideas it is people who get killed.
     Stanislaw Lec


The face of the enemy frightens me only when I see how much it resembles mine.
     Stanislaw Jerzy Lec


You’re a brave man. Go and break through the lines. And remember, while you’re out there risking life and limb through shot and shell, we’ll be in be in here thinking what a sucker you are.
     Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) in
          The Marx Brothers, Duck Soup (movie, 1933)


Pentagon: Four walls and a spare, monument to Murphy's Law.
     Colonel Potter in M*A*S*H


     "Where's your gun?"
     "Sulking under my cot. We're not on speaking terms."
     "Go kiss and make up. You're taking it with you."
     "Colonel, if I touch that gun, I'll just trigger another argument."
     "Pierce, you're taking your sidearm!"
     "Correct. I'm taking along my right side arm and my left side arm."
          Col. Potter (Harry Morgan) and Hawkeye
               (Alan Alda), "Hawkeye Get your Gun"
          M*A*S*H (TV series, CBS, 1972-1983)


     "I said fire that weapon!"
     "All right. (to the gun) You're fired. (to Potter) I did it as gently as I could."
     "That was an order, Pierce."
     "Oh waiter, would you take this man's order, please?"
          Col. Potter (Harry Morgan) and Hawkeye
               (Alan Alda), "Hawkeye Get your Gun"
          M*A*S*H (TV series, CBS, 1972-1983)


I will not carry a gun, Frank. When I got into this war I had a very clear understanding with the Pentagon. No guns. I'll carry your books, I'll carry a torch, I'll carry a tune, I'll carry on, carry over, carry forward, Cary Grant, cash and carry, carry me back to old Virginie, I'll even hari-kari if you show me how, but I will not carry a gun!
     Hawkeye (Alan Alda), "Officer of the Day"
     M*A*S*H (TV series, CBS, 1972-1983)


Don't forget this is your first day at school. The worst part is you'll get used to all of this.
     Hawkeye (Alan Alda)  to newly-arrived
          B.J. Hunnicut (Mike Farrell), "Welcome to Korea"
     M*A*S*H (TV series, CBS, 1972-1983)


I went around the world last year and you want to know something? It hates each other.
     Edward J. Mannix


Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms.
     Groucho Marx


The quickest way to end a war is to lose it.
     George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant (1950)


The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.
     General George Patton


“T’dr’duzk b’hazg t’t!” [said Cheri]
     “Oh, no!” moaned Carrot.  “Not that one!” ...
     “What did she yell?” Angua said, as she pulled Carrot out of the way.
     “It’s the most menacing dwarf battle-cry there is!  Once it’s been shouted someone has to be killed!”
     “What’s it mean?”
     “Today Is A Good Day For Someone Else To Die!”
          Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay (1996)


“Gentlemen, please,” said the Patrician. He shook his head. “Let’s have no fighting, please. This is, after all, a council of war.”
     Terry Pratchett, Jingo (1997)


You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.
     Jeannette Rankin


Quarrels would not last long were the wrong all on one side.
     François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, 
     The Maxims (translated by Louis Kronenberger, 1936)


A great many people enjoy a war provided it's not in their neighborhood.
     Bertrand Russell


People who are vigorous and brutal often find war enjoyable, provided that it is a victorious war and that there is not too much interference with rape and plunder. This is a great help in persuading people that wars are righteous.
     Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays (1950)
     "Ideas That Have Harmed Mankind" (1946)


It is good to know that God is on our side, but a little confusing when you find the enemy equally convinced of the opposite.
     Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays (1950)
     "Ideas That Have Harmed Mankind" (1946)


Since barbarism has its pleasures it naturally has its apologists.
     George Santayana, The Life of Reason (1905)


There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell. You can bear this warning voice to generations yet to come. I look upon war with horror.
     General William Tecumseh Sherman, Speech, Grand Army of 
     the Republic convention, Columbus, Ohio (August 11, 1880)


"Sir, are we gonna let it just hold us up here? We've got phaser weapons; I vote we blast it!"
"I'll keep that in mind, Mr. Bailey, when this becomes a democracy."
     Lt. Bailey and Captain Kirk, "The Corbomite Maneuver"
     STAR TREK:  The Original Series


Death, destruction, disease, horror — that's what war's all about, Anon. That's what makes it a thing to be avoided. You've made it neat and painless. So neat and painless that you've had no reason to stop it.
     Captain Kirk, "A Taste of Armageddon"
     STAR TREK:  The Original Series


We're human beings, with the blood of a million savage years on our hands. But we can stop it. We can admit that we're killers, but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes — knowing that we're not going to kill, today.
     Captain Kirk, "A Taste of Armageddon"
     STAR TREK:  The Original Series


"Well, there it is — war. We didn't want it, but we've got it."
"Curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want."
     Kirk and Spock, "Errand of Mercy"
     STAR TREK:  The Original Series


Today, we conquer; if someday we are defeated — well, war has its fortunes.
     Kor, "Errand of Mercy"
     STAR TREK:  The Original Series


"Well, Commander, I guess that takes care of the war. Obviously, the Organians aren't going to let us fight."
"A shame, Captain. I would have been glorious."
     Kirk and Kor, "Errand of Mercy"
     STAR TREK:  The Original Series


Military secrets are the most fleeting of all.
     Spock, "The Enterprise Incident"
     STAR TREK:  The Original Series


For the present, only a fool fights in a burning house.
     Kang, "The Day of the Dove"
     STAR TREK:  The Original Series


SPOCK: All that matters to them is their hate.
UHURA: Do you suppose that's all they ever had, sir?
KIRK: No. But that's all they have left.
     "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield"
     STAR TREK:  The Original Series


In space, all warriors are cold warriors.
     General Chang, STAR TREK VI The Undiscovered Country


Welcome to Minos, the Arsenal of Freedom. ... Where we live by the motto, "Peace through superior firepower." ... To be totally armed is to be totally secure. Remember: The early bird that hesitates, get wormed!
     Holographic Salesman, "The Arsenal of Freedom"
     STAR TREK:  The Next Generation


Brinkmanship is a dangerous game.
     Captain Picard, "The Enemy"
     STAR TREK:  The Next Generation


Peace is good for trade — unless you happen to be an arms merchant.
     Par Lenor (a Ferengi), "The Perfect Mate"
     STAR TREK:  The Next Generation


"Maximum setting. If you'd fired this, you would have vaporized me."
"It's my first ray gun."
     Picard and Lily Sloan, STAR TREK First Contact


When you take someone's life, you lose a part of your own as well.
     Kira, "Blood Oath"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


You're trying to be a hero. Terrorists don't get to be heroes.
     Kira, "Defiant"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


"And as the 34th Rule of Acquisition states, 'Peace is good for business.'"
"That's the 35th Rule."
"Oh, you're right. What's the 34th?"
"'War is good for business.' It's easy to get them confused."
     Dax and Quark, "Destiny"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


"That doesn't sound very honorable to me."
"In war there is nothing more honorable than victory."
     Bashir and Worf, "The Way of the Warrior"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


I should have listened to my cousin Gayla. He said to me, "Quark, I've got one word for you — weapons. No one ever went broke selling weapons." But did I take his advice? No. And why not? Because I'm a people person.
     Quark, "The Way of the Warrior"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


"Did you see the look on the face of that Klingon that I killed? It was as if he understood the honor of the sword upon him: the first man in a thousand years to be killed by the Sword of Kahless."
"I'm sure he was very proud."
     Kor and Dax, "The Sword of Kahless"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


