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Archives for 1997

Quotes of the Week: Egocentricism

December 28th, 1997 by Laura Moncur in Quotations

I should be writing a section on the New Year in the Western world, but I just can’t get myself to do it. January first doesn’t mark the year’s beginning in all parts of this world and I can’t talk about new beginnings when I’m aware that it doesn’t mean that to everyone. Of course, I talk about Halloween and Christmas as if everyone knew what these holidays meant. I talk about the flu in the cold of winter when it’s summer in Argentina. How do I look past myself and my little world to see the big picture? How do I put aside my large biases on this small planet?

Maybe I shouldn’t. What does a writer do, but to describe the world around her as best as she can? If I worry about the New Year in Hong Kong when I’m trying to write about the New Year in the United States, am I able to fully tell the story of the resolutions and promises of a Utahan? If Jane Austen had taken a page or two to describe the life of the servants of Emma, would the story have been as vivid? I’m not proposing that egocentricism is correct. Other cultures are just as important as the one in which I am immersed, but I am fully unable to comment on them. I can only report life around me, and my yearly resolution is to do just that.

Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”
Cyril Connolly

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
George Bernard Shaw

“The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.”
Sir Richard F. Burton

“Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself.”
Jane Wagner

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”
Frederick Douglass

“Doubt yourself and you doubt everything you see. Judge yourself and you see judges everywhere. But if you listen to the sound of your own voice, you can rise above doubt and judgment. And you can see forever.”
Nancy Kerrigan
Truth is truth, no matter who says it.

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?”
Rabbi Hillel, 12th Century

For more information about Self Improvement, try these links:

  • Self Improvement Online – This site provides a weekly collection of inspirational quotes and a list of links to inspirational quote pages. There is also information on any sort of therapy available (bogus and not so bogus), from Aromatherapy to Yoga.

  • The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:
    • Forever, Erma : Best-Loved Writing from America’s Favorite Humorist Paperback by Erma Bombeck – Writings from a woman who was never scared to talk about the intricacies of American life.
    • Life 101 Hardcover by Peter McWilliams – Reading one of his books is tantamount to reading them all, but this is the one I recommend. A wonderfully positive book with lots of quotations to make you feel good about what he’s saying.
  • Quotes of the Week: The Holiday Season

    December 21st, 1997 by Laura Moncur in Quotations

    A frenzy starts every year at this time in the United States. I like to think that other countries don’t have this problem, but considering that Christmas has been around since the year 336, well before the United States was a glimmer in Spain’s eye, I’m sure other countries endure the madness also. I think there are two things that irritate me the most about this season: traffic and the holiday’s duration.

    Trying to go anywhere is compounded with difficulty during the Holiday Season because so many people are out getting Christmas presents, but that irritation is minor compared to the sight of Christmas ornaments and paraphernalia at Halloween time. As I’ve said in the past, Halloween is my favorite holiday. To see it consumed by the Christmas season bothers me to no end. I think that’s why I love the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton. In that movie, Christmas gets eaten by Halloween, as it should.

    The following are some humorous quotes about one of my least favorite holidays.

    Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

    “In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukka’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukka!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!’”
    Dave Barry, Christmas Shopping: A Survivor’s Guide

    “May our nation continue to be the beakon of hope to the world.”
    The Quayles’ 1989 Christmas card.
    Not a beacon of literacy, however.

    “The parent who gets down on the floor to play with a child on Christmas Day is usually doing a most remarkable thing — something seldom repeated during the rest of the year. These are, after all, busy parents committed to their work or their success in the larger society, and they do not have much left-over time in which to play with their children.”
    Brian Sutton-Smith

    “I bought my brother some gift-wrap for Christmas. I took it to the Gift Wrap department and told them to wrap it, but in a different print so he would know when to stop unwrapping.”
    Steven Wright

    “How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, his precepts! O! ’tis easier to keep holidays than commandments.”
    Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1732-57

    “People can’t concentrate properly on blowing other people to pieces properly if their minds are poisoned by thoughts suitable to the twenty-fifth of December.”
    Ogden Nash, ‘Merry Christmas, Nearly Everybody!’, I’m a Stranger Here Myself, 1938

    “If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work.”
    William Shakespeare, The First Part of Henry IV, 1597-98
    The best reason The Holiday Season should start December first instead of October first, in my opinion.

