Quotations Weblog

Archives for the 'Biography' Category

Quotes of the Week: Dave Barry

July 5th, 1998 by Laura Moncur in Biography

I should be focusing on an article on Independence Day and how proud I am to be an American, but I received a disturbing email that distracted me. It read: “I loved your page, especially the Dave Barry quotations. I would like to read more of his stuff. Can you help me on this? Is there a book containing his artciles [sic] or a particular magazine? All information gratefully received.”

It struck me with terror to think that the man who has earned the title “The Funniest Man In America” from The New York Times might be unknown to even one person. Dave Barry has been writing for The Miami Herald since 1983. He also won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1988. What could be more patriotic than showing what American ingenuity can do? So, here is some of the best from Dave Barry.

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

“Look, in particular, at the people who, like you, are making average incomes for doing average jobs–bank vice presidents, insurance salesman, auditors, secretaries of defense–and you’ll realize they all dress the same way, essentially the way the mannequins in the Sears mens wear department dress. Now look at the real successes, the people who make a lot more money than you–Elton John, Captain Kangaroo, anybody from Saudi Arabia, Big Bird, and so on. They all dress funny–and they all succeed. Are you catching on?”
Dave Barry, “How to Dress for Real Success”

“In fact, most home projects are impossible, which is why you should do them yourself. There is no point in paying other people to screw things up when you can easily screw them up yourself for far less money.”
Dave Barry, “The Taming of the Screw”

“Then along came the first Electrical Pioneer, Benjamin Franklin, who flew a kite in a lighting storm and received a serious electrical shock. This proved that lighting was powered by the same force as carpets, but it also damaged Franklin’s brain so severely that he started speaking only in incomprehensible maxims, such as ‘A penny saved is a penny earned.’ Eventually he had to be given a job running the post office.”
Dave Barry, “What is Electricity?”

“I realize that the MX missile is none of our concern. I realize that the whole point of living in a democracy is that we pay professional congresspersons to concern themselves with things like the MX missile so we can be free to concern ourselves with getting hold of the plumber. But from time to time, I feel I must address major public issues such as this, because in a free and open society, where the very future of the world hinges on decisions made by our elected leaders, you never win large cash journalism awards if you stick to the topics I usually write about, such as nose-picking.”
Dave Barry, “At Last, the Ultimate Deterrent Against Political Fallout”

“I disapprove of the F-word, not because it’s dirty, but because we use it as a substitute for thoughtful insults, and it frequently leads to violence. What we ought to do, when we anger each other, say, in traffic, is exchange phone numbers, so that later on, when we’ve had time to think of witty and learned insults or look them up in the library, we could call each other up: You: Hello? Bob? Bob: Yes? You: This is Ed. Remember? The person whose parking space you took last Thursday? Outside of Sears? Bob: Oh yes! Sure! How are you, Ed? You: Fine, thanks. Listen, Bob, the reason I’m calling is: ‘Madam, you may be drunk, but I am ugly, and …’ No, wait. I mean: ‘you may be ugly, but I am Winston Churchill and …’ No, wait. (Sound of reference book thudding onto the floor.) S-word. Excuse me. Look, Bob, I’m going to have to get back to you. Bob: Fine.”
Dave Barry, “$#$##^#!^#&@#@!”

“I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don’t even invite me.”
Dave Barry

“Ever since prehistoric times, wise men have tried to understand what, exactly, make people laugh. That’s why they were called ‘wise men.’ All the other pre- historic people were out puncturing each other with spears, and the wise men were back in the cave saying: ‘How about: Would you please take my wife? No. How about: Here is my wife, please take her right now. No How about: Would you like to take something? My wife is available. No. How about …’”
Dave Barry, “Why Humor is Funny”

Featured Books
The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:

For more information about Dave Barry, try these links:

  • Dave Barry at the Miami Herald – Dave Barry himself. An archive of his articles at the Miami Herald Online.
  • Quotes by Dave Barry – This is not the same collection as we have (it seems to be edited for content more than ours), but you can just sit down and read through the entire thing. This is an activity I don’t recommend. The reason we limit the number of quotations that you can see at one time is because we don’t want you to die laughing.
  • Altered States – My favorite of the Dave Barry articles available at the Miami Herald Archive. Dave Barry attends a Success Seminar. Considering my love for motivational quotes, you would think that I would be offended by this sort of thing. Instead, I laughed all the way through it.
  • Quotes of the Week: Frank Lloyd Wright

    June 7th, 1998 by Laura Moncur in Biography

    I think of Howard Roarke when I think of Frank Lloyd Wright. I realize that shouldn’t be the case, but the fictional character of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and the real life architect are one in my mind. A young Frank Lloyd Wright looks like Gary Cooper to me, strong and slightly shy. Yet, after re-reading the introduction to the novel, Ayn mentions nothing of Frank Lloyd Wright. It would seem that this man represent the archetype of architect. In fact, I can’t mention another architect by name.