OMET'IKLAN: I am First Omet'iklan, and I am dead. As of this moment, we are all dead. We go into battle to reclaim our lives. This we do gladly, for we are Jem'Hadar. Remember, victory is life.
JEM'HADAR SOLDIERS: Victory is life. (The Jem'Hadar file out.)
WEYOUN: Such a delightful people.
O'BRIEN: (to the Federation troops) I am Chief Miles Edward O'Brien — I'm very much alive, and I intend to stay that way. (they all chuckle)
SISKO: Amen. Let's get it done.
     "To the Death"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


Weapons are a growth industry.
     Gayla, "Business As Usual"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


... a true victory is to make your enemy see they were wrong to oppose you in the first place. To force them to acknowledge your greatness.
     Gul Dukat, "Sacrifice of Angels"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


"What are you trying to do — cheer me up?"
"It's my job. Remember the 34th Rule of Acquisition: 'War is good for business.'"
"Only from a distance. The closer you are to the front lines, the less profitable it gets."
     Quark and Dax, "The Siege of AR-558"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


I wish it were as easy to stop hating as it was to start.
     Chakotay, "Nemesis"
     STAR TREK:  Voyager


They have two settings: stun and kill. It would be best not to confuse them.
     Malcolm Reed, describing the new 
     phase pistols, "Broken Bow"


"You really enjoy [having people shoot at us], don't you?"
"If you must know, I much prefer the shooting back part."
     Tucker and Reed, "Fallen Hero"


Where they make a desert, they call it peace.
     Tacitus, Agricola (c. A.D. 100)


It is impossible to give a soldier a good education without making him a deserter. His natural foe is the government that drills him.
     Henry David Thoreau


"War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend: the city of the men of Númenor; and I would have her loved for her memory, her ancientry, her beauty, and her present wisdom. Not feared, save as men may fear the dignity of a man, old and wise."
     Faramir in J. R. R. Tolkien, The Two Towers (1955)


If the bubble reputation can be obtained only at the cannon's mouth, I am willing to go there for it, provided the cannon is empty. If it is loaded my immortal and inflexible purpose is to get over the fence and go home. My invariable practice in war has been to bring out of every fight two-thirds more men than when I went in. This seems to me to be Napoleonic in its grandeur.
     Mark Twain, "A Presidential Candidate" (1879)


A wanton waste of projectiles.
     Mark Twain, "The Art of War" (speech, 1881)


... war talk by men who have been in a war is always interesting; whereas moon talk by a poet who has not been in the moon is likely to be dull.
     Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)


... when I retired from the rebel army in '61 I retired upon Louisiana in good order; at least in good enough order for a person who had not yet learned how to retreat according to the rules of war, and had to trust to native genius. It seemed to me that for a first attempt at a retreat it was not badly done. I had done no advancing in all that campaign that was at all equal to it.
     Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)


There was more Bull Run material scattered through the early camps of this country than exhibited itself at Bull Run. And yet it learned its trade presently, and helped to fight the great battles later. I could have become a soldier myself, if I had waited. I had got part of it learned; I knew more about retreating than the man that invented retreating.
     Mark Twain, "The Private History of a Campaign That Failed" (1885)


He was prouder of being wounded than a really modest person would be of being killed.
     Mark Twain, The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896)


First catch your Boer, then kick him.
     Mark Twain, Following the Equator (1897)
     "Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar"


[When the Czar of Russia proposed a plan for world disarmament, William T. Stead, of the Review of Reviews, cabled Clemens for his opinion on the matter.] Dear Mr. Stead: The Tsar is ready to disarm. I am ready to disarm. Collect the others; it should not be much of a task now.
     Mark Twain, letter to William T. Stead (Vienna, January 9, 1899)


I notice that God is on both sides in this war; thus history repeats itself. But I am the only person who has noticed this; everybody here thinks He is playing the game for this side, and for this side only.
     Mark Twain, letter to William Dean Howells 
     (London, January 25-26, 1900)


General Grant paid me compliments. He bracketed me with Zenophon — it is there in his Memoirs for anybody to read. He said if all the Confederate soldiers had followed my example and adopted my military arts he could never have caught enough of them in a bunch to inconvenience the Rebellion. General Grant was a fair man and recognized my worth.
     Mark Twain, letter to General O. O. Howard 
     (Stormfield, January 12, 1909)


But they had no use for boys of twelve and thirteen, and before I had a chance in another war, the desire to kill people to whom I had not been introduced had passed away.
     Mark Twain, Albert Bigelow Paine (ed.), 
     Mark Twain's Autobiography (1924)


By and by when each nation has 20,000 battleships and 5,000,000 soldiers we shall all be safe and the wisdom of statesmanship will stand confirmed.
     Mark Twain, More Maxims of Mark (Merle Johnson, ed., 1927)


If we had less statesmanship we could get along with fewer battleships.
     Mark Twain, More Maxims of Mark (Merle Johnson, ed., 1927)


It is sound statesmanship to add two battleships every time our neighbor adds one and two stories to our skyscrapers every time he piles a new one on top of his to threaten our light. There is no limit to this soundness but the sky.
     Mark Twain, More Maxims of Mark (Merle Johnson, ed., 1927)


... the idea is that these formidable new war-inventions will make war impossible by and by — but I doubt it. Man was created a bloody animal and I think he will always thirst for blood and will manage to have it. I think he is far and away the worst animal that exists; and the only untamable one.
     Mark Twain, Clara Clemens, My Father, Mark Twain (1931)


Don't think of it as being outnumbered, think of it as a wide target selection.


God is always on the side of the heaviest battalions.
     Voltaire, letter to M. de Riche


No plan survives contact with the enemy.
     Field-Marshal Helmuth Carl Bernard Von Moltke


'Sorry about that,' as they used to say in the Vietnam War.
     Kurt Vonnegut, Palm Sunday (1981)
     Graduation speech at Fredonia College, 
     Fredonia, New York (May 20, 1978)


If there really had been a Mercutio, and if there really were a Paradise, Mercutio might be hanging out with teenage Vietnam draftee casualties now, talking about what it felt like to die for other people's vanity and foolishness.
     Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus (1990)


The proper way to commemorate any war would be to paint ourselves blue and roll in the mud and grunt like pigs.
     Kurt Vonnegut, Fates Worse Than Death: 
     An Autobiographical Collage


Before a war military science seems a real science, like astronomy; but after a war it seems more like astrology.
     Rebecca West


The time not to become a father is eighteen years before a world war.
     E. B. White, The Second Tree from the Corner (1954, 1984)
     "Answers to Hard Questions"


The deliberate aim at Peace very easily passes into its bastard substitute, Anesthesia.
     Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas (1933)


As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.
     Oscar Wilde, "The Critic as Artist" (1890)


Stern, if this factory ever produces a shell that can actually be fired, I’ll be very unhappy.
     Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) in Steven Zaillian, Schindler’s List (movie, 1993)
          based on the book by Thomas Keneally


There will be no nuclear war. There's too much real estate involved.
     Frank Zappa



Food and Drink


Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
     Woody Allen, Without Feathers (1975)
     "The Early Essays"


When I buy cookies I eat just four and throw the rest away. But first I spray them with Raid so I won’t dig them out of the garbage later. Be careful, though, because Raid really doesn’t taste that bad.
     Janette Barber


A fox, seeing some sour grapes hanging within an inch of his nose, and being unwilling that there was anything he would not eat, solemnly declared that they were out of his reach.
     Ambrose Bierce, Fantastic Fables (1898)
     "The Fox and the Grapes"


Fork, n. An instrument used chiefly for the purpose of putting dead animals into the mouth.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


Potable, n. Suitable for drinking. Water is said to be potable; indeed, some declare it our natural beverage, although even they find it palatable only when suffering from the recurrent disorder known as thirst, for which it is a medicine. Upon nothing has so great and diligent ingenuity been brought to bear in all ages and in all countries, except the most uncivilized, as upon the invention of substitutes for water. To hold that this general aversion to that liquid has no basis in the preservative instinct of the race is to be unscientific — and without science we are as the snakes and toads.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


