Useless Quotes Vol II (B-F)
Date: Thu, 8 Dec 94 15:30:42 PST
Subject: Useless Quotes Vol II (B-F)
[What? You didn't see Vol I? Well, I didn't send it. That would be just too
pedestrian, don't you think? -psl]
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Henry Cate)
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes. - Thoreau
Beware of self-styled experts: an ex is a has-been, and a spurt is a
drip under pressure.
Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors and miss
-- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"
Biology is the only science in which multiplication means the same
thing as division.
Refers to someone who has homes in Nome, Alaska, and Buffalo, New York
Blessed are the meek for they shall inhibit the earth.
Blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt.
Given a choice between two theories, take the one which is funnier.
A person who talks when you wish him to listen.
-- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"
A guy who wraps up a two-minute idea in a two-hour vocabulary.
-- Walter Winchell
Boys are beyond the range of anybody's sure understanding, at least
when they are between the ages of 18 months and 90 years.
-- James Thurber
Boys will be boys, and so will a lot of middle-aged men.
-- Kin Hubbard
Brady's First Law of Problem Solving:
When confronted by a difficult problem, you can solve it more
easily by reducing it to the question, "How would the Lone
Ranger have handled this?"
It's a good thing I don't like broccoli because if I did I'd eat it
and it tastes horrible! -psl]
Build a system that even a fool can use, and only a fool will use it.
BULLWINKLE: "You just leave that to my pal. He's the brains of the outfit."
GENERAL: "What does that make YOU?"
BULLWINKLE: "What else? An executive..."
-- Jay Ward
A person who cuts red tape sideways.
-- J. McCabe
A politician who has tenure.
Delay is the safest form of denial.
Burn's Hog Weighing Method:
(1) Get a perfectly symmetrical plank and balance it across a
(2) Put the hog on one end of the plank.
(3) Pile rocks on the other end until the plank is again
(4) Carefully guess the weight of the rocks.
-- Robert Burns
But the greatest Electrical Pioneer of them all was Thomas Edison, who was
a brilliant inventor despite the fact that he had little formal education
and lived in New Jersey. Edison's first major invention in 1877, was the
phonograph, which could soon be found in thousands of American homes, where
it basically sat until 1923, when the record was invented. But Edison's
greatest achievement came in 1879, when he invented the electric company.
Edison's design was a brilliant adaptation of the simple electrical circuit:
the electric company sends electricity through a wire to a customer, then
immediately gets the electricity back through another wire, then (this is
the brilliant part) sends it right back to the customer again. This means
that an electric company can sell a customer the same batch of electricity
thousands of times a day and never get caught, since very few customers take
the time to examine their electricity closely.
By definition, when you are investigating the unknown, you do not know what you
will find or even when you have found it.
By doing just a little every day, you can gradually let the task
completely overwhelm you.
By the time (the Leaning Tower of Pisa) was 10% built, everyone knew it
would be a total disaster. But the investment was so big they felt compelled to
go on. Since its completion, it cost a fortune to maintain and is still in
danger of collapsing. There are no plans to replace it, since it was never
needed in the first place. I expect every installation has its own pet software
which is analogous to the above. -- Ken Iverson
By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss
and work twelve hours a day.
California is a fine place to live -- if you happen to be an orange.
-- Fred Allen
California is proud to be the home of the freeway.
-- Ronald Reagan
Call on God, but row away from the rocks. -- Indian proverb
Canada Bill Jone's Motto:
It's morally wrong to allow suckers to keep their money.
Canada Post doesn't really charge 32 cents for a stamp. It's 2 cents
for postage and 30 cents for storage.
-- Gerald Regan, Cabinet Minister, 12/31/83 Financial Post
Captain Penny's Law:
You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of
the people all of the time, but you Can't Fool Mom.
Carelessly planned projects take three times longer to complete
than expected; carefully planned projects only twice as long.
Celebrate Hannibal Day this year. Take an elephant to lunch.
Celestial navigation is based on the premise that the Earth is the
center of the universe. The premise is wrong, but the navigation
works. An incorrect model can be a useful tool.
-- Kelvin Throop III
Certain old men prefer to rise at dawn, taking a cold bath and a long
walk with an empty stomach and otherwise mortifying the flesh. They
then point with pride to these practices as the cause of their sturdy
health and ripe years; the truth being that they are hearty and old,
not because of their habits, but in spite of them. The reason we find
only robust persons doing this thing is that it has killed all the
others who have tried it.
-- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"
Character Density, n.:
The number of very weird people in the office.
Charity: a thing that begins at home and usually stays there.
Chicago law prohibits eating in a place that is on fire.
Where the dead still vote ... early and often!
Chicago Transit Authority Rider's Rule #36:
Never ever ask the tough looking gentleman wearing El Rukn
headgear where he got his "pyramid powered pizza warmer".
-- Chicago Reader 3/27/81
Chicago Transit Authority Rider's Rule #84:
The CTA has complimentary pop-up timers available on request
for overheated passengers. When your timer pops up, the driver
will cheerfully baste you.
-- Chicago Reader 5/28/82
Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every
effort to teach them good manners.
Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for
word what you shouldn't have said.
Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found
difficult and not tried.
-- G. K. Chesterton
One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired
book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor.
One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are
not inconsistent with a life of sin.
Churchill's Commentary on Man:
Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the
time he will pick himself up and continue on.
A fire at one end, a fool at the other, and a bit of tobacco in
Clarke's law: The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going
beyond them into the impossible.
Cleanliness is next to impossible.
Cleveland? Yes, I spent a week there one day.
Cloning is the sincerest form of flattery.
When the politicians walk around with their hands in their own pockets.
(1) Never arrive on time, or you will be stamped a beginner.
(2) Don't say anything until the meeting is half over; this
stamps you as being wise.
(3) Be as vague as possible; this prevents irritating the
(4) When in doubt, suggest that a subcommittee be appointed.
(5) Be the first to move for adjournment; this will make you
popular -- it's what everyone is waiting for.
Committees have become so important nowadays that subcommittees have to
be appointed to do the work.
Commoner's second law of ecology:
Nothing ever goes away.
Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at
different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.
-- Clive James
Confidence is the feeling you have before you understand the situation.
Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never ends.
-- H. L. Mencken
Conscious is when you are aware of something and conscience is when you
wish you weren't.
Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich.
-- "Ali Baba Bunny" [1957, Chuck Jones]
One who admires radicals centuries after they're dead.
-- Leo C. Rosten
A vocal competition in which the one who is catching his breath
is called the listener.
Corruption is not the #1 priority of the Police Commissioner. His job
is to enforce the law and fight crime.
-- P.B.A. President E. J. Kiernan
Crash programs fail because they are based on the theory that, with
nine women pregnant, you can get a baby in a month.
-- Wernher von Braun
Creditors have much better memories than debtors.
Crime does not pay ... as well as politics.
-- A. E. Newman
If tin whistles are made of tin, what are foghorns made of?
Dare to give true advice with all frankness. - Cicero
Democracy can learn some things from Communism: for example, when a
Communist politician is through, he is through.
Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better
than we deserve.
-- George Bernard Shaw
Democracy is a form of government in which it is permitted to wonder
aloud what the country could do under first-class management.
-- Senator Soaper
Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the
incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.
-- G. B. Shaw
Democracy is a government where you can say what you think
even if you don't think.
Democracy is based on the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities
in ordinary people.
-- Harry Emerson Fosdick
Democracy is good. I say this because other systems are worse.
-- Jawaharlal Nehru
Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people
are right more than half of the time.
-- E. B. White
Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people
by the people for the people.
-- Oscar Wilde
Deprive a mirror of its silver and even the Czar won't see his face.
Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only
recaptured 116 of them?
Did you know that clones never use mirrors?
-- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"
Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible for
talent is genius.
Do not adjust your brain -- reality is out of adjustment.
Do not take life too seriously; you will never get out if it alive.
Do not try to solve all life's problems at once -- learn to dread each
day as it comes.
-- Donald Kaul
Don't abandon hope: your Tom Mix decoder ring arrives tomorrow.
Don't be humble ... you're not that great.
-- Golda Meir
Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.
Don't get even -- get odd!
Don't get suckered in by the comments -- they can be terribly misleading.
Debug only code.
-- Dave Storer
Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes
you nothing. It was here first.
-- Mark Twain
Don't knock President Fillmore. He kept us out of Vietnam.
Don't let people drive you crazy when you know it's in walking distance.
Don't let your mind wander -- it's too little to be let out alone.
