Quotes of the day: Ben Hecht

Published Friday, February 27, 2015 @ 5:08 PM EST
Feb 27 2015

Ben Hecht (February 28, 1894 – April 18, 1964) was an American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, journalist and novelist. He received screen credits, alone or in collaboration, for the stories or screenplays of some 70 films. He wrote 35 books and created some of the most entertaining screenplays and plays in America. The Dictionary of Literary Biography - American Screenwriters calls him "one of the most successful screenwriters in the history of motion pictures." At the age of 16, Hecht ran away to Chicago, where in his own words he "haunted streets, whorehouses, police stations, courtrooms, theater stages, jails, saloons, slums, madhouses, fires, murders, riots, banquet halls, and bookshops". In the 1910s and early 20s, Hecht became a noted journalist, foreign correspondent, and literary figure. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A movie is never better than the stupidist man connected with it.

Despite all our toil and progress, the art of medicine still falls somewhere between trout casting and spook writing.

In Hollywood, a starlet is the name for any woman under thirty who is not actively employed in a brothel.

Life, alas, is an intricate illusion. God is a pack of lies under which man staggers to his grave.

Movies are one of the bad habits that have corrupted our century. They have slipped into the American mind more misinformation in one evening than the Dark Ages could muster in a decade.

Nobody but a writer can write. People who hang around writers for years- as producers did- who are much smarter and have much better taste, never learn to write.

Of the things men give each other the greatest is loyalty.

People will hang on to illusion as eagerly as life itself.

People's sex habits are as well known in Hollywood as their political opinions, and much less criticized.

Prejudice is a raft onto which the shipwrecked mind clambers and paddles to safety.

The movies are an eruption of trash that has lamed the American mind and retarded Americans from becoming cultured people.

The only practical way yet discovered by the world for curing its ills is to forget about them.

There is nothing as dull as an intellectual ally after a certain age.

Time is a circus, always packing up and moving away.

Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand on a clock.

Writing a good movie brings a writer about as much fame as steering a bicycle.


(February 28 is also the birthday of Michel de Montaigne.)

Categories: Ben Hecht; Quotes of the day

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Of all the souls... his was the most human.

Published Friday, February 27, 2015 @ 3:58 PM EST
Feb 27 2015

Leonard Nimoy
March 26, 1931 – February 27, 2015

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
-Leonard Nimoy (final post to Twitter, Fenruary 23, 2015)

Categories: Leonard Nimoy; Passages

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Quotes of the day: George Herbert Mead

Published Thursday, February 26, 2015 @ 6:51 PM EST
Feb 26 2015

George Herbert Mead (February 27, 1863 – April 26, 1931) was an American philosopher, sociologist and psychologist, primarily affiliated with the University of Chicago, where he was one of several distinguished pragmatists. He is regarded as one of the founders of social psychology and the American sociological tradition in general. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A multiple personality is in a certain sense normal.

History is always the interpretation of the present.

Imagery is not past but present. It rests with what we call our mental processes to place these images in a temporal order.

In wartime we identify ourselves with the nation, and its interests are the interests of our primal selves.

Man lives in a world of meaning.

No very sharp line can be drawn between social psychology and individual psychology.

Our cautious ancestors, when yawning, blocked the way to the entrance of evil spirits by putting their hands before their mouths. We find a reason for the gesture in the delicacy of manner which forbids an indecent exposure.

Social psychology is especially interested in the effect which the social group has in the determination of the experience and conduct of the individual member.

Society is unity in diversity.

The beauty of a face is not a separate quality but a relation or proportion of qualities to each other.

The self has the characteristic that it is an object to itself, and that characteristic distinguishes it from other objects and from the body.

To be interested in the public good we must be disinterested, that is, not interested in goods in which our personal selves are wrapped up.

Warfare is an utterly stupid method of settling differences of interest between different nations.


(February 27 is also the birthday of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hugo Black, John Steinbeck, and Peter De Vries.)