It's not just a question of what they say,
But also of who is "they."
When cannibals speak of a gourmet dinner,
They mean that they ate a gourmet.
     Roy Blount, Jr., Not Exactly What I Had In Mind (1986)


You are what you eat, but eventually you become what eats you.
     Ashleigh Brilliant


I thought I could do my own small part to save the planet by becoming a vegetarian. Actually, I did it not so much because I love animals but because I hate plants. I still like to hunt, though. In fact, I've found that plants are a lot easier than animals to sneak up on.
     A. Whitney Brown, The Big Picture: 
     An American Commentary


I decided to clean out the refrigerator the other day. We don't normally clean out our fridge — we just box it up every four or five years and send it to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta with a note to help themselves to anything that looks scientifically promising — but we hadn't seen one of the cats in a few days and I had a vague recollection of having glimpsed something furry on the bottom shelf, toward the back. (Turned out to be a large piece of gorgonzola.)
     Bill Bryson


Food, one assumes, provides nourishment; but Americans eat it fully aware that small amounts of poison have been added to improve its appearance and delay its putrefaction.
     John Cage


Leftovers give you two separate good feelings. When you first put them away you feel really intelligent. "I'm saving food." And then after a month, when hair is growing out of them, and you throw them away, you feel really intelligent. "I'm saving my life."
     George Carlin, "A Place For My Stuff" (HBO, 1981)


There are certain clues that tell you how much a restaurant will cost. If the word cuisine appears in the advertising, it will be expensive. If they use the word food, it will be moderately priced. However, if the sign says eats, even though you'll save some money on food, your medical bills may be quite high.
     George Carlin, Brain Droppings (1997)


I was expelled from cooking school, and it left a bad taste in my mouth.
     George Carlin, Brain Droppings (1997)


I never eat sushi. I have trouble eating things that are merely unconscious.
     George Carlin, Brain Droppings (1997)


People on a diet should have a salad dressing called "250 Islands."
     George Carlin, Napalm & Silly Putty (2001)


To me, fast food is when a cheetah eats an antelope.
     George Carlin, Brain Droppings (1997)


Is a vegetarian permitted to eat animals crackers?
     George Carlin, Brain Droppings (1997)


Botanists in England have developed a plant that may help solve the world's hunger problems. Although it has no food value of its own, when the plant reaches maturity it sneaks across the yard and steals food from the neighbors.
     George Carlin, Brain Droppings (1997)


Fermentation and Civilization are inseparable.
     John Ciardi


Most vegetarians look so much like the food they eat that they can be classified as cannibals.
     Finley Peter Dunne


Half of all home accidents happen in the kitchen, and the family has to eat them.
     Sam Ewing


If we are what we eat, why aren't we new, improved, fat-free, and light?
     Sam Ewing


'Twas a woman who drove me to drink, and I never had the courtesy to thank her for it.
     W. C. Fields


My husband says I feed him like he's a god; every meal is a burnt offering.
     Rhonda Hansome


"Too lavish," says I. "I've traveled, and I'm unprejudiced. There'll never be a perfect breakfast eaten until some man grows arms long enough to stretch down to New Orleans for his coffee and over to Norfolk for his rolls, and reaches up to Vermont and digs a slice of butter out of a spring-house, and then turns over a beehive close to a white clover patch out in Indiana for the rest. Then he'd come pretty close to making a meal on the amber that the gods eat on Mount Olympia."
     O. Henry, "Hostages to Momus"
     The Gentle Grafter (1908)


A cucumber should be well-sliced, dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing.
     Samuel Johnson


Herbert Bayard Swope, who had a penchant for dining at odd hours, called G.S.K. one evening at 9:30 and asked, "What are you doing for dinner tonight?"  "I'm digesting it," Kaufman replied.
     George S. Kaufman, quoted in Robert E. Drennan (ed.), 
     The Algonquin Wits (1985)


Food is an important part of a balanced diet.
     Fran Lebowitz


Large, naked, raw carrots are acceptable as food only to those who live in hutches eagerly awaiting Easter.
     Fran Lebowitz


"What is your favorite animal?" Steak.
     Fran Lebowitz


Breakfast cereals that come in the same colors as polyester leisure suits make oversleeping a virtue.
     Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan Life (1978)
     "Food for Thought and Vice Versa"


People have been cooking and eating for thousands of years, so if you are the very first to have thought of adding fresh lime juice to scalloped potatoes try to understand that there must be a reason for this.
     Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan Life (1978)
     "Food for Thought and Vice Versa"


Vegetables are interesting but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat.
     Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan Life (1978)
     "Food for Thought and Vice Versa"


While it is undeniably true that people love a surprise, it is equally true that they are seldom pleased to suddenly and without warning happen upon a series of prunes in what they took to be a normal loin of pork.
     Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan Life (1978)
     "Food for Thought and Vice Versa"


Last night I had a typical cholesterol-free dinner: baked squash, skimmed milk, and gelatin. I'm sure this will not make me live any longer, but I know it's going to seem longer.
     Groucho Marx, Memoirs of a Mangy Lover (1963)


The fact is, that among his hunters at least, the whale would by all hands be considered a noble dish, were there not so much of him; but when you come to sit down before a meat-pie nearly one hundred feet long, it takes away your appetite.
     Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, or, The Whale (1851)


It is almost sure death to eat cucumbers and drink milk at the same meal.
     H. L. Mencken


Americans can eat garbage, provided you sprinkle it liberally with ketchup, mustard, chili sauce, Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper, or any other condiment which destroys the original flavor of the dish.
     Henry Miller


Most vegetables are something God invented to let women get even with their children. A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.
     P. J. O'Rourke


The only really good vegetable is Tabasco sauce. Put Tabasco sauce in everything.
     P. J. O'Rourke


One of the nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.
     Luciano Pavarotti


If it tastes good, it's trying to kill you.
     Roy Qualley


An onion can make people cry, but there’s never been a vegetable that can make people laugh.
     Will Rogers


How come when you mix water and flour together you get glue ... and then you add eggs and sugar and you get cake? Where does the glue go?
     Rita Rudner


I think my mother's cooking is one of the reasons my parents moved so slowly at night. She could make a race pudding that could sink a ship.
     Rita Rudner, Naked Beneath My Clothes: 
     Tales of a Revealing Nature


My husband and I agree that the kitchen is a place to walk through, not to linger.
     Rita Rudner, Naked Beneath My Clothes: 
     Tales of a Revealing Nature


I will never understand why they cook on TV. I can't smell it. Can't eat it. Can't taste it. The end of the show they hold it up to the camera, "Well, here it is. You can't have any. Thanks for watching. Goodbye."
     Jerry Seinfeld, SeinLanguage (1993)


There is no sincerer love than the love of food.
     George Bernard Shaw


Cured ham? No, thanks, pal. Cured of what? What if it has a relapse on my plate?
     Tommy Sledge


There is a toad in every social dish, however well they cook it.
     Logan Pearsall Smith, Afterthoughts (1931)


"I had a talk with your doctor, and he tells me that you haven't been in to see him in eight months."
"The man's an idiot. He's lived in New Orleans twenty years and can't tell the difference between Creole food and Cajun food."
     Benjamin Sisko and Joseph Sisko, "Homefront (Part 1 of 2)"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


     "So, has Neelix concocted anything interesting this morning?"
     "There's an ancient Chinese curse: 'May you live in interesting times.' Mealtime is always interesting now that Neelix is in the kitchen."
     Captain Janeway and Ensign Kim, "The Cloud"
     STAR TREK:  Voyager


Get the cheese to Sickbay. The Doctor should look at it as soon as possible.
     Torres, "Learning Curve"
     STAR TREK:  Voyager


