Pithy Sayings


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Home. I have no home. Hunted, despised, living like an animal. This jungle is my home. For twenty years I have lived in this jungle hell. I was classed as a madman, a charlatan, outlawed in the world of science which had previously hailed me as a genius. Now, here in this jungle hell, I have proved that I was right.
[Bela Lugosi, in the film The Bride of the Monster, 1955, written and directed by Ed Wood Junior]

How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?
[Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle, 1890. Similar maxims appear in The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet, 1891, The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans, 1908, and The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier, 1927]

Inspector Gregory: "Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
Sherlock Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
Inspector Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
[From Silver Blaze by Arthur Conan Doyle, 1892]

One never feels alone when one is wearing squeaky shoes.
[Martin Leese, 1954 to ?]

Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream.
[Said to Malcolm Muggeridge, 1964]

The Council of the Royal Society is a collection of men who elect each other to office and then dine together at the expense of the society to praise each other over wine and give each other medals.
[Charles Babbage, 1792 to 1871]

Why can't I be different and original like everybody else?
[Vivian Stanshall, 1943 to 1995]

Den hriazete euharisto, kathikon mou.
There is no thanks necessary for what is duty.
[A saying in Greek]

A good idea is fresh, ingenious and appealing. If it also happens to be true, it is a great idea. A great idea that has been around awhile is a truism. A while later it is a cliché.
[From The End of Obscenity by Charles Rembar, 1968]

It would be wonderful to live in a world where we don't have to read the small print. Instead we live in this world. Read the small print.
[From How to Speak Money by John Lanchester, 2014]

You have many years to live—do things you will be proud to remember when you're old.
[A Shinka proverb, quoted in Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner, 1968]

It is easier to ask forgiveness after than to ask permission before.
[Original author unknown]

Remember; if the logs float upstream, they are not logs.
[Original author unknown]

"Name me one ‘talker’ who's been remembered by Posterity. Eh? Name me one! Yes, all right, Dr Johnson. But he had Boswell didn't he. All I've got is you." Frank is inclined to do that. Ask you a question, answer it himself, then tell you you were wrong.
[From You can't have your kayak and heat it by Frank Muir & Denis Norden, 1973]

Never let anyone take your picture naked.
Never eat ground meat out.
Never forget to send a thank-you note.
Never wear white after Labor Day.
Never borrow money from a friend.
Never wear diamonds after five.
[From Jacqueline Susann's Shadow of the Dolls by Rae Lawrence, 2001]

Anything that cannot go on forever, will stop.
[Herbert Stein, 1916 to 1999, economist]

When taken to their extreme, things revert to their opposite.
[A Chinese proverb]

Modesty remains my most flamboyant characteristic.
[From Catch As Catch Can by Joseph Heller, 2003]

There's something deeply disturbing about wearing clothes made from dead animals. There's stuff called "silk" that's basically bug vomit, and the idea of it makes my skin crawl.
[From Glasshouse by Charles Stross, 2006]

Unlike chickens, sheep have the personality of a spoon.
[From The Wisdom of the Radish by Lynda Hopkins, 2011]

Try not! Do! Or do not. There is no try.
[Yoda, in the film The Empire Strikes Back, 1980]

Consider the problem of clocks. How many clocks do you have in your house? In my house, we have—are you ready?—twenty-seven. I don't believe it either .... Seven are wristwatches. (I have no idea why a family of three requires seven watches.)
[From Turn Signals are the Facial Expressions of Automobiles by Donald A. Norman, 1992]

Poisoning children is cruel. But something has to be done about them!
[Daniil Kharms, late 1930s from Today I Wrote Nothing edited and translated by Matvei Yankelevich, 2007]

Ahh the scum of the earth, those are my people.
[Robert Crumb, quoted in The R. Crumb Handbook by R Crumb and Peter Poplaski, 2005]

I hate most of humanity. Though I might be very fond of particular individuals, humanity in general fills me with contempt and dispair.
[Robert Crumb writing in The R. Crumb Handbook by R Crumb and Peter Poplaski, 2005]

I am indeed imprisoned in a Chinese fortune-cookie factory, but have you pondered the subtle cognitive snares in which you yourself may be trapped? – Ling Po Fat
[From The Eternal Footman by James Morrow, 1999]

Buy manure, expect smell.
[Original author unknown]

The names of Father Xmas' reindeer were Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and, of course, Rudolf.

