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The Letter H Whitespace Habit Happiness Hate Health Heaven Robert A. Heinlein Hell Heroism Hesitation History Hobbies Hollywood Home Homeland Security Homosexuality Honesty Honeymoon Honour Hope Houses Housework Human Nature Human Rights Humour Hungarians Hypocrisy Whitespace Whitespace
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Habit (n): A shackle for the free.

Ambrose Bierce

The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.

Samuel Johnson

One will not go far wrong if one attributes extreme actions to vanity, average ones to habit, and petty ones to fear.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Nothing so needs reforming as other people's bad habits.

Mark Twain

Happiness is merely the remission of pain.


Happiness is a way station between too much and too little.


Happiness (n): An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.

Ambrose Bierce

Happiness, whether in business or in private life, leaves very little trace in history.

Fernand Braudel

Happiness is a perfume which you cannot pour on someone without getting some on yourself.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

The glad man is he who does not lose his child's heart.

K'ung Fu-tse

Happiness isn't something you experience, it's something you remember.

Oscar Levant

In this world of sin and sorrow, there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.

H.L. Mencken

Weight-and-Balance Happiness Scale Theory: Your brain's Weight-and-Balance Happiness Scale automatically weighs every known alternative available to you at any given moment and chooses the one it believes will bring you the most happiness. The rationality or irrationality of its beliefs will be based on the rationality or irrationality of your input.

Robert J. Ringer

Anything you're good at contributes to happiness.

Bertrand Russell

A person cannot make another happy, but he can certainly make him unhappy. This is the main reason why there is more unhappiness than happiness in the world.

Thomas Szasz

The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.

Eldridge Cleaver

I did a column a few weeks ago on McDonald's, and why they suck, and I got letters that said I was a wretched example of rectal flora just for going there once a month. It's odd: the hate-mail I get from the far right always has the flavor of someone who is half in the bag and having fun hating my guts; the far-left hate mail sounds like it comes from people who are miserably sober and bitterly regretting the fact that they have to waste time flaying my boil-flecked bodkin, but if they don't, the planet is DOOMED.

James Lileks

It is human nature to hate him whom you have injured.

Publius Cornelius Tacitus


[T]he strict bodily standards set by supermodels and top Hollywood stars dictate that no woman is supposed to weigh more than her lipstick.

How do these celebrities stay so impossibly thin? Simple: They have full-time personal trainers, who advise them on nutrition, give them pep talks, and shoot them with tranquilizer darts whenever they try to crawl, on hunger-weakened limbs, toward the packet of rice cakes that constitutes the entire food supply in their 37,000-square- foot mansions. For most celebrities, the biggest meal of the day is toothpaste (they use reduced-fat Crest).

Dave Barry

Most of us men have no problem parading around the beach in a bathing suit, even if it reveals that we have enough spare belly tissue to create a whole new person. What is our secret? Why are we so secure about our bodies? Simple: We have no idea what our bodies look like.

Dave Barry

I'm glad sunscreen has been shown to be associated with more skin cancer rather than less. It's not in the mainstream media yet, but the biggest jump in skin cancer has occurred since the advent of sunscreens. That kind of thing makes me happy. The fact that people, in pursuit of a superficial look of health, give themselves a fatal disease. I love it when "reasoning" human beings think they have figured out how to beat something and it comes right back and kicks them in the nuts. God bless the law of unintended consequences. And the irony is impressive: Healthy people, trying to look healthier, make themselves sick. Good!

George Carlin

[The] "Best Butt on the Beach!" headline ran a few months ago, during the preseason YOU ARE A FAT PIG OOZING WITH PIG FAT, YOU FAT PIG series of magazines aimed at that tender demographic desperately concerned with winning the best-beach-butt award. My favorite cover story from this spring: How Lucy Liu Gets Her Bikini Bod! I'd guess it has something to do with being under 35, with training six hours a day, avoiding everything except dehydrated watercress, and knowing that a thousand women skinnier than her get off the bus in LA every day. Not lessons the rest of us can learn, I fear.

James Lileks

Heaven (n): A place where the wicked cease from troubling you with talk of their personal affairs, and the good listen with attention while you expound your own.

Ambrose Bierce

Elysium (n): An imaginary delightful country which the ancients foolishly believed to be inhabited by the spirits of the good. This ridiculous and mischievous fable was swept off the face of the earth by the early Christians may their souls be happy in Heaven!