     "What did you feed them, anyway?"
     "Rodeo Red's Sir Red Hot Rootin' Tootin' Chili. ... I've been brushing up on classic American cuisine. When we get back to Earth, I want to make sure I have marketable job skills. ... It's just a matter of perfecting the recipe. Next time I'll use a few less jalopy-no's."
     Paris and Neelix, "Message in a Bottle"
     STAR TREK:  Voyager


"I don't suppose scanning his taste buds would help?"
"Medically speaking, there's no accounting for taste."
     Sato and Dr. Phlox, discussing Reed's 
     (unknown) favorite food, "Silent Enemy"


He was a bold man that first eat an oyster.
     Jonathan Swift, Polite Conversation (1738)


I must be following my diet too closely. I keep gaining on it.
     Bob Thaves, "Frank and Ernest" (comic strip)


I found it a lot easier to eat sensibly once I remembered that taste is a sense.
     Bob Thaves, "Frank and Ernest" (comic strip, Mar 13, 2002)


It was a singular experience that long acquaintance which I cultivated with beans, what with planting, and hoeing, and harvesting, and threshing, and picking over, and selling them, — the last was the hardest of all, — I might add eating, for I did taste. I was determined to know beans.
     Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or, Life in the Woods (1854)
     "The Bean-Field"


Serve Coke or RC with meat; 7-Up or Sprite with fish, Dr. Pepper with game ...
     Calvin Trillin


Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody.
     Mark Twain, Notebook, 1866


Indians at dinner with whites. One ate spoonful of mustard; another one said: "What crying about?" "Thinking about the good old chief that died." Number two ate a spoonful of mustard — number one asked: "What you crying about?" "Thinking what a pity you didn't die when the old chief did."
     Mark Twain, Notebook, 1877


Photographs fade, bric-à-brac gets lost, busts of Wagner get broken, but once you absorb a Bayreuth-restaurant meal it is your possession and your property until the time comes to embalm the rest of you.
     Mark Twain, "At the Shrine of St. Wagner" (1891)


The true Southern watermelon is a boon apart, and not to be mentioned with commoner things. It is chief of this world's luxuries, king by the grace of God over all the fruits of the earth. When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat. It was not a Southern watermelon that Eve took; we know it because she repented.
     Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894)
     "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar"


Our was a reasonably comfortable ship, with the customary seagoing fare — plenty of good food furnished by the Deity and cooked by the Devil.
     Mark Twain, Following the Equator (1897)


In the matter of diet, which is another main thing, I have been persistently strict in sticking to the things which didn't agree with me until one or the other of us got the best of it. Until lately I got the best of it myself. But last spring I stopped frolicking with mince pie. Up to then I had always believed it wasn't loaded.
     Mark Twain, "Seventieth Birthday Dinner Speech" (speech, 1905)


At a dinner one night, finding himself the possessor of a mouthful of hot soup, he promptly turned his head and "out with it." He commented: "Some darn fools would have swallowed that."
     Mark Twain, Cyril Clemens (ed.), Mark Twain Anecdotes (1929)


To eat is human / To digest divine.
     Mark Twain, quoted in Robert Byrne (ed.), The 
     1,911 Best Things Anybody Ever Said


Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.
     Mark Twain, quoted in Jon Winokur (ed.), 
     Friendly Advice


Many of the myths about nutrition come from the notion that nature cares about us. Nature doesn't care about us at all. She'll wipe us out in a second if we lean too far over a canyon's edge or stand too close to the waves breaking along the shore. Nature's so-called foods grow and reproduce with little concern about human health and welfare. All an apple tree cares about is passing on its genetic information to another generation. Nature doesn't consider apples as food. If humans can eat the apples to survive, fine. If only other animals can digest apples, then that's fine, too. Most of what grows in the wild is inedible to humans, and some of it — such as half of all mushroom species — is deadly. Some plant foods are edible raw; others need to be cooked. Sometimes only certain parts of an edible plant can be eaten and other parts are poisonous. There's no consistency to nature's way. Nature has no intent, so there is no such concept as "the way nature intended it." Humans must take what they can get. If we ate only the food that nature has prepared for us "as is," as other animals do, we'd be dead.
     Christopher Wanjek, Bad Medicine: Misconceptions and Misuses 
     Revealed, from Distance Healing to Vitamin O (2003)


"It's broccoli, dear." "I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it."
     E. B. White, caption for cartoon by Carl Rose 
in The New Yorker (December 8, 1928)


In the kitchen cabinet is a bag of oranges for morning juice. Each orange is stamped "Color Added." The dyeing of an orange, to make it orange, is man's most impudent gesture to date. It is really an appalling piece of effrontery, carrying the clear implication that Nature doesn't know what she is up to.
     E. B. White, "On a Florida Key" (1941)
     Essays of E. B. White (1977)


At the all-you-can-eat barbecue, you have to pay the regular dinner price if you eat less than you can.
     Steven Wright


I bought some powdered water, but I don't know what to add to it.
     Steven Wright


I eat Swiss cheese from the inside out. But I only nibble on it. I make the holes bigger.
     Steven Wright


I got food poisoning today. I don't know when I'll use it.
     Steven Wright


I like candy canes; they're my favorite candy. But I only like the white part.
     Steven Wright


I made wine out of raisins so I wouldn't have to wait for it to age.
     Steven Wright


I went to a fancy French restaurant called "Déjà Vu." The headwaiter said, "Don't I know you?"
     Steven Wright


I went to a restaurant that serves "breakfast at any time". So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.
     Steven Wright


Last time I went to the movies I was thrown out for bringing my own food. My argument was that the concession stand prices are outrageous. Besides, I haven't had a barbecue in a long time.
     Steven Wright


There's a pizza place near where I live that sells only slices. In the back you can see a guy tossing a triangle in the air.
     Steven Wright



Avoid any diet that discourages the use of hot fudge.
     Don Kardong


Al I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!
     Lucy van Pelt in Charles M. Schulz, "Peanuts"


I never met a chocolate I didn't like.
     Deanna Troi, "The Game"
     STAR TREK:  The Next Generation


Chocolate is a serious thing.
     Deanna Troi, "The Game"
     STAR TREK:  The Next Generation


Coffee and Tea

This unearthly voice came and solved my problem for me — why someone should want to drink dried [tea] leaves in boiling water. Answer: Because he's an ignorant monkey who doesn't know better. Cute eh?
     Eddie the Shipboard Computer in Douglas Adams, 
     The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (radio program, 1977-1980)


If I can't drink my bowl of coffee three times daily, then in my torment I will shrivel up like a piece of roast goat.
     Lieschen in Johann Sebastian Bach, Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht (BWV 211),
     “Coffee Cantata” [libretto by Christian Friedrich Henrici]


Mm! how sweet the coffee tastes, more delicious than a thousand kisses, mellower than muscatel wine. Coffee, coffee I must have, and if someone wishes to give me a treat, ah, then pour me out some coffee!
     Lieschen in Johann Sebastian Bach, Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht (BWV 211),
     “Coffee Cantata” [libretto by Christian Friedrich Henrici]


Coffee is a great power in my life; I have observed its effects on an epic scale. . . . Many people claim coffee inspires them, but, as everybody knows, coffee only makes boring people even more boring.
     Honoré de Balzac, Traité des Excitants Modernes (1839)


If coffee didn't exist, somebody would have to invent it for me very soon.
     Ashleigh Brilliant


The Turks have a drink called Coffee (for they use no wine), so named of a berry as black as soot, and as bitter, (like that black drink which was in use amongst the Lacedaemonians, and perhaps the same), which they sip still off, and sup as warm as they can suffer; they spend much time in those Coffee-houses, which are somewhat like our Ale-houses or Taverns, and there they sit chatting and drinking to drive away the time, and to be merry together, because they find by experience that kind of drink so used helpeth digestion, and procureth alacrity.
     Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy (2nd ed., 1632)


