Saturday, June 2, 2018

But everybody goes

English novelist Thomas Hardy was born on this day in 1840. In his novel Jude the Obscure, as his hero lay dying alone, Hardy wrote:

"Nobody came, because nobody does."

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Pick your poison

French novelist Louise-Ferdinand Celine was born on this day in 1894. In Journey to the End of the Night, he wrote:

"For the poor of this world, two major ways of expiring are available: either by the absolute indifference of your fellow men in peace time, or by the homicidal passion of these same when war breaks out."

Monday, April 13, 2015

Waiting for a good word

Irish poet and playwright Samuel Beckett (Waiting for Godot) was born on this day in 1906.

"It (Waiting for Godot) is pretentious gibberish, without any claim to importance whatsoever...It's just a waste of everybody's time and it makes me ashamed to think that such balls could be taken seriously for a moment." -- Noel Coward.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Or even every once in a while

British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli was born on this day in 1804. He said:

"It destroys one's nerves to be amiable to the same human being every day."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Whatever you say, dear

Autnor J. M. Barrie (Peter Pan) was born on this day in 1860.

"Every man that is high up," Barrie wrote, "likes to think that he has done it all by himself; and the wife smiles, and lets it go at that."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Also, persuading people that nonsense is sense

Harry S Truman was born on this day in 1884.

"I sit here all day," Truman said, "trying to do the things they ought to have sense enough to do without my persuading them. That's all the powers of the President amount to."

Sounds modest enough, but to read another take on the matter, see Gore Vidal on Truman

Sunday, November 16, 2008

So she tells us

November 15, 1887 -- Poet Marianne Moore born. She wrote:

"The passion for setting people right is in itself an afflictive disease. Distaste which takes no credit to itself is best."

Friday, November 7, 2008

Now go, and sin no more

Also on this day, in 1918, evangelist Billy Graham was born.

"Current evangelism is as far as one can go in the pursuit of faith without works. Graham has brought to perfection the notion of a global parish, that is, no parish at all. He is relieved of the need to make private visits, to gather boxes of old clothes in the church basement, to perform weddings, bury the dead, to encourage rummage-sales and pie-suppers. Not only is he relieved, but the saved are also...

"With their salvation kits, they are like patients making a single visit to a clinic and who are therefore recorded in the cure statistics." -- Elizabeth Hardwick.

Not at the same time, however

French author and existentialist Albert Camus was born on this day in 1913. He said:

"A single sentence will suffice for modern man: He fornicated and read the papers."

Not a real kick for him

November 6, 1869 -- First college football game played.

"To watch a football game is to be in prolonged neurotic doubt as to what you're seeing." -- Jacques Barzun.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wonder if Rogers ever met this man

Humorist Will Rogers was born on this day in 1897. Despite his immense popularity and his reputation for biting political commentary, not everyone was a fan.

"The bosom friend ofd senators and congressmen was about as daring as an early Shirley Temple movie." -- James Thurber.

Oh, be quiet and leave us alone

November 3, 1901 -- French novelist and statesman Andre Malraux was born. He wrote:

"Men fear silence as they fear solitude, because both of them give them a glimpse of the terror of life's nothingness."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Welcome to November

Holiday of the Month: Thanksgiving.

"Americans are a race of convicts and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them short of hanging." -- Samuel Johnson.

Truth is not always beautiful

October 31 -- John Keats was born in 1795.

"I know that poetry is indispensable, but to what?" -- Jean Cocteau.

Fellow poet and contemporary Lord Byron called Keats "that dirty little blackguard."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

He didn't even read his obituary

English dramatist Richard Sheridan was born on this day in 1751. He wrote:

"The newspapers! Sir, they are the most villanous--licentious--abominable--infernal--not that I ever read them--no--I make it a rule never to look into a newspaper."