    Come join me in the world of Frank Lloyd Wright, who had much to say about everything. Read his quotes and browse the sites mentioned.

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

    “Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities.”
    Quoted in his obituary, April 9, 1959

    “Noble life demands a noble architecture for noble uses of noble men. Lack of culture means what it has always meant: ignoble civilization and therefore imminent downfall.”

    “Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.”

    “If it [automation] keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.”
    The New York Times, November 27, 1955
    I guess he couldn’t predict the fitness craze of the 1980′s, but he did predict the couch potato.

    “Television: Chewing gum for the eyes.”

    “An idea is salvation by imagination.”

    “The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes.”

    “No house should ever be on any hill or on anything. It should be of the hill, belonging to it, so hill and house could live together each the happier for the other.”
    An Autobiography, 1932

    “The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.”

    “I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.”

    “The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines – so they should go as far as possible from home to build their first buildings.”
    New York Times Magazine, October 4, 1953

    Featured Books
    The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:
    • About Wright : An Album of Recollections by Those Who Knew Frank Lloyd Wright Paperback by Edgar, F.A.I.A. Tafel (Editor) – A collection of remembrances from clients, draftsmen, relatives and acquaintances. Includes many previously unpublished photographs.
    • The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright Hardcover by Neil Levine, Frank Lloyd Wright – A beautiful book that uses the architect’s drawings and notes to tell the story of his life. “This book will move your soul and influence your mind, and I strongly recommend its acquisition.”
    • Frank Lloyd Wright : A Biography Paperback by Meryle Secrest – The story of the life of the famous architect. Written with the help of Wright’s letters, drawings and books.
    • Murder in Perspective : An Architectural Mystery Hardcover by Keith Miles – A fictional novel based in 1928. The hero, Merlin Richards, gives up his promising career to work under Frank Lloyd Wright. Snubbed by the architect, he soon finds himself involved with the death of an attractive designer. This amateur detective novel should please Frank Lloyd Wright fans and mystery fans alike.
    • The Fountainhead Paperback by Ayn Rand – Howard Roarke, revolutionary architect, is put on trial for the destruction of one of his own buildings. Did he have the right to blow his own creation to smithereens? You decide.
    • The Fountainhead VHS Video Tape with Gary Cooper as Howard Roarke – See the movie version of Ayn Rand’s book. My favorite scene is where Roarke makes the ghastly changes to his building in mockery of the recommendations of the contractor.

    For more information about Frank Lloyd Wright, try these links:

  • Frank Lloyd Wright Quotes – A small but well organized collection of quotations from Frank Lloyd Wright. There are no attributes, but the site is well designed.
  • The Frank Lloyd Wright Source Page – A simple page with reviews of the links that it highlights. A better guide than Yahoo, and it includes pictures.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright – Designs for an American Landscape, 1922-1932 – exhibit featured at the the Library of Congress.
  • Quotes of the Week: Walt Whitman

    May 31st, 1998 by Laura Moncur in Biography

    Here we go again in the education of Laura Moncur. Walt Whitman was yet another name stored in my memory without a face or any other information, save that he was a poet and probably said many profound things. Little did I know this was the man who coined the phrase “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” A contemporary of Abraham Lincoln, he was a medical assistant in the Civil War and a emotionally patriotic man.

    Some of this week’s quotes are longer than normal, but it is entirely necessary to preserve the meaning. Dive into the poetry of Walt Whitman and learn with me.