What is it in man’s devious make-up that makes him round on the seemingly more wholesome and pleasurable aspects of his environment and suspect them of being causes of his misfortunes? Whatever it is, stimulants of all kinds (and especially coffee and caffeine) maintain a position high on the list of suspicion, despite a continuing lack of real evidence of any hazard to health.
     Editorial, British Medical Journal (1976, I:1031)


I have measured out my life in coffee spoons.
     T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”


It is disgusting to notice the increase in the quantity of coffee used by my subjects, and the amount of money that goes out of the country in consequence. Everybody is using coffee. If possible, this must be prevented. My people must drink beer. His Majesty was brought up on beer, and so were his ancestors, and his officers. Many battles have been fought and won by soldiers nourished on beer; and the King does not believe that coffee-drinking soldiers can be depended upon to endure hardship or to beat his enemies in case of the occurrence of another war.
     Frederick the Great, proclamation, September 13, 1777
     quoted in Bennett Alan Weinberg and Bonnie K. Bealer, The World of Caffeine (2001)


Coffee should be as black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.
     Christopher Fry


The voodoo priest and all his powders were as nothing compared to espresso, cappuccino, and mocha, which are stronger than all the religions of the world combines, and perhaps stronger than the human soul itself.
     Mark Helprin


The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.
     Oliver Wendell Holmes


Coffee was only a way of stealing time that should be rights belong to your slightly older self.
     Terry Pratchett, Thud! (2005)


I believe humans get a lot done, not because we’re smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee.
     Flash Rosenberg


I’ve taken up meditation. I like to have an espresso first to make it more challenging.
     Betsy Salkind


Tea, Earl Grey, hot.
     Jean-Luc Picard, ordering from the replicator, "Transfigurations"
     STAR TREK:  The Next Generation


Coffee can never be too hot.
     Jadzia Dax, "Nor the Battle to the Strong"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


I'd like to get my hands on that fellow Earl Grey and tell him a thing or two about tea leaves.
     Garak, "In Purgatory's Shadow (Part 1 of 2)"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


There's coffee in that nebula.
     Captain Janeway, "The Cloud"
     STAR TREK:  Voyager


Coffee — the finest organic suspension ever devised.
     Captain Janeway, "Hunters"
     STAR TREK:  Voyager


"Coffee, anyone? Captain?"
"No thanks, I've had enough. One more cup and I'll jump to warp."
     Neelix and Janeway, "Once Upon A Time"
     STAR TREK:  Voyager


Recipe for German Coffee: Take a barrel of water and bring it to a boil; rub a chicory berry against a coffee berry, then convey the former into the water. Continue the boiling and evaporation until the intensity of the flavor and aroma of the coffee and chicory has been diminished to a proper degree; then set aside to cool. Now unharness the remains of a once cow from the plough, insert them in a hydraulic press, and when you shall have acquired a teaspoonful of that pale blue juice which a German superstition regards as milk, modify the malignity of its strength in a bucket of tepid water and ring up the breakfast. Mix the beverage in a cold cup, partake with moderation, and keep a wet rag around your head to guard against over-excitement.
     Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad (1880)


Upon being told that coffee is a slow poison: It must be slow, for I have been drinking it for sixty-five years and I am not yet dead.


Twentieth-century scientific studies suggest that caffeine can increase vigilance, improve performance, especially of repetitive or boring tasks such as laboratory research, and increase stamina for both mental and physical work.
     Bennett Alan Weinberg and Bonnie K. Bealer, The World of Caffeine (2001)


Caffeine has played a part in medicine, religion, painting, poetry, learning, love, life, and death. It figures prominently in the accords and enmities and the exchanges of trade and intelligence that constitute the history and intercourse of nations; and it is also a vitalizing and nearly indispensable agent in the singular lives of the overwhelming majority of the world’s six billion people. Caffeine propels both idleness and industry. In the coffeehouse, it feeds idleness, whether it is the productive idleness of talk of politics, art, or social engagement or the useless or even inimical idleness of gaming and gossip; in the workplace it fuels the mental and physical stimulation that make possible long hours, punctuality, alertness, and alacrity; and in the studio, it stirs the artist’s imagination and creative energies. And it does these things with little or no harm to the prudent user. Of no other drug, nor any other agency known to man can we say the same.
     Bennett Alan Weinberg and Bonnie K. Bealer, The World of Caffeine (2001)


Smoking and Drinking

Drinking makes such fools of people, and people are such fools to begin with, that it's compounding a felony.
     Robert Benchley


If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking, and loving, you don’t actually live longer; it just seems longer.
     Clement Freud


Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
     Ernest Hemingway


Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and small people talk about wine.
     Fran Lebowitz


The chief reason for drinking is the desire to behave in a certain way, and to be able to blame it on alcohol.
     Mignon McLaughlin


Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life.
     George Bernard Shaw


To alcohol, the cause and solution to all of life’s problems.
     Homer Simpson in The Simpsons (TV series)


SCOTTY: (smashed) I found this on Ganyroon . . . mear . . . mede.
TOMAR: (equally smashed) What is it?
SCOTTY: It's, uh . . . (sniffs it) It's green.
     "By Any Other Name"
     STAR TREK:  The Original Series


Bourbon and beans — an explosive combination.
     Captain Kirk in STAR TREK V The Final Frontier


The Enterprise hosted Chancellor Gorkon and company to dinner last night. Our manners weren't exactly Emily Post. Note to the galley: Romulan ale no longer to be served at diplomatic functions.
     Captain Kirk in STAR TREK VI The Undiscovered Country


Less talk — more synthehol.
     Worf, "Transfigurations"
     STAR TREK:  The Next Generation


DATA: I believe Guinan does keep a limited supply of non-syntheholic products. Perhaps one of them would be to your liking. (Data pulls out a glass and a pale green bottle from behind the bar.)
SCOTTY: What is it?
DATA: It is . . . (sniffs it) It is . . . (sniffs again) It is green.
     STAR TREK:  The Next Generation


An alcoholic is someone you don't like who drinks as much as you do.
     Dylan Thomas


Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink — under any circumstances.
     Mark Twain, Notebook, 1866


Me, who never learned to smoke, but always smoked; me, who came into the world asking for a light.
     Mark Twain, "Concerning Tobacco" (1893?)


When men want drink, they'll have it in spite of all the laws ever passed; when they don't want it, no drink will be sold.
     Mark Twain, Notebook, 1895


... Scotch whisky. I ordered a sup of that, for I always take it at night as a preventive of toothache. I have never had the toothache; and what is more, I never intend to have it.
     Mark Twain, "Letters to Satan" (1897)


As for drinking, I have no rule about that. When the others drink I like to help. Otherwise I remain dry by habit and preference. This dryness does not hurt me, but it could easily hurt you, because you are different. You let it alone.
     Mark Twain, "Seventieth Birthday Dinner Speech" (speech, 1905)


I have made it a rule never to smoke more than one cigar at a time. I have no other restriction as regards smoking. I do not know just when I began to smoke, I only know that it was in my father's lifetime and that I was discreet. He passed from this life early in 1847 when I was a shade past eleven. Ever since then I have smoked publicly. As an example to others, and not that I care for moderation myself, it has always been by rule never to smoke when asleep and never to refrain when awake. It is a good rule. I mean for me. But some of you know quite well that it wouldn't answer for everybody that's trying to get to be seventy.
     Mark Twain, "Seventieth Birthday Dinner Speech" (speech, 1905)


I smoke in bed until I have to go to sleep. I wake up in the night, sometimes once, sometimes twice, sometimes three times, and I never waste any of these opportunities to smoke. ... I will grant here that I have stopped smoking now and then for a few months at a time but it was not on principle, it was only to show off. It was to pulverize those critics who said I was a slave to my habits and couldn't break my bonds.
     Mark Twain, "Seventieth Birthday Dinner Speech" (speech, 1905)