Ambrose Bierce

The old concept of a Heaven flowing with milk and honey has been pretty generally abandoned by the more advanced wings of Christians; indeed, it is now resigned to Southern share-croppers and Mohammedans. The bliss of the saved is now reduced to the joy of living in the presence of Yahveh. This is supposed to be superior to the old wallowing in music and venery. It is, however, almost as imbecile. In essence it is simply the magnification of the ecstasy of a moron standing in the presence of a Truman or a movie star.

H.L. Mencken

Fishbowl Theory: Your chances of getting ahead in life and going to Heaven after life are directly proportionate to the degree to which you live every moment as though the whole world were watching.

Robert J. Ringer

Called everything from fascist to pornographer in his time, Heinlein is now recognizable as a particular sort of conservative, one who would get along well with Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, and Barry Goldwater. He was a man's man; a religious skeptic; an agrarian sentimentalist heavily influenced by the frontier, or the idea thereof; and a keen exponent of armed politeness, particularly in foreign affairs. You can recognize this sort of fellow by asking which side he would have taken in the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. RAH, certainly, would have picked up a musket and joined the moonshiners.

Heinlein may be best known for the pulp novel (1959) that served as the basis of Paul Verhoeven's movie Starship Troopers (1997). This book was one of the great genre-benders of the century. Throughout the 1950s Heinlein had been writing subversive, experimental ruminations on politics disguised cleverly as mass-market novels for young people.

Colby Cosh

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.


The Second Law: Hell must be isothermal; for otherwise the resident engineers and physical chemists (of which there must be some) could set up a heat engine to run a refrigerator to cool off a portion of their surroundings to any desired temperature.

Henry Albert Bent

Hades (n): The lower world; the residence of departed spirits; the place where the dead live.Among the ancients the idea of Hades was not synonymous with our Hell, many of the most respectable men of antiquity residing there in a very comfortable kind of way. Indeed, the Elysian Fields themselves were a part of Hades, though they have since been removed to Paris. When the Jacobean version of the New Testament was in the process of evolution the pious and learned men engaged in the work insisted by a majority vote on translating the Greek word Aidhz as "Hell"; but a conscientious minority member secretly possessed himself of the record and struck out the objectionable word wherever he could find it. At the next meeting, the Bishop of Salisbury, looking over the work, suddenly sprang to his feet and said with considerable excitement: "Gentlemen, somebody has been razing "Hell" here!" Years afterward, the good prelate's death was made sweet by the reflection that he had been the means (under Providence) of making an important, serviceable and immortal addition to the phraseology of the English tongue.

Ambrose Bierce

Every man is his own hell.

H.L. Mencken

Hell is other people at breakfast.

Jean-Paul Sartre

If I owned Hell and Texas, too, I'd rent out Texas and live in Hell!

William Tecumseh Sherman

Ovation (n): In ancient Rome, a definite, formal pageant in honour of one who had been disserviceable to the enemies of the nation. A lesser "triumph." In modern English the word is improperly used to signify any loose and spontaneous expression of popular homage to the hero of the hour and place.

Ambrose Bierce

Glory is largely a theatrical concept. There is no striving for glory without a vivid awareness of an audience — the knowledge that our mighty deeds will come to the ears of our contemporaries or "of those who are to be". We are ready to sacrifice our true, transitory self for the imaginary eternal self we are building up, by our heroic deeds, in the opinion and imagination of others.

Eric Hoffer

He who hesitates is sometimes saved.

James Thurber

Hesitate or fumble and you are done for. Think only of the jump.

Virginia Woolf

The historian must not try to know what is truth, if he values his honesty; for if he cares for his truths, he is certain to falsify his facts.

Henry Adams

Historian (n): A broad-gauge gossip.

Ambrose Bierce

Posterity (n): An appellate court which reverses the judgement of a popular author's contemporaries, the appellant being his obscure competitor.

Ambrose Bierce

History (n): An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.

Ambrose Bierce

There are always some areas world history does not reach, zones of silence and undisturbed ignorance.

Fernand Braudel

God cannot alter the past; that is why he is obliged to connive at the existence of historians.

Samuel Butler

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

History being a seamless robe, it is impossible to pinpoint exactly when British cultural autophagy started. There never was (thank goodness) a golden age of such supreme cultural confidence that it banished all doubts about the value of the inherited cultural tradition. Far from it: as George Orwell long ago pointed out, the English are the one great nation whose intellectuals have been almost uniformly ashamed of their nationality.