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

    “The poet judges not as a judge judges but as the sun falling around a helpless thing.”
    “A child said What is grass? fetching it to one with full hands
    How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.
    I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of the hopeful green stuff woven.
    of I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
    A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt,
    Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners,
    that we may see and remark, and say Whose?
    And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.”
    Song of Myself, 1855
    “Nothing endures but personal qualities.”
    “Come lovely and soothing death,
    Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving,
    In the day, in the night, to all, to each,
    Sooner or later, delicate death.”
    When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d, 1865-1866
    “Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons. It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”
    Song of the Open Road
    “I celebrate myself, and sing myself.”
    Song of Myself, 1855
    “I dream’d in a dream I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth,
    I dream’d that was the new city of Friends.”
    I Dream’d in a Dream
    “Full of life now, compact, visible,
    I, forty year old the eighty-third year of the States,
    To one a century hence or any number of centuries hence,
    To you yet unborn these, seeking you.”
    Full of life now

    Featured Books
    The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:

    For more information about Walt Whitman, try these links:
    • The Poetry of Walt Whitman – A biography and lots of links, including one to Whitmanland (I don’t even want to know). Provided by Globalink.

  • Walt Whitman and the Development of Leaves of Grass – A fairly bland site. There is a biography and information about the hypertext version of Leaves of Grass, but mostly, it was included because they have a picture of Walt Whitman.
  • The Walt Whitman Home Page – Sponsored by the Library of Congress, this site provides actual scanned images of Walt Whitman’s notebooks. Each document takes forever to download, so I wouldn’t recommend it as a method of reading his works. This is more a look into the hand of the man.
  • Leaves of Grass – Complete transcription of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman provided by Columbia University.
  • Quotes of the Week: Malcolm X

    May 17th, 1998 by Laura Moncur in Biography

    A couple of years ago, Spike Lee released his movie about Malcolm X. There was a lot of hype surrounding that movie, and not much said about the man it concerned. There were many news clips showing a man with a strong voice talking angrily into a microphone. There was a lot of talk about his leanings toward violence and the detrimental effect his speeches had on the equal rights movement.

    I really don’t know what to think about Malcolm X. The media has portrayed him as a violent man, yet all the quotations that I could find from him were things I agree with completely. If I were to judge this man, solely on the quotations that I was able to find for him (striking completely his strong and angry voice from my memory), I would laud him. Here is a selection of quotations from Malcolm X.

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

    “Power never takes a back step – only in the face of more power.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

    “A jungle is only a place that’s heavily vegetated – the soil is so rich and the climate is so good that everything grows, and it doesn’t grow in season – it grows all the time.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “If you’re born in America with a black skin, you’re born in prison.”
    Interview, June 1963

    “Sitting at the table doesn’t make you a diner, unless you eat some of what’s on that plate. Being here in America doesn’t make you an American. Being born here in America doesn’t make you an American.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “You show me a capitalist, I’ll show you a bloodsucker.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “We are not fighting for integration, nor are we fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as human beings. We are fighting for…human rights.”
    Speech, Black Revolution, New York, 1964

    “It’s easy to become a satellite today without even being aware of it. This country can seduce God. Yes, it has that seductive power of dollarism.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “Uncle Sam has no conscience. They don’t know what morals are. They don’t try and eliminate an evil because it’s evil, or because it’s illegal, or because it’s immoral; they eliminate it only when it threatens their existence.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “The day that the black man takes an uncompromising step and realizes that he’s within his rights, when his own freedom is being jeopardized, to use any means necessary to bring about his freedom or put a halt to that injustice, I don’t think he’ll be by himself.”
    Oxford Union Society debate, December 3, 1964

    “If being a communist or being a capitalist or being a socialist is a crime, first you have to study which of those systems is the most criminal. And then you’ll be slow to say which one should be in jail.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    [On the assassination of President John F. Kennedy:] “It was, as I saw it, a case of ‘the chickens coming home to roost.’ I said that the hate in white men had not stopped with the killing of defenseless black people, but that hate, allowed to spread unchecked, had finally struck down this country’s Chief Magistrate.”
    Autobiography (as told to Alex Haley), Chapter 16, 1964

    “A segregated school system produces children who, when they graduate, graduate with crippled minds.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “Time is on the side of the oppressed today, it’s against the oppressor. Truth is on the side of the oppressed today, it’s against the oppressor. You don’t need anything else.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    Featured Books
    The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:
    • The Autobiography of Malcolm X Paperback by Alex Haley – Read about the life of Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little, later changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) written by the man who wrote Roots.
    • Soul on Ice Paperback by Eldridge Cleaver – This book is a collection of the memoirs of Black Panther activist, Eldridge Cleaver, another man of the era that drastically affected the civil rights movement.
    • The Autobiography of Malcolm X Audio Cassette by Alex Haley – Listen to the life of Malcolm while driving in your car, and you will gather the wisdom that is still useful today, regardless of your skin color.
    • The Death and Life of Malcolm X Paperback by Peter Louis Goldman – Another biography of the life of Malcolm X from a senior editor of Newsweek. This book includes information regarding his assasination and the accomplices.