I have never bought cigars with life belts around them. I early found that those were too expensive for me. I have always bought cheap cigars — reasonably cheap, at any rate. Sixty years ago they cost me four dollars a barrel, but my taste has improved, latterly, and I pay seven now. Six or seven. Seven, I think. Yes, it's seven. But that includes the barrel. I often have smoking parties at my house; but the people that come have always just taken the pledge. I wonder why that is?
     Mark Twain, "Seventieth Birthday Dinner Speech" (speech, 1905)


To go quit smoking, when there ain't any sufficient excuse for it! — why, my old boy, when the used to tell me I would shorten my life ten years by smoking, they little knew the devotee they were wasting their puerile words upon; they little knew how trivial and valueless I would regard a decade that had no smoking in it! [from a letter to Joe Twichell]
     Mark Twain, Albert Bigelow Paine, 
     Mark Twain: A Biography (1912)


I had not smoked for three full months and no words can adequately describe the smoke appetite that was consuming me. I had been a smoker from my ninth year — a private one during the first two years, but a public one after that — that is to say, after my father's death. I was smoking and utterly happy before I was thirty steps from the lodge door. I do not now know what the brand of the cigar was. It was probably not choice, or the previous smoker would not have thrown it away so soon.
     Mark Twain, Albert Bigelow Paine (ed.), 
     Mark Twain's Autobiography (1924)


Taking the pledge will not make bad liquor good, but it will improve it.
     Mark Twain, More Maxims of Mark (Merle Johnson, ed., 1927)


Mind you, I have no objections to abstinence, as long as it does not harm anybody. I practice it myself, on occasion. I make it a rule never to smoke when asleep. Not that I care for moderation myself. I do it as an example to others, and to prove that I am not a slave to the habit. I can give it up whenever I want to. I've done it a thousand times.
     Mark Twain, Hal Holbrook (ed.), Mark Twain 
     Tonight! An Actor's Portrait (1959)


Smoking cures weight problems . . . eventually.
     Steven Wright


The worst thing about some men is that when they are not drunk they are sober.
     William Butler Yeats


When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.
     Henny Youngman





A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof was to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
     Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless (1992)


"The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair."
     Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless (1992)


There are rogues who are not fools (except in the folly of being rogues) but they are even more rare than the dunces who are not rascals, and their distinction is so much the greater. Indeed, it is so so great that they are commonly worshipped.
     Ambrose Bierce, "Prosperous Penitents" (Wasp, 1882)


Ass, n. A public singer with a good voice but no ear. In Virginia City, Nevada, he is called the Washoe Canary, in Dakota, the Senator, and everywhere the Donkey. The animal is widely and variously celebrated in the literature, art and religion of every age and country; no other so engages and fires the human imagination as this noble vertebrate. ... From what has been written about this beast might be compiled a library of great splendor and magnitude, rivaling that of the Shakespearean cult, and that which clusters about the Bible. It may be said, generally, that all literature is more or less Asinine.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


Fool, n. A person who pervades the domain of intellectual speculation and diffuses himself through the channels of moral activity. He is omnific, omniform, omnipercipient, omniscient, omnipotent. He it was who invented letters, printing, the railroad, the steamboat, the telegraph, the platitude, and the circle of the sciences. He created patriotism and taught the nations war — founded theology, philosophy, law, medicine and Chicago. He established monarchical and republican government. He is from everlasting to everlasting — such as creation's dawn beheld he fooleth now. In the morning of time he sang upon primitive hills, and in the noonday of existence headed the procession of being. His grandmotherly hand has warmly tuck-in the set sun of civilization, and in the twilight he prepares Man's evening meal of milk-and-morality and turns down the covers of the universal grave. And after the rest of us shall have retired for the night of eternal oblivion he will sit up to write a history of human civilization.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


Nature never makes any blunders; when she makes a fool she means it.
     Josh Billings, Josh Billings: His Sayings (1865)


A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
     William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790-1793)


There are more fools than wise men, and even in the wise there is more folly than wisdom.
     Nicolas Chamfort


Those who realize their folly are not true fools.
     Chuang tzu


The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.
     Winston Churchill


It is ill manners to silence a fool, and cruelty to let him go on.
     Benjamin Franklin


When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on Earth. So what the hell, leap.
     Cynthia Heimel, "Lower Manhattan 
     Survival Tactics" (Village Voice, 1983)


There are more fools in the world than there are people.
     Heinrich Heine


Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists of not exceeding the limit.
     Elbert Hubbard


A fool and his money are soon spotted.
     Kin Hubbard


Suffer fools gladly. They may be right.
     Holbrook Jackson


I don't suffer fools and I like to see fools suffer.
     Florence King


One always hesitates to judge foolhardy actions, whether one's own or those of others, after they have proven to be successful: perhaps therefore they were not foolhardy enough? Or perhaps it is true that there exists a God who protects children, fools, and drunks? Or perhaps again these actions have more weight and more warmth than those innumerable other actions that have ended badly, and one tells them more willingly?
     Primo Levi, The Periodic Table (1975)


Before a man speaks it is always safe to assume that he is a fool. After he speaks, it is seldom necessary to assume it.
     H. L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy (1949)
     "Sententiæ — The Mind of Man"


A fellow who is always declaring he's no fool usually has his suspicions.
     Wilson Mizner


I suffer fools gladly, for I have always been on good terms with myself.
     Christopher Morley


You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can make a damn fool of yourself any old time.
     Laurence Johnston Peter


Wise man talk because they have something to say: fools, because they have to say something.


Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.


He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.
     Chinese Proverb


He that makes an ass of himself must not take it ill if men ride him.
     English Proverb


We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.
     Japanese Proverb


Every person is a fool in somebody's opinion.
     Spanish Proverb


If three people say you are an ass, put on a bridle.
     Spanish Proverb


What makes us so bitter against people who outwit us is that they think themselves cleverer than we are.
     François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, 
     The Maxims (translated by Louis Kronenberger, 1936)


People we fool never seem so ridiculous to us as we seem to ourselves when fooled by others.
     François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, 
     The Maxims (translated by Louis Kronenberger, 1936)


There are no fools so unpleasant as those with wit.
     François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, 
     The Maxims (translated by Louis Kronenberger, 1936)


FOOL: ... The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.
LEAR: Because they are not eight?
FOOL: Yes, indeed. Thou wouldst make a good fool.
     William Shakespeare, King Lear


"What kind of fool are you?"
"My own special variety."
     Kajada and Odo, "The Passenger"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.
     James Thurber, Fables For Our Time & 
     Famous Poems Illustrated
     "The Owl Who Was God"


The proverb says that Providence protects children and idiots. This is really true. I know it because I have tested it.
     Mark Twain


But a word of explanation from him convinced me that I had been swindled by Mr. Lawler with a detailed account of a fight which had never occurred, and was never likely to occur; that I had believed him so implicitly as to sit down and write it out (as other reporters have done before me) in language calculated to deceive the public into the conviction that I was present at it myself, and to embellish it with a string of falsehoods intended to render that deception as plausible as possible. I ruminated upon my singular position for many minutes, arrived at no conclusion — that is to say, no satisfactory conclusion, except that Lawler was an accomplished knave and I was a consummate ass. I had suspected the first before, though, and been acquainted with the latter fact for nearly a quarter of a century
     Mark Twain, "The Great Prize Fight" (1863)


The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become until he goes abroad. I speak now, of course, in the supposition that the gentle reader has not been abroad, and therefore is not already a consummate ass. If the case be otherwise, I beg his pardon and extend to him the cordial hand of fellowship and call him brother. I shall always delight to meet an ass after my own heart when I shall have finished my travels.
     Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad (1869)