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Quotes of the day: Theodore Sturgeon

Published Wednesday, February 25, 2015 @ 9:10 PM EST
Feb 25 2015

(Photo by Mark Zicree)

Theodore Sturgeon (born Edward Hamilton Waldo; February 26, 1918 - May 8, 1985) was an American science fiction and horror writer and critic. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database credits him with about 400 reviews and more than 200 stories. At the height of his popularity in the 1950s, he was the most anthologized English-language author alive and much respected by critics. Sturgeon wrote the screenplays for the Star Trek original series episodes "Shore Leave" (1966) and "Amok Time" (1967), the latter known for the introduction of pon farr, the Vulcan mating ritual, and the first use of the phrase "Live long and prosper." Sturgeon wrote several episodes of Star Trek that were never produced, one of which was notable for having first introduced the concept of the Prime Directive.

(Click here for full Wikipedia article)


An ethic isn't a fact you can look up. It's a way of thinking.

Ask the next question.

Do you know what morals are? Morals are an obedience to rules that people laid down to help you live among them.

Fear is a survival instinct; fear in its way is a comfort for it means that somewhere hope is alive.

If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister? (story title)

It's the Simple things that are really effective. Try to remember that.

Live long and prosper.
(from the Star Trek original series episode "Amok Time")

Logic and truth are two very different things, but they often look the same to the mind that's performing the logic.

Love's a different sort of thing, hot enough to make you flow into something, interflow, cool and anneal and be a weld stronger than what you started with.

Ninety percent of everything is crud. (Sturgeon's Revelation)

No man can rob successfully over a period of years without pleasing the people he robs.

Nothing is always absolutely so. (Sturgeon's Law)

The movers and shakers have always been obsessive nuts.

There are no synonyms. There are no two words that mean exactly the same thing.

There are people who have tremendously important things to say, but they say it so poorly that nobody would ever want to read it.

There's this about a farm: when the market's good there's money, and when it's bad there's food.

We don't believe anything we don't want to believe.

Why must we love where the lightning strikes, and not where we choose?


(February 26 is also the birthday of Victor Hugo.)

Categories: Quotes of the day; Theodore Sturgeon

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Quotes of the day: Bob Schieffer

Published Tuesday, February 24, 2015 @ 7:02 PM EST
Feb 24 2015

Bob Lloyd Schieffer (b. February 25, 1937) is an American television journalist who has been with CBS News since 1969, serving 23 years as anchor on the Saturday edition of CBS Evening News from 1973 to 1996; chief Washington correspondent since 1982, and moderator of the Sunday public affairs show Face the Nation since 1991. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


American politics used to be an amateur sport. But somewhere along the way, we handed over to professionals all the things people used to do for free.

At the White House, everybody works for the same person. They're all part of the same company. But on Capitol Hill, they're all independent contractors. They all work for themselves. That's a formula for getting news.

Every news organization, if it's aggressive and doing what it ought to be doing, is going to get caught with a bad story from time to time.

God knows everything, but I'm not quite that good. Every once in a while, something will slip by me.

I always thought writing was the foundation and the basis for journalism in the same way being able to draw is the foundation for art.

I don't know what temporarily means. Life is temporary.

I switched over to journalism. I didn't graduate with honors, but I did graduate on time and with some doing.

I think journalism is a great way to do public service, to have an impact on your community.

If I were smart, I could figure out curling. If I were even smarter, I could figure out why people would actually watch other people doing it.

Nowadays I'm not even sure if newspapers take into account whether a person is a good writer.

Once you realize there is life after mistakes, you gain a self- confidence that never goes away.

Wars are not fought on the training ground, nor can they be covered from the television studio.

We're far from perfect. It's a human enterprise.

You cannot be objective about human suffering and people dying. Any person who was not outraged by that, I'm not sure they have business being a reporter.


(February 25 is also the birthday of Anthony Burgess and Abe Vigoda.)

