The Jacana Curmudgeon


Back to Curmudgeon index



Quotations I





You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements, its state of development by the condition of the toilets at the airport, and the advancement of its people by the way they treat their animals.

- Lee Ouzman.


Like it’s politicians and it’s war, society has the teenagers it deserves.

- J.B. Priestly.


If you are not an idealist by the time you are twenty you don’t have a heart, but if you are still an idealist by thirty you don’t have a head.

- Randolph Bourne.


Idealists....foolish enough to throw caution to the winds....have advanced mankind and have enriched the world.

- Emma Goldman.


Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem.

- John Galsworthy.


An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.

- H.L. Mencken.


I am always meeting idealists with very long necks.

- G.K. Chesterton.


Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality the cost becomes prohibitive.




It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.

- William G. McAdoo.


I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer.

- Douglas Adams.


The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

- Bertrand Russell.


Not ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance, is the death of knowledge.

- Alfred North Whitehead.


Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

- Albert Einstein.


What he doesn’t know would make a library anybody would be proud of.


I wonder who came up with the expression, “Ignorance is bliss?” Then again, maybe I’d be happier if I didn’t know.


If ignorance is bliss, why aren’t more people happy?




I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

- Michelangelo.


It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.

- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.


I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.

- Pablo Picasso.


I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

- Albert Einstein.


Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.

- Tom Stoppard.


When you are describing,

A shape, or sound, or tint;

Don't state the matter plainly,

But put it in a hint;

And learn to look at all things,

With a sort of mental squint.

- Lewis Carroll.


Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

- Lewis Carroll.


Things are only impossible until they're not.

- Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation.


When I have a terrible need of - shall I say the word - religion. Then I go out and paint the stars.

- Vincent Van Gogh.


Trust that little voice in your head that says "Wouldn't it be interesting if..." And then do it.

- Duane Michals, More Joy of Photography.


Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun.

- George Scialabba.


It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.

- Henry David Thoreau.


The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.

- Albert Einstein.


I doubt that the imagination can be suppressed. If you truly eradicated it in a child, he would grow up to be an eggplant.

- Ursula K. Le Guin, The Language of the Night.


Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.

- Albert Szent-Györgyi.


When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.

- Tuli Kupferberg.


A fool-proof method for sculpting an elephant: first, get a huge block of marble; then you chip away everything that doesn't look like an elephant


But what if I’m a figment of my OWN imagination.




If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.

- John Kenneth Galbraith, Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went.




Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile.

- Bertrand Russell.


His indecision is final.




No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

- Eleanor Roosevelt.




To have a grievance is to have a purpose in life.

- Eric Hoffer.




Nothing seems to please a fly so much as to be taken for a currant; and if it can be baked in a cake and palmed off on the unwary, it dies happy.

- Mark Twain.


Some primal termite knocked on wood;

and tasted it, and found it good.

That is why your Cousin May

fell through the parlour floor today.

- Ogden Nash.


Two silk worms had a race.  They ended up in a tie.




I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man I have ever met.

- Dwight Lyman Moody.


Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.

- Will Rogers.


You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.

- Henry Ford.


There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball,

And that is to have either a clear conscience or none at all.

- Ogden Nash.


Reputation is character minus what you've been caught doing.

- Michael Iapoce, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Boardroom.


Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed.

- Mark Twain.


The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is.

- G.B. Shaw, Man and Superman.




I wonder why. I wonder why.

I wonder why I wonder.

I wonder WHY I wonder why

I wonder why I wonder!

- Richard P. Feynman.


Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

- Eleanor Rooseveld.


Stop thinking and put an end to your problems.

- Tao Te Ching.


A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.

- Oscar Wilde.


Most people would die sooner than think; in fact, they often do.

- Bertrand Russell.


When ideas fail, words come in very handy.

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.


I think I think, therefore I think I am.

- Ambrose Bierce.


Man's mind, stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.

- Oliver Wendell Holmes.