    For more information about Christmas, try these links:

    • Christmas Unwrapped – The History Channel’s exhibit on Christmas.
    • The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:
      • The Nightmare Before Christmas VHS Tape – This masterpiece of animation from the mind of Tim Burton tells the tale of Jack, the Pumpkin King and resident of Halloween Town. In an effort to show his fellow citizens the wonders of Christmas, he steals Christmas and kidnaps Santa. The perfect revenge for a holiday that has already consumed Thanksgiving and is well on the way to eating another, beloved holiday. Great price from Amazon.com for $13.49!
      • 4000 Years of Christmas : A Gift from the Ages Hardcover by Earl W. Count, Alice Lawson Count, Dan Wakefield (Introduction) – A historical look at this holiday and its pagan origins.
      • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Hardcover by Barbara Robinson – This is considered a children’s book, and in fact, that’s when I read it, but it is such a wonderful story, that I feel compelled to recommend it. The Herdmans are a family of miscreants who had never heard about the Christmas story, yet take over the Christmas pageant. Despite the worries of the church-going folk, it turns out to be just as the title implies. Placing myself in the role of the Herdman family (we didn’t celebrate Christmas when I was a child), I cried when I read this book.
      • New Wave Christmas Audio Music CD by Various Artists – Great Christmas music for the few of us that enjoyed the music of the eighties. It includes: Mary Xmess by Sun 60, Shouldn’t Have Given Him a Gun for Christmas by Wall of Voodoo and, my favorite, One Christmas Catalogue [Too Many] by Captain Sensible. I went to every record store in the city searching for this thing last year, but you can get it from Amazon.com for $8.39.
    • I Hate Bloody Christmas! – A well-written treatise on the decadence and uselessness of the holiday. It is difficult to read because of the oddly colored background, but aside from that, a perfect Bah Humbug proving that Great Britain has the same problems as the United States.
    • Christmas in NYC – A bare-faced look at the commercialism and decadence of a holiday gone mad.

    Quotes of the Week: Jane Austen

    December 15th, 1997 by Laura Moncur in Biography

    I’m not a frilly girl. I don’t like dresses or pretty things. I fantasize about setting fires more than men. I enjoy learning about hoaxes and scams much more than learning about manners and correct speech. I find no interest in romance, because I’m too busy accruing interest in finance. I enjoy my life as a woman who can do whatever she wants in this world. Why, then, do I like Jane Austen’s novels?

    I believe that the appeal of her work to me is the incredible wittiness of her women. I try to be funny, but fail most of the time. I find the notion of wonderfully witty women in a society where politeness is crucial so pleasing that I have read many of her novels more than once. I’m hoping to catch her characters making fools of others to their faces, with humor and hidden rancor, in ways I didn’t notice before. Here are a few of the best quotes from Jane Austen in celebration of her birthday.

    Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

    “I think I may boast myself to be, with all possible vanity, the most unlearned and uninformed female who ever dared to be an authoress.”
    letter to James Stanier Clarke, 11 Dec 1815

    “Why not seize the pleasure at once, how often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparations.”

    “I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me that trouble of liking them a great deal.”
    letter to her sister, Cassandra, 24 Dec 1798

    “One cannot be always laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty.”

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
    Pride and Prejudice, 1813

    “It was a delightful visit – perfect, in being much too short.”
    Emma, 1815

    “Real solemn history, I cannot be interested in…The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all.”
    Northanger Abbey, Chapter 14

    “‘I am afraid,’ replied Elinor, ‘that the pleasantness of an employment does not always evince it propriety.’”
    Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 13

    “You have delighted us long enough.”
    Pride and Prejudice, 1813
    The nicest way to say, “Shut up,” I’ve ever read.

    “Business, you know, may bring money, but friendship hardly ever does.”
    Emma, 1815

    “[Miss Austen] had a talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The Big Bow-Wow strain I can do myself like any now going; but the exquisite touch, which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting, from the truth of the description and the sentiment, is denied to me.”
    Walter Scott, Journal entry, 14 March 1826

    “Just the omission of Jane Austen’s books alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn’t a book in it.”
    Mark Twain (1835-1910)
    I guess not everyone loves her the way I do.