Theodore Dalrymple

[I]n the various branches (feminist, black, gay, and so on) of academic resentment studies, [. . .] history is nothing but the backward projection of current grievances, real or imagined, used to justify and inflame resentment.

Theodore Dalrymple

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

Abba Eban

I am ashamed to see what a shallow village tale our so-called history is.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

History records the names of royal bastards, but cannot tell us the origin of wheat.

Jean Henri Fabre

It is pleasant to be transferred from an office where one is afraid of a sergeant-major into an office where one can intimidate generals, and perhaps this is why history is so attractive to the more timid among us.

E.M. Forster

History never looks like history when you are living through it. It always looks confusing and messy, and it always looks uncomfortable.

John W. Gardner

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

Edward Gibbon

A generation which ignores history has no past and no future.

Robert A. Heinlein

America, too, seems as subject to history as ever. Abandoning the belief that it's always possible to keep thuggish regimes in check with words and bribes, it is returning to military activism, seeking to impose democracy — or at least some kind of decent government — on former terrorist-sponsoring nations, instead of waiting for the end of history somehow to make it spring up. Sure, postmodern, peroxide-topped Jasons and tongue-pierced Nicoles sulk at malls from coast to coast — bored, materialistic Fukuyamans all. But by contrast there are those American teens of the Third Mechanized Division, wearing their Ray-Bans and blaring rock, who rolled through Iraq like Patton's Third Army reborn, pursuing George W. Bush's vision of old-fashioned military victory, liberation, and nation building.

Victor Davis Hanson

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons history has to teach.

Aldous Huxley

It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature.

Henry James

The story [. . .] is a long and sordid one, of no interest to anyone, least of all myself. And there are still too many people alive, and beyond my immediate reach, who Know Things and could make a revisionist history damned awkward for me.

John Kula

[H]istory is a catalogue of mistakes. It is our duty to profit by them.

Basil H. Liddell Hart

[I]t is the individual efforts of a small group of rather ordinary human beings, and not vague forces of destiny, that get things done.

Albro Martin

Historian: an unsuccessful novelist.

H.L. Mencken

The historian's first duties are sacrilege and the mocking of false gods. They are his indispensable instruments for establishing the truth.

Jules Michelet

Those who do not learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them.

Jorge Santayana

The use of history as therapy means the corruption of history as history.

Arthur Schlesinger

I think I'll just stick with irony and sarcasm as historical analytical tools. It's way easier to do and harder to refute.

Dick Shay

What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race?

Thomas Sowell

Every nation, every people have an agenda, either conscious or unconscious. Those who do not become the victim of other people's agendas

Arnold Toynbee

The poetry of history lies in the quasi-miraculous fact that once on this earth, on this familiar spot of ground walked other men and women as actual as we are today, thinking their own thoughts, swayed by their own passions but now all gone, vanishing after another, gone as utterly as we ourselves shall be gone like ghosts at cockcrow.

G.M. Trevelyan

The great achievements of the past were the adventures of the past. Only the adventurous can understand the greatness of the past.

Alfred North Whitehead

History is crystal clear on one point, and that is that power — the exercise of raw military and political force — is the only effective cure for dictators and fascists, whatever flag they fly. It is not only morally justified to confront such evil; it is immoral not to do so.

Bill Whittle

There is no perfect power. There is only human power. History shows that the best we can hope for is that the most decent, least flawed power — the British, for example — will, despite their horrors and massacres, displace people who are far, far worse.

Bill Whittle

I have interests, not hobbies. Hobbies cost money. Interests are free.

George Carlin

"Follow your own bliss."

Oh, give me a break. Cry me a river, liberal. Sheesh.

What this hobby needs is DISCIPLINE. If we were all a little more DISCIPLINED, we'd all be a lot HAPPIER with our modelling.

We'd get things DONE.

We'd be happier about the things we've done because we'd know they were DONE RIGHT.

This hobby needs to get away from the touchy-feely do-it-your-own-way-because-it's-your-railroad bullshit and FIRMLY ESTABLISH THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE RIGHT WAY TO DO THINGS.

There is only ONE RIGHT WAY to build benchwork.

There is only ONE RIGHT WAT to lay and ballast track.

