Quotations

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“I don’t see any God up here.” — Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin

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“There is nothing so absurd but some philosopher has said it.” — Cicero

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“Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.” — Aldous Huxley

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“One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough.” — James Thurber

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“A cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing.” — Samuel Johnson

Subtract Line 55 From Line 45

Judge Learned Hand on the U.S. income tax code, writing in the Yale Law Journal, December 1947:

In my own case the words of such an act as the Income Tax … merely dance before my eyes in a meaningless procession: cross-reference to cross-reference, exception upon exception — couched in abstract terms that offer [me] no handle to seize hold of [and that] leave in my mind only a confused sense of some vitally important, but successfully concealed, purport, which it is my duty to extract, but which is within my power, if at all, only after the most inordinate expenditure of time. I know that these monsters are the result of fabulous industry and ingenuity, plugging up this hole and casting out that net, against all possible evasion; yet at times I cannot help recalling a saying of William James about certain passages of Hegel: that they were no doubt written with a passion of rationality; but that one cannot help wondering whether to the reader they have any significance save that the words are strung together with syntactical correctness.

Even Albert Einstein, who died trying to find a generalized theory of gravitation, wrote, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”

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“A witty saying proves nothing.” — Voltaire

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“helen write anna george will give helen apple simpson will shoot bird jack will give helen stick of candy doctor will give mildred medicine mother will make mildred new dress”

– A letter from Helen Keller to a cousin, three and a half months after Annie Sullivan came to teach her

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“What luck for rulers that men do not think.” — Adolf Hitler

“Wonderful Peculiarity in the English Character!”

“The French, however wretched may be their condition, are attached to life, while the English frequently detest life in the midst of affluence and splendour. English criminals are not dragged, but run to the place of execution, where they laugh, sing, cut jokes, insult the spectators; and if no hangman happens to be present, frequently hang themselves.”

Memoirs of Lewis Holberg, quoted in The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, July 28, 1827

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“My toughest fight was with my first wife.” — Muhammad Ali

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“From today painting is dead.” — Portraitist Paul Delaroche, on seeing an exhibition of daguerreotypes, 1839

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“Just because swans mate for life, I don’t think it’s that big a deal. First of all, if you’re a swan, you’re probably not going to find a swan that looks much better than the one you’ve got, so why not mate for life?” — Jack Handy

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“All music is folk music. I ain’t never heard no horse sing a song.” — Louis Armstrong

Exchange

Oscar Wilde: “Do you mind if I smoke?”

Sarah Bernhardt: “I don’t care if you burn.”

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“If A is success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.” — Albert Einstein

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“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then give up. No use being a damned fool about it.” — W.C. Fields

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“Fancy being remembered around the world for the invention of a mouse!” — Walt Disney, during his last illness

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“Everywhere I go I find a poet has been there before me.” — Sigmund Freud

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“In keeping with Channel 40′s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts in living color, we bring you another first, an attempted suicide.” — Florida newscaster Christine Chubbuck, before shooting herself on live television, July 15, 1974

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“I can’t listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.” — Woody Allen

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“Had I been present at the Creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe.” — Alfonso, king of Castile (1221-1284), on studying the Ptolemaic system

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“All generalizations are dangerous — even this one.” — Alexandre Dumas

R.I.P.

“Finally I am becoming stupider no more.” — Mathematician Paul Erdös, suggested epitaph for himself