The names of the Seven Dwarfs were Dopey, Sneezy, Happy, Grumpy, Sleepy, Bashful and Doc. Why can nobody remember Bashful and Doc?

The names of the Other Seven Dwarves were Nasty, Touchy, Snooty, Spacey, Dumpy, Noisy and Smarmy.
[According to A Difficulty With Dwarves by Craig Shaw Gardner, 1987]

No developments are reported on the armadillo front
[From The Selfish Gene (Second Edition) by Richard Dawkins, 1989]

A wise Elbonian once said "In a race between a rock and a pig, don't varnish your clams".
[From Seven Years of Highly Defective People by Scott Adams, 1997]

I have a report of a flimsy rationalization in progress.
– Phil, Ruler of Heck, The Prince of Insufficient Light
[From Seven Years of Highly Defective People by Scott Adams, 1997]

Sometimes the pool-pah* exceeds the power of humans to comment.
* pool-pah = shit storm / wrath of God

Live by the foma* that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.
* foma = harmless untruths, for example "Prosperity is just around the corner."
[The Books of Bokonon. I:5]

The Sun rises.
The Sun sets.
The Sun rises.
The Sun sets.
I can hardly wait 'till tomorrow.
Another jam-packed day of celestial thrills.
[Original author unknown]

If you read this you are mad because you think it is going to be interesting. Sucker.
[Original author unknown]

What you are, I once was.
What I am, you will never become.
[Original author unknown]

Fortunately I always keep my feathers numbered for just such an emergency.
[Foghorn Leghorn in the Merrie Melodies "Weasel Stop". A similar maxim appears in the Looney Tunes "All Fowled Up"]

So – just because things are impossible isn't any reason not to do them!
[Joan Feynman, 1927 to ?, astrophysicist]

Musical instruments produce sound.
Composers produce music.
Musical instruments reproduce music.
CD players reproduce sound.
A wind-up music box produces sound and reproduces music.
[John Oswald]

The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.
[From Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams, 1992]

If it holds water, it's craft. If it leaks, it's art.
[A standard line among potters]

The unexpected, when it happens, generally happens when you least expect it.
[Original author unknown]

Appearances are often more important than they appear.
[From Programming Perl (Third Edition) by Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, and Jon Orwant, 2000]

God is in the details.
[Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1886 to 1969]

Shit Happens When You Party Naked
[A t-shirt slogan in the DVD-Video Badder Santa, 2004]

Anything sufficiently weird must be fishy.
[From The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, 2006]

I tried to raise my ale-bottle for a long drink, but our plunge-angle made it impossible to lift it high enough to overcome the reverse-gravity flow. We were headed straight down at a little over 300 miles an hour ... and from somewhere behind me in the small cabin I heard a voice; a low keening sound, very much like a moan ....
"What's that noise?" the pilot asked.
"That's Frank," I said. "I think he just bit a chunk out of his own liver."
[From Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72 by Dr Hunter S Thompson, 1973]

A man with only one passport is like a man with only one hand.
[From The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood, 1993]

When Ronnie winked, the act involved the opening, rather than the closing, of one eye.
[From "A Smart Cunt" in The Acid House by Irvine Welsh. 1994]

I have the brain of a five-year-old. I keep it in a glass jar in my kitchen.
[Martin Leese, 1954 to ?]

I have never experienced institutionalised wrongdoing, blindness, arrogance and prejudice on anything like the scale accepted as routine.
[Commissioner Robert Mark, describing the Metropolitan Police Force he commanded, quoted in Flat Earth News by Nick Davies, 2008]

... glintelligentsia ...
[From Infomocracy by Malka Older, 2016]

An asteroid is nature's way of asking how your space program is doing
[A t-shirt slogan]

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
[Martin Luther King Junior, 1963]

I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.
[Oliver Cromwell in a letter to the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, 1650]

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