Categories: Bob Schieffer; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: George Moore

Published Monday, February 23, 2015 @ 8:59 PM EST
Feb 23 2015

George Augustus Moore (February 24, 1852 - January 21, 1933) was an Irish novelist, short-story writer, poet, art critic, memoirist and dramatist. As a naturalistic writer, he was amongst the first English-language authors to absorb the lessons of the French realists, and was particularly influenced by the works of Émile Zola. His writings influenced James Joyce, according to the literary critic and biographer Richard Ellmann, and, although Moore's work is sometimes seen as outside the mainstream of both Irish and British literature, he is as often regarded as the first great modern Irish novelist. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A great artist is always before his time or behind it.

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.

All reformers are bachelors.

Faith goes out of the window when beauty comes in at the door.

Humanity is a pigsty, where lions, hypocrites, and the obscene in spirit congregate.

I am filled with pride when I think of the noble and exalted world that must have existed before Christian doctrine caused men to look upon women with suspicion and bade them to think of angels instead.

I will admit that an artist may be great and limited; by one word he may light up an abyss of soul; but there must be this one magical and unique word.

I would lay aside the wisest book to talk to a stupid woman.

Injustice we worship; all that lifts us out of the miseries of life is the sublime fruit of injustice. Every immortal deed was an act of fearful injustice; the world of grandeur, of triumph, of courage, of lofty aspiration, was built up on injustice. Man would not be man but for injustice.

It does not matter how badly you paint so long as you don't paint badly like other people.

Love- but not marriage. Marriage means a four-post bed and papa and mamma between eleven and twelve. Love is aspiration: transparencies, colour, light, a sense of the unreal. But a wife- you know all about her- who her father was, who her mother was, what she thinks of you and her opinion of the neighbours over the way. Where, then, is the dream?

Self is man's main business; all outside of self is uncertain, all comes from self, all returns to self.

Terrible is the day when each sees his soul naked, stripped of all veil; that dear soul which he cannot change or discard, and which is so irreparably his.

The lot of critics is to be remembered by what they failed to understand.

The mind petrifies if a circle be drawn around it, and it can hardly be denied that dogma draws a circle round the mind.

The public will accept a masterpiece, but it will not accept an attempt to write a masterpiece.

The world is dying of machinery; that is the great disease, that is the plague that will sweep away and destroy civilization; man will have to rise against it sooner or later.

The world wants geniuses, but it wants them to behave just like other people.

The wrong way always seems the more reasonable.

Ugliness is trivial, the monstrous is terrible.

We all want notoriety; our desires on this point, as upon others, are not noble, but the human is very despicable vermin and only tolerable when it tends to the brute, and away from the evangelical.

We humans are more complicated than animals, and we love through the imagination.


(February 24 is also the birthday of Steve Jobs and Mitch Hedberg.)

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Quotes of the day: Jessamyn West

Published Sunday, February 22, 2015 @ 1:06 PM EST
Feb 22 2015

Mary Jessamyn West (July 18, 1902 - February 23, 1984) was an American author of short stories and novels, notably The Friendly Persuasion (1945). A Quaker from Indiana, she graduated from Fullerton Union High School in 1919 and Whittier College in 1923. There she helped found the Palmer Society in 1921. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

A broken bone can heal, but the wound a word opens can fester forever.

A good time for laughing is when you can.

A rattlesnake that doesn't bite teaches you nothing.

A religious awakening which does not awaken the sleeper to love has roused him in vain.

A taste for irony has kept more hearts from breaking than a sense of humor, for it takes irony to appreciate the joke which is on oneself.

Faithfulness to the past can be a kind of death above ground. Writing of the past is a resurrection; the past then lives in your words and you are free.

Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.

Groan and forget it.

How can you tell whether or not you have had enough until you've had a little too much?

I never meet anyone nowadays who admits to having had a happy childhood. Everyone appears to think happiness betokens a lack of sensitivity.

I've done more harm by the falseness of trying to please than by the honesty of trying to hurt.

If you train people properly, they won't be able to tell a drill from the real thing. If anything, the real thing will be easier.