There is only ONE RIGHT WAY to build and paint cars.

Once we're all following THE DISCIPLINED REGIMEN DEVISED BY THE HOBBY EXPERTS will we all be really able to enjoy this hobby.

Otherwise, we will continue to wallow around in the moral filth and decriptitude that presently permeates this pathetic passtime. I am sick and tired of going to clubs and home layouts and seeing piss poor models that run like hell and being REQUIRED BY THE TOUCHY-FEELY POLITICALLY CORRECT NONSENSE THAT PASSES FOR FELLOWSHIP IN THIS HOBBY to say "Wow, that really looks good! Good effort!"

Enough already!

Jonathan Piasecki

I though that with a new son I'd be able to convince myself to get going with a "for the Nibblet" argument. But I keep asking myself: do I really want my kid exposed to this hobby? He seems to be a bright baby. Everyone, even our doctor, comments that he seems to be a advanced for his age (whatever that means — at this stage it could simply mean that he's outgrown stuffing his hands down his diaper and ingesting whatever he finds down there). Do I really want to expose a bright and happy kid to the decrepit old misogynistic inbred jackasses that permeate the hobby? Hell, he sees enough of that from his dad — he does not need any more of that in a hobby.

I want something better for my son. And I don't think model railroading is it.

Jonathan Piasecki

Oh come on now, drop the charade. Model railroading and ESPECIALLY railroad modelling is about outdoing your rivals to claim bragging rights and a possibly lucrative contract with a manufacturer for the use of your models in their ads. This is not about FUN — this is about DOMINANCE! This is about a tooth-and-nail fight to a bloody-and-painful limbs-broken-and-testicles-pulled death to claim the coveted Alpha Modeller position within the hobby. It's about competition, pure and simple.

Let's not pretendotherwise.

Oh, sure, there are all those wonks who go on about the fellowship the hobby has provided — which is, in itself, yet another dominance game: the fellowship claim is a competition to see who can have the most "big names" attend an operating session. Again, the goal is the same: utter dominance of the hobby's lower social strata.

About which I can only say: I understand how. I do not understand why.

Jonathan Piasecki

We all know what toy train conventions and shows are like: convention halls thick with the smell of unwashed bodies and hot with a humid miasma that can only come from a great mass of mouth breathers. The whole place smells like the folds in a twenty-dollar hooker's crotch during a July heatwave — it's a smell you can taste, and a taste you can feel. You come away from the show feeling dirty and greasy, certain that you have caught something — certain that other people's grime is now embedded in your pores, burrowing into your skin like a living thing.

In contrast, I can only imagine what a ship modellers' convention must be like. The only image that comes to mind is a wine and cheese reception in a university don's mahogany-panelled reception room, followed by, perhaps, a little light reading from Goethe. I have the sense that there is a lot of tweed at a gathering of ship modellers.

I would switch hobbies if I could, but I don't think they would have me.


Jonathan Piasecki

What we need is a catchy slogan — how about we all vote on the two contenders below:

  • "Model Railroading Makes Your Wife Think Less of You"
  • "Give It Up, Why Don't You?"
  • "Oh, Come On Now — Setting Up A Loop of Track And Labelling It 'Boston, 1932' Does NOT Make Your Toy Train Set An Historical Document!"
  • "What Sort of Wuss Are You, Anyway?"
  • "Conveniently Sized So You Can Slip Your Copy Of Maxim Inside The Cover And Look At All The Nudie Pictures On Public Transit"
  • "You Just Dropped Two Hundred Bucks on a Plastic Locomotive — Don't You Feel Even Just a Little Bit Like a Fool?"
Ooopsies, that's more than two.

Man, I gotta stop before I burst a vein or something.

Jonathan Piasecki

Of course, given how prestigious this hobby is, I suspect a lot of folks already buy it retail . . . artistically hidden by a less-socially harmful magazine like "Tractor Maintenance Monthly", "Maxxim" or "Hustler". People will stare at you for being the kind of nutbar who would openly buy a copy of something as shameful and degrading as "Model Railroader", right?

Nicholas Russon

Have not the wisest of men in all ages, not excepting Solomon himself, — have they not had their Hobby-Horses; — their running horses, — their coins and their cockle-shells, their drums and their trumpets, their fiddles, their pallets, — their maggots and their butterflies? — and so long as a man rides his Hobby-Horse peaceably and quietly along the King's highway, and neither compels you or me to get up behind him, — pray, Sir, what have either you or I to do with it?

