The Jacana Curmudgeon


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Quotations H





A habit is something you can do without thinking - which is why most of us have so many of them.

- Frank A. Clark.


Habit, if not resisted, soon becomes necessity.

- St. Augustine.


Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables.

- Spanish Proverb.




All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.

- John Gunther.


There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern.

- Samuel Johnson.


The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase: if you pursue happiness you’ll never find it.

- C. P. Snow.


Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.
- Oscar Wilde


Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

- Nathaniel Hawthorne.


According to a study, they found common words used by happy people are, joy, love and hopeful. And they also found common words used by other people to describe happy people. Annoying, irritating, obnoxious...

- Jay Leno.


Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.

- George Orwell.


Happiness is bumping into Racquel Welch….very slowly.

- Laugh-In, NBC TV.


Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.

- Robert Frost.


I have to tell you something. I cannot help being happy. I’ve struggled against it but no good. Apart from an odd five minutes here and there, I have been happy all my life. There is, I am well aware, no virtue whatever in this. It results from a combination of heredity, health, good fortune and shallow intellect.

- Arthur Marshall.


Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.

- Ernest Hemingway.


A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it: it would be hell on earth.

- George Bernard Shaw.


If only we’d stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time.

- Edith Wharton.


If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi desert. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator. He will not be striving for it as a goal in itself. He will have become aware that he is happy in the course of living life twenty-four crowded hours of the day.

- W. Beran Wolfe.


Those who can laugh without cause have either found the true meaning of happiness or have gone stark raving mad.

- Norm Papernick.


The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.

- James Openheim.


I am a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.

- J. D. Salinger.


Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

- Abraham Lincoln.


It's never too late to have a happy childhood.

- Berke Breathed.


Happiness? That's nothing more than health and a poor memory.

- Albert Schweitzer.


The only way to avoid being miserable is not to have enough leisure to wonder whether you are happy or not.

- George Bernard Shaw.


A man's as miserable as he thinks he is.

- Seneca.


Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.

- Joseph Addison.


Give a man health and a course to steer, and he'll never stop to trouble about whether he's happy or not.

- George Bernard Shaw.


Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of travelling.

- Margaret Lee Runbeck.


What's the use of happiness? It can't buy you money.

- Henny Youngman.


A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.


Happiness is not something you experience, it's something you remember.


Joy and sorrow are next door neighbours. - German proverb.


Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.


The only real happy folk are married women and single men.


Every man is thoroughly happy twice in his life: just after he has met his first love, and just after he has left his last one.


Happiness is a belt-fed weapon.


Happiness is seeing your mother-in-law on a milk carton.




Whoever is in a hurry shows that the thing he is about is too big for him.

- Lord Chesterfield.


Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

- Lao Tzu.




Now hatred is by far the longest pleasure;

Men love in haste, but they detest at leisure.

- Lord Byron.


Hatred bounces.

- E. E. Cummings.


There is a story of an Oxford student who once remarked, "I despise all Americans, but have never met one I didn't like."

- Gordon Allport.


End discrimination. Hate everybody.


Auntie Em, Hate you, hate Kansas, taking the dog. Dorothy.




I can’t take a well tanned person seriously.

- Cleveland Amory.


Early to rise and early to bed

Makes a man healthy, wealthy and dead.

- James Thurber.


Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

- World Health Organization, 1948.


Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that's bad for you!

- Tommy Smothers.


I am pretty sure that, if you will be quite honest, you will admit that a good rousing sneeze, one that tears open your collar and throws your hair into your eyes, is really one of life's sensational pleasures.

- Robert Benchley, Hiccoughing Makes Us Fat.


He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.

- Arabian Proverb.


If you start to think about your physical or moral condition, you usually find that you are sick.

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Proverbs in Prose.


Quit worrying about your health. It'll go away.

- Robert Orben.


I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial.
- Irvin S. Cobb


Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.


A waist is a terrible thing to mind.


If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you explain whales?




The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

- Samuel Johnson.


Hell is not to love anymore.

- Georges Bernanos.


The idea of Hell is based on the false assumption that there is a world worse than this one.