Do you think my mind is maturing late, or simply rotted early?

- Ogden Nash


Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings.

- C.D. Jackson.


An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.

- Oscar Wilde.


An intellectual is someone who has found something more interesting than sex.

- Edgar Wallace.


No one has ever had an idea in a dress suit.

- Sir Frederick G. Banting.


Ideas shape the course of history.

- John Maynard Keynes.


There is only one way in which a person acquires a new idea: by the combination or association of two or more ideas he already has into a new juxtaposition in such a manner as to discover a relationship among them of which he was not previously aware.

- Francis A. Cartier.


If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.

- George Bernard Shaw.


Anyone who has begun to think places some portion of the world in jeopardy.

- John Dewey.


To die for an idea; it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler it would be if men died for ideas that were true!

- H. L. Mencken.


There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world: and that is an idea whose time has come.

- Victor Hugo.


Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

- Howard Aiken, IBM engineer.


Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first, it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self-evident.

- Arthur Schopenhauer.


The captain’s thoughts raced through his head like paper bags in a hurricane.

- J.B. Morton.


It is discouraging to try to penetrate a mind like yours. You ought to get it out and dance on it. That would take some of the rigidity out of it.

- Mark Twain.


What if nothing exists and we're all in somebody's dream? Or what's worse, what if only that fat guy in the third row exists?

- Woody Allen.


The mind is the most capricious of insects - flitting, fluttering.

- Virginia Woolf.


Do you have trouble making up your mind?

- Well, yes and no.


Ideas won't work unless YOU do.


My mind not only wanders, sometimes it leaves completely.


Never hold your farts in. They travel up your spine, into your brain, and that’s where the shitty ideas come from.


An idea isn’t responsible for the people who believe in it.


I doubt, therefore I might be.




Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.

- Calvin


It is a well-known fact that although the public is fine when taken individually, when it forms itself into large groups, it tends to act as though it has one partially consumed Pez tablet for a brain.

- Dave Barry.


Sharks are as tough as those football fans who take their shirts off during games in Chicago in January, only more intelligent.

- Dave Barry.


I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

- Galileo Galilei.


The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything.

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.


If the Aborigine drafted an I.Q. test, all of Western civilization would presumably flunk it.

- Stanley Garn.


It's a scientific fact that if you stay in California you lose one point of your IQ every year.
- Truman Capote.


I wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence. There's a knob called "brightness", but it doesn't work.


Since light travels faster than sound, isn't that why some people appear bright until you hear them speak?

A beard signifies lice, not brains.
I took an IQ test and the results were negative.
Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.



The Irish: Charming, soft-voiced, quarrelsome, feckless and happily devoid of the slightest integrity in our stodgy English sense of the word.

- Noël Coward.


Geographically, Ireland is a medium-sized rural island that is slowly but steadily being consumed by sheep.

- Dave Barry.


An Irishman believes everything he can't see, and nothing he can...has such great respect for the truth, he only uses it in emergencies...can lick any man in a house he is sole occupant of.

- Jim Murray.


The English should give Ireland home rule - and reserve the motion picture rights.

- Will Rogers.


I showed my appreciation of my native land in the usual Irish way by getting out of it as soon as I possibly could.

- George Bernard Shaw.


Q: What is Irish and loves to be in the backyard, rain or shine, night or day?

A: Patty O'Furniture.


Northern Ireland has a problem for every solution.


What did the Irishman call his pet zebra? Spot!


‘Open this end, Paddy’ - with large arrow pointing to the rear end of an Irish articulated lorry.




The average Italian….is a cowardly baritone who consumes 78.3 kilometres of carbohydrates a month and drives about in a car slightly smaller than he is, looking for a divorce.

- Alan Coren.


Streets flooded. Please advise.

- Robert Benchley, telegram to home on arriving in Venice.


What would you call it when an Italian has one arm shorter than the other?
A speech impediment.











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