I am a great & sublime fool. But then I am God's fool, & all His works must be contemplated with respect.
     Mark Twain, letter to William Dean Howells 
     (December 28?, 1877)


The fact is, as the poet has said, we are all fools. The difference is simply in the degree. The mercury in some of the fool-thermometers stands at ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty, and so on; in some it gets up to seventy-five; in some it soars to ninety-nine. I never examine mine, — take no interest in it.
     Mark Twain, "Reply to a Boston Girl" (1880)


"There ain't any accounting for it, except that if you send a damned fool to St. Louis, and you don't tell them he's a damned fool, they'll never find it out." [an old gentleman in Hannibal, Missouri]
     Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)


"Cuss the doctor! What do we k'yer for him? Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side? and ain't that a big enough majority in any town?"
     The 'Dauphin' in Mark Twain,
     Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)


If all the fools in this world should die, lordly God how lonely I should be.
     Mark Twain, letter to Olivia Clemens (1885)


I reckon we are all fools. Born so, no doubt.
     Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889)


And I have been an author for 20 years and an ass for 55.
     Mark Twain, fragment of a Letter to 
     an Unknown Correspondent (1891)


There is no character, howsoever good and fine, but it can be destroyed by ridicule, howsoever poor and witless. Observe the ass, for instance: his character is about perfect, he is the choicest spirit among all the humbler animals, yet see what ridicule has brought him to. Instead of feeling complimented when we are called an ass, we are left in doubt.
     Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894)
     "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar"


Smythe said the Colonel said — either he was a damn fool or I was. He seems to be in doubt. I'm not. We are all fools at times; this is his time.
     Mark Twain, Notebook, 1896


“Yes, that is all there is to it — I’ve been an ass.” [the Paladin]
     Noël Rainguesson said, in a kind of weary way:
     “Yes, that is likely enough; but I don’t see why you should seem surprised at it.”
     “You don’t, don’t you? Well, why don’t you?”
     “Because I don’t see any novelty about it. With some people it is a condition which is present all the time. Now you take a condition which is present all the time, and the results of that condition will be uniform; this uniformity of result will in time become monotonous; monotonousness, by the law of its being, is fatiguing. If you had manifested fatigue upon noticing that you had been an ass, that would have been logical, that would have been rational; whereas it seems to me that to manifest surprise was to be again an ass, because the condition of intellect that can enable a person to be surprised and stirred by inert monotonousness is a —” ...
     Mark Twain, The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896)


The stranger is warned against taking cold baths in India, but even the most intelligent strangers are fools, and they do not obey, and so they presently get laid up. I was the most intelligent fool that passed through, that year. But I am still more intelligent now. Now that it is too late.
     Mark Twain, Following the Equator (1897)


Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.
     Mark Twain, Following the Equator (1897)
     "Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar"


Concerning the difference between man and the jackass: some observers hold that there isn't any. But this wrongs the jackass.
     Mark Twain, Notebook, 1898


I quite understand that I am confessing myself a fool; but that is no matter, the reader would find it out anyway as I go along.
     Mark Twain, Albert Bigelow Paine (ed.), 
     Mark Twain's Autobiography (1924)


Four years ago (1902) I was invited by the University of Missouri to come out there and receive the honorary degree of LL.D. I took that opportunity to spend a week in Hannibal — a city now, a village in my day. It had been fifty-five years since Tom Nash and I had had that adventure. When I was at the railway station ready to leave Hannibal, there was a great crowd of citizens there. I saw Tom Nash approaching me across a vacant space, and I walked toward him, for I recognized him at once. He was old and white-headed, but the boy of fifteen was still visible in him. He came up to me, made a trumpet of his hands at my ear, nodded his head toward the citizens, and said, confidentially — in a yell like a fog horn — "Same damned fools, Sam."
     Mark Twain, Albert Bigelow Paine (ed.), 
     Mark Twain's Autobiography (1924)


None but an ass pays a compliment and asks a favor at the same time. There are many asses.
     Mark Twain, More Maxims of Mark (Merle Johnson, ed., 1927)


The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.
     Mark Twain, More Maxims of Mark (Merle Johnson, ed., 1927)


A fool, indeed, has great need of a title. It teaches men to call him count and duke. And to forget his proper name of fool.


He who thinks himself wise, O heavens! is a great fool.
     Voltaire, Le Droit du Seigneur


A man may be a fool and not know it, but he cannot be a fool without others knowing it.
     Lemuel K. Washburn


Ninety-nine percent of the people in the world are fools, and the rest of us are in great danger of contagion.
     Thornton Wilder


. . . while life is fleeting, assholes live forever; or, as Latin might have it, "Arse longa, vita brevis."
     Fred Woodworth





The oppression of any people for opinion's sake has rarely had any other effect than to fix those opinions deeper, and render them more important.
     Hosea Ballou


Freedom, n. Exemption from the stress of authority in a beggarly half dozen of restraint's infinite multitude of methods. A political condition that every nation supposes itself to enjoy in virtual monopoly. Liberty. The distinction between freedom and liberty is not accurately known; naturalists have never been able to find a living specimen of either.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


Liberty, n. One of Imagination's most precious possessions.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.
     Louis Brandeis


"Live Free or Die," that's their [New Hampshire's] motto. That's what it says on their license plates. But when you consider that those license plates are made in prison, it makes you wonder how sincere it is.
     A. Whitney Brown, The Big Picture: 
     An American Commentary


We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there — there you could look at a thing monstrous and free.
     Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1899)


Liberty is better served by presenting a clear target to one's opponents than by joining with them in an insincere and useless brotherliness.
     Benedetto Croce


Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.
     from a note by Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) to Ellis Boyd
     Red' Redding (Morgan Freeman) in
     Frank Darabont, The Shawshank Redemption (movie, 1994;
     based on the short story by Stephen King)


Get busy living, or get busy dying. That's goddamn right. For the second time in my life I'm guilty of committing a crime: parole violation. 'Course I doubt they'll toss up any road blocks for that, not for an old crook like me. I find I'm so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I imagine it's the excitement only a free man can feel. A free man at the start of a long journey, whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is a blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope . . .
     Ellis Boyd Red' Redding (Morgan Freeman) in
     Frank Darabont, The Shawshank Redemption (movie, 1994;
          based on the short story by Stephen King)


The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.
     William Orville Douglas, Supreme Court Justice


The fact is we are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot forsee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship.
     E. M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy (1951)
     "The Tercentenary of the 'Areopagitica'" (1944)


They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
     Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania (1759)


If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.
     Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., U.S. v. Schwimmer (1928)


The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities, and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts.
     One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no election.
     Robert Houghwout Jackson, speaking for the majority 
     of the court in the flag-salute case, West Virginia State 
     Board of Education v. Barnette


Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard. ... Freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.
     Robert Houghwout Jackson, speaking for the majority 
     of the court in the flag-salute case, West Virginia State 
     Board of Education v. Barnette


Persecution is the first law of society because it is always easier to suppress criticism than to meet it.
     Howard Mumford Jones, Primer of Intellectual Freedom (1949)


The way I see it, unless we each conform, unless we obey orders, unless we follow our leaders blindly, there is no possible way we can remain free.
     Frank Burns (Larry Linville), "The Novocaine Mutiny"
     M*A*S*H (TV series, CBS, 1972-1983)


If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.
     W. Somerset Maugham, Strictly Personal (1941)


The liberty of the individual must be thus far limited; he must not make himself a nuisance to other people.
     John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)


He who is allowed to do as he likes will soon run his head into a brick wall out of sheer frustration.
     Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities (1930)


F x S = k. The product of Freedom and Security is a constant. To gain more freedom of thought and/or action, you must give up some security, and vice versa. These remarks apply to individuals, nations, and civilizations. Notice that the constant k is different for every civilization and different from every individual.
     Larry Niven, N-Space (1990)
     "Niven's Laws"