- Michael Wikoff.


Hell is paved with good Samaritans.

- William M. Holden.


If there be a hell upon earth, it is to be found in a melancholy man's heart.

- Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy.


Maybe there is no actual place called hell. Maybe hell is just having to listen to our grandparents breathe through their noses when they're eating sandwiches.

- Jim Carrey.


Heaven is when you have: a British salary, an American home, Chinese food, a German car and a South African wife.

Hell is when you have: An American car, a British wife, a Chinese home, German food and a South African salary.


Heaven won’t have me and Hell’s afraid I’ll take over.




A light supper, a good night’s sleep, and a fine morning have often made a hero of the same man who by indigestion, a restless night, and a rainy morning, would have proved a coward.

- Earl of Chesterfield.


Sometimes the hero in the film is the one who sits through it.




What is history but a set of lies agreed upon.

- Napoleon Bonaparte.


History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.

- Edward Gibbons.


History is a pact between the dead, the living and the yet unborn.

- Edmund Burke.


History is the short trudge from Adam to atom.

-Leonard Louis Levinson.


Events in the past may be roughly divided into those which probably never happened and those which do not matter.

- W. R. Inge.


History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

- Winston Churchill.


History is bunk.

- Henry Ford.


A lot of guys have had a lot of fun joking about Henry Ford because he admitted one time that he didn't know history. He don't know it, but history will know him. He has made more history than his critics ever read.

- Will Rogers.


History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days.

- Winston Churchill.


God cannot alter the past, though historians can.

- Samuel Butler, Prose Observations.


History is a vast early warning system.

- Norman Cousins.


And so by the fifteenth century, on October 8, the Europeans were looking for a new place to try to get to, and they came up with a new concept: the West.

- Dave Barry.


The Sixties are now considered a historical period, just like the Roman Empire.

- Dave Barry.


I went to the museum where they had all the heads and arms from the statues that are in all the other museums.

- Steven Wright.


Most history is guessing, and the rest is prejudice.

- Will and Ariel Durant, Our Oriental Heritage.


Perhaps nobody has changed the course of history as much as the historians.

- Franklin P. Jones.


History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren't there.

- George Santayana.


The past is really almost as much a work of the imagination as the future.

- Jessamyn West.


History is written by the winners.

- Alex Haley.


History is the propaganda of the victors.

- Ernst Toller.


History is the sextant of states which, tossed by wind and current, would be lost in confusion if they could not fix their position.

- Allan Nevins, The Gateway to History.


The memories of men are too frail a thread to hang history from.

- John Still.


Not to know the events which happened before one was a boy, that is to remain always a boy.

- Marcus Tullius Cicero.


The study of history is the beginning of political wisdom.

- Jean Bodin.


A page of history is worth a volume of logic.

- Oliver Wendell Holmes.


He who believes that the past cannot be changed has not yet written his memoirs.

- Torvald Gahlin.


What history teaches us is that men have never learned anything from it.

- Georg Wilhelm Hegel.


History is the sum total of the things that could have been avoided.

- Konrad Adenauer.


History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.

- Abba Eban.


History is always best written generations after the event, when clouded fact and memory have all fused into what can be accepted as truth, whether it be so or not.

- Theodore H. White.


We learn from history that we do not learn from history.

- Hegel.


History is nothing but a pack of lies that we play upon the dead.

- Voltaire.


The history of ideas is the history of the grudges of solitary men.

- E.M. Cioran.


The history of mankind is an immense sea of errors in which a few obscure truths may here and there be found.

- C. Debaccaria.


I long ago came to the conclusion that nothing has ever been definitely proved about anything.

- Noël Coward.


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

- George Santayana.


Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.

- Franklin P. Adams.


We owe to the Middle Ages the two worst inventions of humanity - gunpowder and romantic love.

- Andre Maurois.


Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present.

- Babatunde Olatunji.


A plumber's idea of Cleopatra.
- W.C. Fields, on Mae West.


History is a record of events that didn’t happen - made by someone who wasn’t there.