Lawrence Sterne

A Beautiful Mind is "based on" the life of John Forbes Nash, Jr. — "based on" being Hollywood parlance for, "The guy was way nuttier and far less eloquent than we make him seem in this picture. Plus, we invent a whole bunch of stuff that never actually happened. But other than that, it's kind of true. In places."

Scott Feschuk

For all its faults, [Dog Day Afternoon] seemed to be about real people and a real place. It makes contemporary movies look like cartoons. Which they generally are. It's as if gravity and truth were leached out of the moviemaker's craft a frame at a time, replaced with Dolby bombast. What happened?

James Lileks

I also find it unusual that nearly everyone in Hollywood describes the place as a sinkhole of venality, selfishness, crudity, anti-intellectualism and the triumph of crass commerce - and yet it is populated entirely by liberals who are convinced that if Republicans ruled, the world would be a sinkhole of venality, selfishness, crudity, anti- intellectualism and the triumph of crass commerce. Which it probably would, but it would be a damn sight more honest about it all.

James Lileks

Revolution with Al Pacino is high on my epitome of bad scale. What a mess of a movie from any point of view - historicity, direction, acting. Unless you've seen it, it is hard to describe. They should have called it "Yo Redcoat". At any minute I expected Ol' Al to start chanting "Attica, Attica".

Rob Markham

[Hollywood] is the true and original arse-hole of creation. The movie dogs, compared with the rest of the population, actually seem like an ancient Italian noblesse.

H.L. Mencken

Home is where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.

Lois McMaster Bujold

"Homeland Security" imposed by a fascist government is a hollow sham with an ulterior motive. Spy cameras at every intersection, fingerprints and retinal scans at the bank, electronic implants in our children, x-rays, anal probes, and wand-rape at the airports are worse than the problems they have failed to prevent.

L. Neil Smith

The very idea that gay people are trying to tear down marriage is nonsense; heterosexual people are doing quite fine on their own in that regard and hardly need the assistance of others. Gay people have not caused the divorce rate to soar. Gay people haven't caused the rise in single-parent families. To make gay people the scapegoat for the problems that plague modern marriage is absurd on its face.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

. . .naive researchers seek genetic or even more complicated "causes" for mere homosexuality . . . of the species whose members don't even discriminate which *kingdom* they attempt congress with. If we don't need a special explanation for gourds, why do we need one for gays?

Lois McMaster Bujold

Male homosexuality, in particular, seems to possess some quality of being intrinsically subversive when let loose in long-established institutions, especially male dominated ones.

John Derbyshire

Gays may be different, but they're still men. That means they think about sex constantly, and they're not as likely to require that sexual activity take place within lasting relationships. And when gay men get together, there are no women there to apply the brakes. So what happens? Here's what happens. In a society where a straight male is lucky to have ten partners a year, a gay man can have ten in a night without so much as buying a drink.

Steve H.

If you're an atheist, gay sex is very, very hard to condemn. It's consensual (except in prisons, boarding schools, fraternities, certain Catholic churches, and at Neverland Ranch), people seem to enjoy it, and it's good aerobic exercise. I think a rational person can only criticize it from a religious perspective, because outside of that context, it's just something you do with your body, and it shouldn't concern other people unless it harms them in some way.

Steve H.

For conservative commentators to suggest that gays are to blame for all the problems in heterosexual relationships is ridiculous. It is precisely this kind of bigotry and scapegoating of minorities that gives all of us on the political Right a bad name.

Nick Kinsey

If you hated the 1960s and its "homosexual agenda" (thank you, Justice Scalia), you are going to love Bailey's theory. As the guys down at the VFW hall say, queers are just sissy guys; and a guy who wants to become a woman is either just another homo or just another loony. Bailey, to be fair, doesn't share all the scientific and political ideas of his allies the veterans, the homophobes, and the religious right. He wouldn't attack gays and gender crossers with a lead pipe, and I guess he doesn't think God hates fags. Some of his best buddies, after all, are gay or transgendered. Bailey is a very feeling guy. In fact, he spends a lot of time hanging around the less reputable gay bars in Chicago's Boys' Town. Doing research.