We have a long and painful history of ignoring the prophecy attributed to Benjamin Franklin that "those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
     Keith Olbermann


Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.
     Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 4 (September 12, 1777)


He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.
     Thomas Paine, Dissertations of First Principles of Government (1795)


Liberty doesn't work as well in practice as it does in speeches.
     Will Rogers


Liberty means responsibility; that is why most men dread it.
     George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903)
     "Maxims for Revolutionists"


... the customs and history of your race show a unique hatred of captivity — even when it's pleasant and benevolent, you prefer death.
     The Keeper, "The Cage"
     STAR TREK:  The Original Series


"When the first link of the chain is forged, the first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied chains us all irrevocably." [quoting Judge Aaron Satie]
     Captain Picard, "The Drumhead"
     STAR TREK:  The Next Generation


I has been my experience that one of the prices of giving people freedom of choice is that sometimes they make the wrong choice.
     Odo, "Shakaar"
     STAR TREK:  Deep Space Nine


My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.
     Adlai Ewing Stevenson, Speech, Detroit (1952)


To those who think that the law of gravity interferes with their freedom, there is nothing to say.
     Lionel Tiger


In order to enjoy the inestimable benefits that the liberty of the press ensures, it is necessary to submit to the inevitable evils that it creates.
     Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835)


Ours is the "land of the free" — nobody denies that — nobody challenges it. [Maybe it is because we won't let other people testify.]
     Mark Twain, Roughing It (1872)


We are called the nation of inventors. And we are. We could still claim that title and wear its loftiest honors if we had stopped with the first thing we ever invented — which was human liberty. Out of that invention has come the Christian world's great civilization. Without it it was impossible — as the history of all the centuries has proved.
     Mark Twain, "On Foreign Critics" (speech, 1890)


It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.
     Mark Twain, Following the Equator (1897)
     "Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar"


The United States of America had human slavery for almost one hundred years before that custom was recognized a s a social disease and people began to fight it. Imagine that. Wasn't that a match for Aushwitz? What a beacon of liberty we were to the rest of the world when it was perfectly acceptable here to own other human beings and treat them as we treated cattle. Who told you we were a beacon of liberty from the very beginning? Why would they lie like that?
     Kurt Vonnegut, Fates Worse Than Death: 
     An Autobiographical Collage
     "Do Not Be Cynical About The American Experiment, Since It 
     Has Only Now Begun" — Graduation speech to the Class of 1990, 
     University of Rhode Island, Kingston (May, 1990)


What do you suppose will satisfy the soul, except to walk free and own no superior?
     Walt Whitman





Even the best of friends cannot attend each other's funeral.
     Kehlog Albran


It is well, when one is judging a friend, to remember that he is judging you with the same Godlike and superior impartiality.
     Arnold Bennett


Acquaintance, n. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to. A degree of friendship called slight when its object is poor or obscure, and intimate when he is rich or famous.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


Think twice before you speak to a friend in need.
     Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)


Don't be afraid — I'm right behind you (using you as a shield).
     Ashleigh Brilliant


There is no man so friendless but what he can find a friend sincere enough to tell him disagreeable truths.
     Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Baron Lytton, 
     "What Will He Do With It?"


One good reason for maintaining only a small circle of friends is that three out of four murders are committed by people who know the victim.
     George Carlin, Napalm & Silly Putty (2001)


Never get involved with someone who wants to change you.
     Quentin Crisp


“But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted.”
“What happened?”
“He lived happily ever after.”
     Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) and Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum) in Roald Dahl,
          David Seltzer (uncredited), Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)


Love your enemies in case your friends turn out to be a bunch of bastards.
     R. A. Dickson


The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.
     Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays: First Series (1841)


The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.
     Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude (1870)
     "Domestic Life"


Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
     Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) in Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch
          and Casey Robinson (uncredited), Casablanca (movie, 1942)


I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.
     E. M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy (1951)
     "What I Believe" (1939)


Hear no ill of a friend, nor speak any of an enemy.
     Benjamin Franklin


If you would keep your secret from an enemy, tell it not to a friend.
     Benjamin Franklin


The friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you.
     Elbert Hubbard, The Note Book (1927)


Short help is better than no help at all.
     Han Solo (Harrison Ford), on the Ewoks in George Lucas,
          Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
(movie, 1983)


You can count on me, boss. I ain't got nothin', but you can always have half.
     Antonio (Chico Marx)
     The Marx Brothers, At the Circus (movie, 1939)


Popularity — The capacity for listening sympathetically when men boast of their wives and women complain of their husbands.
     H. L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy (1949)
     "Sententiæ — The Mind of Man"


I hold that companionship is a matter of mutual weaknesses. We like that man or woman best who has the same faults we have.
     George Jean Nathan


When friends ask, there is no tomorrow.


In times of prosperity friends will be plenty, in times of adversity not one in twenty.
     English Proverb


Go often to the house of a friend; for weeds soon choke up the unused path.
     Scandinavian Proverb


Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.
     Swedish Proverb


Don't tell your friends their social faults: they will cure the fault and never forgive you.
     Logan Pearsall Smith


"My father says that you have been my friend . . . you came back for me. ... Why would you do this?"
"Because the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many."
     Spock and Kirk, STAR TREK III The Search for Spock


As I experience certain sensory input patterns, my mental pathways become accustomed to them. The input is eventually anticipated, and even missed when absent.
     Data, "Legacy"
     STAR TREK:  The Next Generation


PICARD: (looking around the table at his bridge crew) I should have done this a long time ago.
TROI: You were always welcome.
PICARD: (dealing the cards) So, five-card stud, nothing wild, and the sky's the limit.
     "All Good Things . . ."
     STAR TREK:  The Next Generation
          [Final scene of the TV series]


That is just the way in this world; an enemy can partly ruin a man, but it takes a good-natured injudicious friend to complete the thing and make it perfect.
     Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894)


The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.
     Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894)
     "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar"


And you know, the more you join in with people in their joys and their sorrows, the more nearer and dearer they come to be to you. ... But it is sorrow and trouble that brings you the nearest, and it was a funeral that done it with us.
     Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894)


The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer somebody else up.
     Mark Twain, Notebook, 1896


There is an old-time toast which is golden for its beauty — "When you ascend the hill of prosperity may you not meet a friend."
     Mark Twain, Following the Equator (1897)
     "Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar"


It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you to the heart; the one to slander you and the other to get the news to you.
     Mark Twain, Following the Equator (1897)
     "Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar"


Grief takes care of itself; but to get the full value of a joy you must have someone to divide it with.
     Mark Twain, Following the Equator (1897)
     "Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar"


The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are in the wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are in the right.
     Mark Twain, Notebook, 1898


He was a good doctor and a good man, and he had a good heart, but one had to know him a year to get over hating him, two years to learn to endure him, three to learn to like him, and four or five to learn to love him. It was a slow and trying education, but it paid.
     Mark Twain, "Was It Heaven? Or Hell?" (1902)


We naturally gather about us people whose ways and dispositions agree with our own.
     Mark Twain, Albert Bigelow Paine (ed.),
     Mark Twain's Autobiography (1924)


Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
     Mark Twain, More Maxims of Mark (Merle Johnson, ed., 1927)


A real friend is a person who, when you've made a fool of yourself, lets you forget it.


In the cookie of life, friends are chocolate chips.


"Never thought I'd die fighting side by side with an elf."
"What about side by side with a friend?"
"Aye, I could do that."
     Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom)
     Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson,
     The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (movie, 2003)


Friendship is far more tragic than love. It lasts longer.
     Oscar Wilde, "A Few Maxims for the
     Instruction of the Over-Educated"


Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one.
     Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)


I like to reminisce with people I don't know. Granted, it takes longer.
     Steven Wright