History teaches us the mistakes we are going to make.


After you hear two eyewitnesses to a car accident, you're not so sure about history.


History is a hard core of interpretation surrounded by a pulp of disputable facts.


History proves nothing.




The moustache of Hitler

Could hardly be littler

Was the thought that kept recurring

To Field Marshal Goering.

- E.C. Bentley.


Hitler:  I don’t want war! All I want is

Peace! Peace! Peace!

(Sings) A little piece of Poland,

A little piece of France,

A little piece of Portugal,

And Austria perchance.

A little slice of Turkey

And all that that entails.

And then a piece of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

- W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman, 1066 and All That.


Do you think Der Führer

Could keep on being Der Führer

If he saw what everybody else sees

Every time he looks in der mührer?

- Ogden Nash.


This man is dangerous; he believes what he says.

- Joseph Goebbels.




Hobbies of any kind are boring except to people who have the same hobby. (This is also true of religion, although you will not find me saying so in print.)

- Dave Barry.


The ultimate camping trip was the Lewis and Clark expedition.

- Dave Barry.


There is a very fine line between ‘hobby’ and ‘mental illness.’

- Dave Barry.


Interviewer: Why, you're a fatalist!

Berra: You mean I collect postage stamps? Not me.

- Yogi Berra.


I have a hobby. I have the world's largest collection of sea shells. I keep it scattered on beaches all over the world. Maybe you've seen some of it.

- Steven Wright.




A good holiday is one spent among people whose notion of time are vaguer than yours.

- J.B. Priestly.


In the United States Christmas has become the rape of an idea.

- Richard Bach.


The proper behaviour all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year's Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you're married to.

- P.J. O'Rourke.


My dad is Irish and my mum is Iranian, which meant that we spent most of our family holidays in Customs.

- Patrick Monahan.


A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking.

- Earl Wilson.


There is nothing so unbecoming on the beach as a wet kilt.




In matters of commerce the role of the Dutch,

Is giving too little and asking too much.

- George Canning.




Hollywood - an emotional Detroit.

- Lillian Gish.


….a delightful trip through a sewer in a glass-bottomed boat.

- Wilson Mizner.


Hollywood is where, if you don’t have happiness, you send out for it.

- Rex Reed.




Jesse Helms and Newt Gingrich were shaking hands congratulating themselves on the introduction of an antigay bill in Congress. If it passes, they won't be able to shake hands, because it will then be illegal for a prick to touch an asshole.

- Judy Carter.


I once had a large gay following, but I ducked into an alleyway and lost him.

- Emo Philips.


Isn't it a violation of the Georgia sodomy law for the Supreme Court to have its head up its ass?

- Letter to Playboy magazine, February 1987.




If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything.

- Mark Twain.


It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.

- Henry Louis Mencken, A Little Book in C Major.


Those who think it is permissible to tell white lies soon grow colour-blind.

- Austin O'Malley.


Pretty much all the honest truth telling there is in the world is done by children.

- Oliver Wendell Holmes.


Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

- Winston Churchill.


The truth is more important than the facts.

- Frank Lloyd Wright.


If we were all given by magic the power to read each other's thoughts, I suppose the first effect would be to dissolve all friendships.

- Bertrand Russel.


Speak the truth, but leave immediately after.

- Slovenian Proverb.


A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

- Mark Twain.


Society can exist only on the basis that there is some amount of polished lying and that no one says exactly what he thinks.

- Lin Yutang.


There's one way to find out if a man is honest - ask him. If he says, "Yes," you know he is a crook.

- Groucho Marx.


It is always the best policy to tell the truth, unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar.

- Jerome K. Jerome.


I am different from Washington; I have a higher, grander standard of principle. Washington could not lie. I can lie, but I won't.

- Mark Twain.


Beware of the half truth. You may have gotten hold of the wrong half.


Always tell the truth. Even if you have to make it up.


Truth fears no questions.




If you can't give me your word of honour, will you give me your promise?

- Samuel Goldwyn.


The louder he talked of his honour, the faster we counted our spoons.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson.