Deirdre McCloskey

The conservatives want to return to the 1950s in a 2003 form, with summer camps to butch up the sissy boys and feminize the tomboys, with psychiatrists closing down gender reassignment programs (thus the sad case of Johns Hopkins), with gays back in the closet. Bailey is part of the conservative revolt against the "permissive" society — that is, a society in which you can do what you want if it doesn't harm someone else. Sexual conservatives are not libertarians.

Deirdre McCloskey

[S]aying that homosexuality is wrong has increasingly become the defining public characteristic of evangelical Protestants. Publicly disapproving of gays separates them from popular culture " and, hence, reinforces religious commitment " while exacting little personal toll. When I was a kid, evangelical churches disapproved of dancing, of rock music, of working women, of divorce. Now they incorporate all of those elements in their church programs. (They still don't like divorce " who does? " but today's evangelical churches not only have programs for divorced members, they even arrange their buildings' security so non-custodial parents can't swipe the kids.) What's left? Gays. That's why pastors tend to talk so much about them.

Virginia Postrel

According to a poll taken last year, 43 percent of Americans believe homosexual relations between consenting adults should be illegal. That's to say, never mind gay marriage, gays in the military, gay partner benefits, but just plain old-fashioned gay sex should be verboten. Of the remaining 57 percent prepared to tolerate legal homosexuality, it's fair to say a reasonable chunk believe ''tolerance'' means that, when a couple of fellers move into your apartment building, you turn up the volume on Lawrence Welk and ignore the vibrating chandelier. It doesn't mean you want to see gay newlyweds posing for snaps on the church common.

Mark Steyn

"Homosexuality" is the name we give to the preference for sexual intercourse with members of one's own sex. Would calling preference for marriage with members of one's own race and religion "homoraciality" and "homoreligiosity" make them mental diseases? Would the members of the American Psychiatric Association vote on whether or not they are mental diseases?

Thomas Szasz

Honesty is almost always the best policy.


The basic rule of the City is that if you're incompetent you have to be honest and if you're crooked you have to be clever. If you're honest, the chaps will rally round you when you cock things up, and if you're clever they'll never have to find out you're crooked.

Sir Humphrey Appleby

City chaps don't mind people being honest, but trying to stop other people being dishonest is going a bit far.

Sir Humphrey Appleby

The City and the Civil Service both follow the Decent Chap rule: "Decent chaps don't check up on decent chaps to see they're behaving decently."

Sir Humphrey Appleby

[B]uzzwords and sincerity don't often go together. I find it's a general rule.

Bruce Byfield

Take note, take note, O world! To be direct and honest is not safe.
Othello Act III, Scene iii

William Shakespeare

The honeymoon is the time during which the bride believes the bridegroom's word of honor.

H.L. Mencken

Honor is the prize of virtue, and is paid to nonebut the good.


An honor is not diminished for being shared.

Lois McMaster Bujold

Hope is the pathological belief in the occurrence of the impossible.

H.L. Mencken

Hope is the pillar that holds up the world. Hope is the dream of a waking man.

Pliny the Elder

To me, a million dollar house is the sort of grand mini-Versailles occupied by the Clampetts. A long driveway, a cement pond, acres of grounds, butlers' quarters, all nestled by the side of a private lake with a secret underground lair reached by monorail. A million dollars to live in an old warehouse whose floors have authentic scars from authentic hooks dragged by authentic WW1 era workers who had to pause periodically and cough up authentic blood because they had authentic Tuberculosis does not strike me as a millionaire lifestyle.

James Lileks

It's one of those irregular verbs: my house is charmingly innovative, yours is tacky, his is an eyesore.

Louann Miller

Let's just say this: I've had a few rooms get away from me in my lifetime. They've hit that point where all you can do is throw in a grenade and forfeit the damage deposit. Now I'm a different man, and I appreciate the fleeting but savory illusion of control over disorder and mortality that comes from a half-hour spent under the sink, nabbing errant coffee grounds with a tweezer.

James Lileks

Cleaning, like seduction, should be done from the top down — starting with the ceiling, which is ridiculous. Gravity takes care of that.

P.J. O'Rourke

For some mysterious Darwanian reason, women feel compelled to straighten up bedrooms before and after sex. Try to make love in every other room of the house.

P.J. O'Rourke

Keeping house is as unpleasant and filthy as coal mining, and the pay's a lot worse.

P.J. O'Rourke

Women make their beds each morning and they assume everyone — criminals on the lam, animals in their burrows — does the same.

