Curtis Dahlgren
The Ides of August again (college "orientation" time)
By Curtis Dahlgren
August 16, 2019

"Finding good quotations isn't hard, but setting them in a certain order is something else." – Ecclesiastes (paraphrased)
  • "Man exploits man. Under Communism it's the other way around." – old saying in the USSR

  • "Education makes people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern but impossible to enslave." – Baron Brougham (1778-1868)

  • "There are two kinds of people – those who want to be governed and those who want to be ruled." – Rush Limbaugh

  • "The investigation of the meaning of words is the beginning of education." – Antisthenes (445-365 BC)

  • "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." – Abraham Lincoln

  • "It is better to be a mouse in a cat's mouth than a man in a lawyer's hands." – Spanish proverb

  • "Whatever their other contributions to society, lawyers could be an important source of protein." – 'Guindon' cartoon

  • "A life being very short, and the quiet hours of it few, we ought to waste none of them in reading valueless books." – John Ruskin (1819-1900)

  • "Our principal writers have nearly all been fortunate in escaping regular education." – Chris Grieve (1892-1978)

  • "In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many you can get through, but how many can get through to you." – Mort Adler

  • "Let blockheads read what blockheads wrote." – Lord Chesterfield (1694- 1773)

  • "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them" – Mark Twain (1835-1910)

  • "How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live." – Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

  • "Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life." – Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

  • "Deep versed in books and shallow in himself." – Milton (1608-1674)

  • "The reason so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything." – Walter Bagehot (1826-1877)

  • "Reading is sometimes an ingenious device for avoiding thought." – Sir Arthur Helps (1813-1875)

  • "The formula 'two and two make five' is not without its attractions." – Dostoevsky (1821-1881)

  • "The great American novel has not only been written, it has already been rejected." – Frank Dane

  • "The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shake-proof crap detector." – Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

  • "Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children." – David Lodge

  • "Autobiography is a preemptive strike against biographies." – Barb Harrison

  • "The oldest books are still only just out to those who have not read them." – Samuel Butler

  • "If you can speak what you will never hear, and write what you will never read, you have done rare things." – Thoreau

  • "To do what is difficult for others is the mark of talent. To do what is impossible for talent is the mark of genius." – Henri Amiel (1821-1881)

  • "Most editors are failed writers, but so are most writers." – Thomas Stearn Eliot

  • "Reading makes a full man, writing an exact man." – Francis Bacon

  • "A man really writes for an audience of about ten persons. Of course if others like it, that is clear gain." – Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947)

  • "The luck of having talent is not enough; one must also have a talent for luck." – Louis Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)

  • "A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage." – Sydney Smith (1771-1845)

  • "I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead without it . . . If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it." – Jonathan Winters

  • "Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision." – Peter Drucker

  • "When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary." – Wm. Wrigley, Jr.

  • "A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled." – Barnett Cocks (1907-1989)

  • "Had the people of the United States been educated in different principles, had they been less intelligent, less independent, or less virtuous, can it be believed that we should have maintained the same steady and consistent career or been blessed with the same success?

    "While, then, the constituent body retains its present sound and healthful state everything will be safe. They will choose competent and faithful representatives for every department. It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty.

    "Usurpation is than an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin." – President James Monroe (first Inaugural address)
"If you educate a man, you educate a person, but if you educate a wise man, you educate a family." – Ruby Manikan

P.S. Mark Twain said that a "Classic" is a book that people praise and don't read. By that definition, regardless of others, the Bible is definitely a Classic.

PPS: I confess. This is a summer rerun, from 2011, but if my readership has gone from ten persons to 11 or 12 this year, it will be well worth it. I don't get a whole lot of praise, so I think some people are reading me. But speaking of "the meaning of words," the quotation of the week has to be the following (you've probably heard about it, but still):

"We choose truth over facts." – Joe Biden

It depends what "is" IS, and what is truth anyway (Pontius Pilate said)? To Snow White and the 24 Dwarfs running for President, "truth" is simply Trump is nuts and we have less than 10 years to save the planet from man-made global warming (deja vu all over again). The real question is whether an old man who can't avoid gaffes at 3 PM would be able to take the 3 AM phone call. Imagine a call from the Secretary of Defense on whether to bomb, bomb Iran – and Uncle Joe says one thing but he meant the other? At that point, you wouldn't be able to say, "Well you know what he meant."

I have no intention of hurting his campaign; he's almost a clone of the whole flock of 24 Dwarfs in the race. Is this the best we have out of more than 300 million people? Maybe the President IS just a figurehead, as some people say. Which is why the Establishment hates Trump. He doesn't play well with people who think he should be a figurehead.

© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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