Don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today, because if you enjoy
it today you can do it again tomorrow.
Don't take life too seriously -- you'll never get out if it alive.
Don't tell me I'm burning the candle at both ends --
tell me where toget more wax!!"
Don't try to have it all, where would you put it?
Don't worry about avoiding temptation -- as you grow older,
it starts avoiding you.
-- The Old Farmer's Almanac
Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already
tomorrow in Australia.
-- Charles Schultz
Don't worry if you're a kleptomaniac,
you can always take something for it.
Don't worry over what other people are thinking about you. They're too
busy worrying over what you are thinking about them.
Don't you feel more like you do now than you did when you came in?
Don't you wish you were where you were when you were wishing you were here?
Do something unusual today. Pay a bill.
Do the things which you will be proud to remember when you are old.
Doubt is a not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one.
Do you have lysdexia too?
Opportunity always knocks at the least opportune moment.
Due to a shortage of devoted followers, the production of great leaders
has been discontinued.
Due to circumstances beyond your control, you are master of your fate
and captain of your soul.
Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.
-- John Kenneth Galbraith
Economists state their GNP growth projections to the nearest tenth of a
percentage point to prove they have a sense of humor.
-- Edgar R. Fiedler
Invite them all in. Nip out the back door. Phone the police
and tell them your house is being burgled.
-- Mike Harding, "The Armchair Anarchist's Almanac"
Entropy isn't what it used to be.
When a man says it's a silly, childish game, it's probably
something his wife can beat him at.
Ertz's Observation on Immortality:
Millions long for immortality who do not know what
to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.
Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.
Every improvement in communication makes the bore more terrible.
-- Frank Moore Colby [a critique of netnews? -psl]
Everyone complains of memory loss, no one of judgment loss.
Everyone talks about apathy, but no one does anything about it.
Every successful person has had failures but repeated failure is no
guarantee of eventual success.
Everything you've learned in school as "obvious" becomes less and less
obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no
solids in the universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid.
There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no
-- R. Buckminster Fuller
Excellent day for putting Slinkies on an escalator.
Excellent time to become a missing person.
[- Reginald Perrin? -psl]
Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from
acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.
-- W. Somerset Maugham
Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work.
-- John G. Pollard
Expense Accounts, n.:
Corporate food stamps.
Experience is a dear teacher, but fools will learn at no other.
-- Poor Richard's Almanac
Experience is the worst teacher. It always gives the test first and
the instruction afterward.
Experience is what causes a person to make new mistakes instead of old ones.
Expertise in one field does not carry over into other fields. But experts
often think so. The narrower their field of knowledge the more likely they are
to think so.
Fairy Tale, n.:
A horror story to prepare children for the newspapers.
Faith is the quality that enables you to eat blackberry jam on a picnic
without looking to see whether the seeds move.
Families, when a child is born
Want it to be intelligent.
I, through intelligence,
Having wrecked my whole life,
Only hope the baby will prove
Ignorant and stupid.
Then he will crown a tranquil life
By becoming a Cabinet Minister
-- Su Tung-p'o
Famous last words:
What happens if you touch these two wires tog--
We won't need reservations.
It's always sunny there this time of the year.
They'd never (be stupid enough to) make him a manager.
"Don't worry, I can handle it."
"You and what army?"
Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the
Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an
utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life
forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches
are a pretty neat idea ...
-- Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
Feazel's Travel Rule:
Don't go back. It isn't there anymore.
Feel disillusioned? I've got some great new illusions ...
Feminists say 60 percent of the country's wealth is in the hands of
women. They're letting men hold the other 40 percent because their
handbags are full.
-- Earl Wilson
Fertility is hereditary. If your parents didn't have any children,
neither will you.
First law of bicycling (Dermott's Ditty):
No matter which way you ride, it's uphill and against the wind.
FLASH! Intelligence of mankind decreasing. Details at ... uh, when
the little hand is on the ....
Food for thought is no substitute for the real thing.
-- Walt Kelly, "Putluck Pogo"
For a man to truly understand rejection, he must first be ignored by a cat.
For some reason a glaze passes over people's faces when you say
"Canada". Maybe we should invade South Dakota or something.
-- Sandra Gotlieb, wife of the Canadian ambassador to
For three days after death hair and fingernails continue to grow but
phone calls taper off.
-- Johnny Carson
© 1994 Peter Langston