P.J. O'Rourke

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

Douglas Adams

There are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.


One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.

Jane Austen

People can be divided into two classes: those who believe that people can be divided into two classes, and those who do not.

Herb Caen

Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm — but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.

T.S. Eliot

Would you win the hearts of others, you must not seem to vie with them, but to admire them. Give them every opportunity of displaying their own qualifications, and when you have indulged their vanity, they will praise you in turn and prefer you above others. [. . .] Such is the vanity of mankind that minding what others say is a much surer way of pleasing them than talking well ourselves.

Benjamin Franklin

The Greeks accepted the idea that we all get old, there's certain things that we can't change, human nature is constant throughout the ages and therefore certain things will always be with us-war, pestilence, the fact that individuals are capable of pretty awful things without civilization and culture.

Victor Davis Hanson

"How sweet is mortal Sovranty!" — think some:
Others — "How blest the Paradise to come!"
Ah, take the Cash in hand and waive the Rest;
Oh, the brave music of a distant Drum!

Omar Khayyam

A blind faith in the importance of fairness is what has led the human race to its current insanity over Political Correctness. Fairness be damned.

John Kula

Evil is that which one believes of others. It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake.

H.L. Mencken

Syllogisms a la Mode: If you are against labor racketeers, then you are against the working man. If you are against demagogues, then you are against democracy. If you are against Christianity, then you are against God. If you are against trying a can of Old Dr. Quack's Cancer Salve, then you are in favour of letting Uncle Julius die.

H.L. Mencken

The war on privilege will never end. Its next great campaign will be against the special privileges of the underprivileged.

H.L. Mencken

The aim of a joke is not to degrade the human being but to remind him that he is already degraded.

George Orwell

I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man's being unable to sit still in a room.

Blaise Pascal

It was the seat and soul of that force which, down the millennia, had caused mankind to stick its fingers in the electric light socket of the Universe and play with the switch to see what happened — and then be very surprised when it did.

Terry Pratchett

People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else."

Terry Pratchett

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

Bertrand Russell

Humanity is composed but of two categories, the invalids and the nurses.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan

We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did.

Thomas Sowell

Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain.

Lily Tomlin

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

Mark Twain

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.

Johann W. von Goethe

Respect is not a civil right; it is an attitude of approval and admiration. No one can claim a "right" to the emotional or intellectual approval of anyone else. Indeed, to mandate such respect is to violate rights because human beings should be free to assess what is right or wrong, admirable or detestable for themselves. And, then, peacefully live according to their assessments.

Wendy McElroy

. . .police in many lands are now complaining that local arrestees are insisting on having their Miranda rights read to them, just like perps in American TV cop shows. When it's explained to them that they are in a different country, where those rights do not exist, they become outraged. Starsky and Hutch reruns, dubbed into diverse languages, may turn out, in the long run, to be a greater force for human rights than the Declaration of Independence.

Neal Stephenson

Witticism (n): A sharp and clever remark, usually quoted, and seldom noted; what the Philistine is pleased to call a joke.

Ambrose Bierce

Humorist (n): A plague that would have softened down the hoar austerity of Pharaoh's heart and persuaded him to dismiss Israel with his best wishes, cat-quick.

Ambrose Bierce

Most humour is cynical by its very nature.

Berke Breathed

A pun is the lowest form of humor . . . when you don't think of it first.

Oscar Levant

People who say HOW (blank) was it? are just admitting they've tested positive for lameness, and think that recycling Nixon-era "Tonight Show" gags is the height of wit. If you are one of those people, seek help, because every one of your friends winces whenever you do this. Sad. So very sad.

James Lileks

Sense of humour: A thread of illuminated intelligence that links two opposite ideas.

Tom Masson

Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.

Will Rogers

Wit is the sudden marriage of ideas which before their union were not perceived to have any relation.

Mark Twain

A Hungarian is someone who can enter a revolving door after you and come out ahead of you.

Groucho Marx

Now that [baby boomers are] in charge of the university, the rules have changed. As students, they were members of free-speech movements; now that they've earned tenure, they have become advocates of speech codes. Radicals when they were on the bottom, they've become censors when they're on top. And they see no discrepancy in their actions.

Daphne Patai

Not one film star is making an effort to got to Iraq to actually do something for the millions who suffered under Saddam. The antiwar movement was a fad for moral lightweights eager to portray themselves as heroes.

Ralph Peters

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