I would rather men should ask why no statue has been erected in my honour, than why one has.

- Marcus Porcius Cato.


In legislative bodies, it is customary to mention all members as honourable; as, "the honourable gentleman is a scurvy cur."

- Ambrose Bierce.




Hope springs eternal in the human heart.

- Alexander Pope.


Hope in reality is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs the torments of man.

- Wilhelm Friedrich Nietzche.


There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.

- O. S. Marden.


Hope is the pillar that holds up the world.

Hope is the dream of the walking man.

- Pliny the Elder.


To travel hopefully is better than to arrive.

- Sir James Jeans.


How deceitful hope may be, yet she carries us on to the end of life.

- Duc de La Rochefoucauld.


We hope vaguely but dread precisely.

- Paul Valéry.


Hope is the most treacherous of human fancies.

- James Fennimore Cooper.


Hope is the only universal liar who never loses his reputation for veracity.

- Robert G. Ingersoll.


In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man's torments.

- Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human.


There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.

- Baruch Spinoza.


Hope is patience with the lamp lit.

- Tertullian.




There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.

- Winston Churchill.


Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.

- W.C. Fields.


It is not enough for a man to know how to ride; he must know how to fall.

- Mexican Proverb.


No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.

- Winston Churchill.


Horses and children, I often think, have a lot of the good sense there is in the world.

- Josephine Demott Robinson.


A horse is dangerous at both ends and uncomfortable in the middle.

- Ian Fleming.




Don't cook. Don't clean. No man will ever make love to a woman because she waxed the linoleum - "My God, the floor's immaculate. Lie down, you hot bitch."

- Joan Rivers.


There was no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn't get any worse.

- Quentin Crisp, The Naked Civil Servant.


The obvious and fair solution to the housework problem is to let men do the housework for, say, the next six thousand years, to even things up. The trouble is that men, over the years, have developed an inflated notion of the importance of everything they do, so that before long they would turn housework into just as much of a charade as business is now. They would hire secretaries and buy computers and fly off to housework conferences in Bermuda, but they'd never clean anything.

- Dave Barry.


Old houses mended,

Cost little less than new before they're ended.

- Colley Cibber.


One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop.

- G.M. Weilacher.




If you wonder where your child left his roller skates, try walking around the house in the dark.

- Leopold Fechtner.


The large print giveth, but the small print taketh away.

- Tom Waits, Small Change.


I find I always have to write something on a steamed mirror.

- Elaine Dundy.


People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

- Dave Barry.


The Act of God designation on all insurance policies... means roughly that you cannot be insured for the accidents that are most likely to happen to you. If your ox kicks a hole in your neighbour’s Maserati, however, indemnity is instantaneous.

- Alan Coren, The Lady from Stalingrad Mansions.


Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he'll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint on it and he'll have to touch it to be sure.


Never do anything that you wouldn't want to explain to the paramedics.


It's frustrating when you know all the answers, but nobody bothers to ask you the questions.


No one is listening until you fart.




No doubt Jack the Ripper excused himself on the grounds that it was human nature.

- A.A. Milne.


It is human nature to think wisely and act foolishly.

- Anatole France.


Don't overestimate the decency of the human race.

- H.L. Mencken.


If I could get my membership fee back, I’d resign from the human race.

- Fred Allen.


Oozing charm from every pore,

He oiled his way across the floor.

- Alan Jay Lerner.


All my misfortunes come from having thought too well of my fellows.

- Jean Jacques Rosseau.




There are a billion people in China. It's not easy to be an individual in a crowd of more than a billion people. Think of it. More than a BILLION people. That means even if you're a one-in-a-million type of guy, there are still a thousand guys exactly like you.

- A. Whitney Brown, The Big Picture.


We are all worms, but I do believe I am a glowworm.

- Winston Churchill.


It is always the secure who are humble.

- Gilbert Keith Chesterton.


None are so empty as those who are full of themselves.

- Benjamin Whichcote.




Wit is educated insolence.

- Aristotle.


Humour is emotional chaos remembered in tranquillity.

- James Thurber.