    For more information about Jane Austen, try these links:

    • Jane Austen Film & Television Adaptations – A site with lovely pictures from the film versions of Jane Austen’s work. There are many images to download and a list of other links.
    • The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:
      • Best of Jane Austen boxed paperback set that includes: Emma, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. A good starting set.
      • The Illustrated Letters of Jane Austen Paperback by Jane Austen, Penelope Hughes-Hallett (Editor). Beautiful pictures accompany Jane Austen’s letters. She was rather candid in her letters to her sister Cassandra, which are the best.
      • Jane Austen’s Little Advice Book Hardcover by Jane Austen, Cathryn Michon, Pamela Norris, David Johnson. Quotations from Jane Austen regarding Men, Women, Money, Marriage, and Social Life. If you liked her quotes, you’ll love this book with additional witty commentary from the authors listed above.
      • Pride and Prejudice VHS Video Edition, Published by A & E HOME VIDEO. I must admit that this rendition of Pride and Prejudice is what started it all for me. Seeing Jennifer Ehle play the feisty Elizabeth Bennett made me love Jane Austen. Colin Firth plays a dark and brooding Mr. Darcy with curly locks and glaring glances. I bought this set at full price and it was well worth it. Amazon.com is offering it for $10 buck cheaper at $89.99.
    • Jane Austen Home Page – a collection of links and the actual works of Jane Austen available for download.
    • Jane Austen Information Page – A huge collection of texts of Jane Austen’s works, commentary, silly jokes and pictures of the authoress. This site is enormous, but doesn’t take itself too seriously.

    Quotes of the Week: The Flu Bug

    December 7th, 1997 by Laura Moncur in Quotations

    It is winter here in the Northern Hemisphere and with the colder temperatures, we humans tend to pass around germs. I, too, have succumbed to the virus. Suddenly, I am obsessed with my mucous levels and the decibels of my coughing. The house has given way to clutter and neglect and I have scavenged our bare cupboards for Ramen noodles and soup because we are too weak to shop for anything more than the immediate meal and more decongestant. Additionally, I have lost my voice, which is a curse to my ego. It has become obvious that I’m not getting noticed anymore. Little did I know that the measure of my power was based on the loudness of my voice.

    Below are the few quotes I was willing to dig up about sickness in my weakened state. May you survive this winter without dealing with these woes.

    Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

    “There’s a flu bug getting passed around, and it’s spreading like fire through the town. There’s a virus holding up inside us. Everyone that I know is coming down.”
    Squirrel Nut Zippers, ‘La Grippe’, The Inevitable, 1995

    “It is only when the rich are sick that they fully feel the impotence of wealth.”
    Caleb C. Colton

    “Refuse to be ill. Never tell people you are ill; never own it to yourself. Illness is one of those things which a man should resist on principle.”
    Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

    “I reckon being ill as one of the great pleasures of life, provided one is not too ill and is not obliged to work till one is better.”
    Samuel Butler, The Way of the Flesh, 1903

    “Sickness comes on horseback and departs on foot.”
    Dutch Proverb

    “We forget ourselves and our destinies in health, and the chief use of temporary sickness is to remind us of these concerns.”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals, 1821

    “Show him death, and he’ll be content with fever.”
    Persian Proverb

    “A cough is something that you yourself can’t help, but everybody else does on purpose just to torment you.”
    Ogden Nash, You Can’t Get There From Here, 1957

    For more information about Wintertime Illnesses, try these links:

    Quotes of the Week: Mark Twain

    November 30th, 1997 by Laura Moncur in Biography

    Few people living in The United States have not been exposed to Mark Twain. Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30th, 1835, Mark Twain was one of the more influential writers of America. Known as a wit, his writing career began at age 12. He started writing for “The Hannibal Journal” at that time. He penned such books as “Tom Sawyer,” “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” and “The Prince and the Pauper.”

    The following are just a small sampling of the great things that Mark Twain either said or wrote. I’ve also included some links to more quotes than you can shake a stick at. Enjoy!

    Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

    “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”
    Note to London corresondent of the New York Journal, June 1, 1897

    “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”

    “Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.”
    Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894

    “Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid.”
    Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894

    “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”
    Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894

    “I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.”

    “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.”
    Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894

    “The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”

    “I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know.”
    Letter to William Dean Howells, December, 1877

    “Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”

    “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
    Card sent to the Young People’s Society, Greenpoint Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, February 16, 1901

    For more information about Mark Twain, try these links:

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