    For more information about Malcolm X, try these links:

  • The Malcolm X Page – A loving site devoted to Malcolm X. Contains tons of links, pictures and info. Check out all the quotes available at this site.
  • Malcolm X – A pretty site with lots of pictures and a Malcolm X background. Lots to see here, but still, just links back to the same Playboy Interview.
  • Quotes of the Week: Winston Churchill

    May 10th, 1998 by Laura Moncur in Biography

    On May 13, 1940, Winston Churchill said, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” I wasn’t the first profound thing said by this man, and it certainly wasn’t the last. In my mind, I group Winston Churchill with Franklin D. Roosevelt. That is semi-logical, considering they were both world leaders at the same time, both fighting on the same side of a war that was raging before I was present on earth. Unfortunately for me, the connection goes deeper with me to the point that they are almost the same man in my mind.

    Quick quiz: Who said, “All we have to fear is fear itself.”? You’re right, it was Roosevelt, but Churchill is everyone’s second guess. Enjoy the following quotations from Winston Churchill and learn a little more about this man. Then, all of us will be able to see him as an individual and be able to distinguish him from the other major players of World War II. (Not that I confused him with Hitler or Mussolini, mind you.)

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

    “I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”
    Speech made to House of Commons on May 13, 1940, three days after becoming Prime Minister.

    “Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”

    “Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.”

    “A love of tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril; but the new view must come, the world must roll forward.”
    Speech in the House of Commons, November 29, 1944

    “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

    “When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.”

    “We shall show mercy, but we shall not ask for it.”
    Speech in the House of Commons, July 14, 1940

    “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”
    Speech delivered to the House of Commons on June 18, 1940 following the collapse of France

    “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

    “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

    “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
    Speech given at the Lord Mayor’s Luncheon, Mansion House, London, November 10, 1942.

    “The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”

    “To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.”

    “We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire…Give us the tools and we will finish the job.”
    BBC radio broadcast, Feb 9, 1941

    “Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.”

    “The power of man has grown in every sphere, except over himself.”

    “It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.”

    “There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result.”

    “Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.”

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

    “For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else.”
    Speech at the Lord Mayor’s banquet, London, November 9, 1954

    “The price of greatness is responsibility.”

    “It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.”
    My Early Life – 1930

    Featured Books
    The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:
    • Churchill in His Own Voice Audio Cassette – These are not actual recordings of Winston Churchill’s speeches (minor disappointment for me here), but rather Churchill’s memoirs read by Sir Lawrence Olivier. If I had to choose, I would still choose Churchill himself, but the acclaimed Olivier is good enough for me. Learn about Churchill’s life (also includes famous speeches by Hitler, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Truman).
    • The Wit and Wisdom of Winston Churchill Paperback by James C. Humes, Richard Milhous Nixon – You thought I had a lot of quotations on this page, but you were wrong. Here is a book with over 1000 quotations and anecdotes from Winston Churchill. If you liked this week’s edition, you love this book.
    • Triumph and Tragedy (The Second World War) Hardcover by Winston Leonard Spencer, Sir, Churchill, Winston S. Churchill – This is volume one of a three volume set chronicling World War II. The historical view of the world in which Churchill lived.
    • Never Give in : The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill Hardcover by Stephen Mansfield, George Grant – A biography of Winston Churchill. Find out the details of his life, because every life has a story. (oops! That’s for A&E to tell you.)

    For more information about Winston Churchill, try these links:
    • The London School – Winston Churchill - Lots of Info Here. This site contains links to other sites, writings about and by Winston Churchill and a videography (list of videos about and including him).

  • The Rise to Power of Winston Churchill – Historical data for you. This is a very detailed description of pre-World War II Churchill.
  • The Winston Churchill Page – Definitive, but Downloads Slowly. Contains a FAQ (frequently asked questions) file, photos, more links and quotations (called Bon Mots on this page). Ironically, the most complete site is maintained by a group in the United States.

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