Wit ought to be a glorious treat, like caviar; never spread it around like marmalade.

- Noël Coward.


Humour is like a frog; if you dissect it, it dies.

- Mark Twain.


Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited.

- John Cleese.


Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.

- W. H. Auden.


You can pretend to be serious; you can’t pretend to be witty.

- Sacha Guitry.


Her Majesty is not a subject.

- Benjamin Disraeli, responding to Gladstone's taunt that Disraeli could make a joke out of any subject, including Queen Victoria.


You grow up the day you have the first real laugh at yourself.

- Ethel Barrymore.


Wits have one thing in common with bores: they recognise at sight and avoid one another, fearing competition.

- Hesketh Pearson.


The inveterate punster follows a conversation as a shark follows a ship.

- Stephen Leacock.


A pun is the lowest form of humour - when you don’t think of it first.

- Oscar Levant.


That is the saving grace of humour, if you fail no one is laughing at you.

- Whitney Brown.


I watch American comedies and they are as funny as a baby with cancer.

- Spike Milligan.


Next to being witty yourself, the best thing is to quote another’s wit.

- Christine N. Bovee.


I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.

- George Bernard Shaw.


After God created the world, He made man and woman. Then, to keep the whole thing from collapsing, He invented humour.

- Bill Kelly, Mordillo.


Humour is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: an awareness that some things are really important, others not; and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs.

- Christopher Morley.


Humour results when society says you can't scratch certain things in public, but they itch in public.

- Tom Walsh.


The secret source of humour itself is not joy, but sorrow. There is no humour in heaven.

- Mark Twain.


Many people are surprised to hear that we have comedians in Russia, but they are there. They are dead, but they are there.

- Yakov Smirnoff.


A pun is the lowest form of humour, unless you thought of it yourself.

- Doug Larson.


Hanging is too good for a man who makes puns; he should be drawn and quoted.

- Fred Allen.


A pun does not commonly justify a blow in return. But if a blow were given for such cause, and death ensued, the jury would be judges both of the facts and of the pun, and might, if the latter were of an aggravated character, return a verdict of justifiable homicide.

- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table.


A pun is not bound by the laws which limit nicer wit. It is a pistol let off at the ear; not a feather to tickle the intellect.

- Charles Lamb, Popular Fallacies: That the Worst Puns are the Best," Last Essays of Elia.


A man who could make so vile a pun would not scruple to pick a pocket.

- John Dennis, 1781.


Humour is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritation and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.

- Mark Twain.


If I had no sense of humour, I would long ago have committed suicide.

- Mahatma Gandhi.


The satirist shoots to kill while the humorist brings his prey back alive and eventually releases him again for another chance.

- Peter De Vries.


Humour is reason gone mad.

- Groucho Marx.


Humour is... despair refusing to take itself seriously.

- Arland Ussher.


Humour is a rubber sword - it allows you to make a point without drawing blood.

- Mary Hirsch.


The kind of humour I like is the thing that makes me laugh for five seconds and think for ten minutes.

- William Davis.


WARNING: Humour may be hazardous to your depression.

- Ellie Katz.


Nothing is more curious than the almost savage hostility that humour excites in those who lack it.

- George Saintsbury.


A sense of humour... is needed armour. Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.

- Hugh Sidey.


A person without a sense of humour is like a wagon without springs - jolted by every pebble in the road.

- Henry Ward Beecher.


There is more logic in humour than in anything else. Because, you see, humour is truth.

- Victor Borge, London Times, 3 January 1984.


When I told my friends I was going to be a comedian, they laughed at me.

- Carrot Top.


Many a true word is spoken in jest.

- English Proverb.


If you don't have a sense of humour, you probably don't have any sense at all.


You laugh at me because I'm different, I laugh at you because you're all the same.


A good pun is its own reword.


Every survival kit should include a sense of humour.


A well-known comedian protests that he is always being told one of his own stories. A clear case of the tale dogging the wag.




Hypocrite: the man who murdered both his parents... pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan.

- Abraham Lincoln.











This web page was last updated on: 24 March, 2011