If you want a baby, have a new one. Don't baby the old one.

In their sympathies, children feel nearer animals than adults. They frolic with animals, caress them, share with them feelings neither has words for. Have they ever stroked any adult with the love they bestow on a cat? Hugged any grownup with the ecstasy they feel when clasping a puppy?

It is very east to forgive others their mistakes; it takes more grit and gumption to forgive them for having witnessed your own.

Justice is a terrible but necessary thing.

Memory is a magnet. It will pull to it and hold only material nature has designed it to attract.

Nothing is so dear as what you're about to leave.

Only a fool would refuse to enter a fool's paradise when that's the only paradise he'll ever have a chance to enter.

Sleeplessness is a desert without vegetation or inhabitants.

Some people are always thirsting for water from other people's wells.

Suffering is also one of the ways of knowing you're alive.

Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely necessary.

The basic essential of a great actor is that he loves himself in acting.

The past is really almost as much a work of the imagination as the future.

The source of one's joy is also often the source of one's sorrow.

There are two barriers that often prevent communication between the young and their elders. The first is middle-aged forgetfulness of the fact that they themselves are no longer young. The second is youthful ignorance of the fact that the middle aged are still alive.

We can love an honest rogue, but what is more offensive than a false saint?

We want the facts to fit the preconceptions. When they don't it is easier to ignore the facts than to change the preconceptions.


(February 23 is also the birthday of W.E.B. DuBois.)

Categories: Jessamyn West; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Christian Bovee

Published Saturday, February 21, 2015 @ 5:31 PM EST
Feb 21 2015

Christian Nestell Bovee (February 22, 1820 – January 18, 1904) was an epigrammatic New York writer who wrote two books that were widely quoted in contemporaneous compilations: Intuitions and Summaries of Thought and Thoughts, Feelings and Fancies. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A sound discretion is not so much indicated by never making a mistake as by never repeating it.

As threshing separates the wheat from the chaff, so does affliction purify virtue.

Courage enlarges, cowardice diminishes resources. In desperate straits the fears of the timid aggravate the dangers that imperil the brave.

Doubt whom you will, but never yourself.

Enthusiasm is the inspiration of everything great. Without it no man is to be feared, and with it none despised.

Example has more followers than reason. We unconsciously imitate what pleases us, and approximate to the characters we most admire.

False friends are like our shadow, keeping close to us while we walk in the sunshine, but leaving us the instant we cross into the shade.

Fame- a few words upon a tombstone, and the truth of those not to be depended on.

Genius makes its observations in short-hand; talent writes them out at length.

Good men have the fewest fears. He has but one great fear who fears to do wrong; he has a thousand who has overcome it.

In ambition, as in love, the successful can afford to be indulgent toward their rivals. The prize our own, it is graceful to recognize the merit that vainly aspired to it.

In politics, merit is rewarded by the possessor being raised, like a target, to a position to be fired at.

Living with a saint is more grueling than being one.

Loss of sincerity is loss of vital power.

At all events, the next best thing to being witty one's self, is to be able to quote another's wit.

No man is happy without a delusion of some kind. Delusions are as necessary to our happiness as realities.

Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination.

Tears are nature's lotion for the eyes. The eyes see better for being washed by them.

The body of a sensualist is the coffin of a dead soul.

The great artist is a slave to his ideals.

The language denotes the man. A coarse or refined character finds its expression naturally in a coarse or refined phraseology.

The light in the world comes principally from two sources- the sun, and the student's lamp.

The passions are like fire, useful in a thousand ways and dangerous only in one, through their excess.

The small courtesies sweeten life; the greater ennoble it.

The worst deluded are the self-deluded.

There is great beauty in going through life without anxiety or fear. Half our fears are baseless, and the other half discreditable.

There is, indeed, no wild beast more to be dreaded than a communicative man having nothing to communicate.

They are the weakest, however strong, who have no faith in themselves or their own powers.

Tranquil pleasures last the longest; we are not fitted to bear the burden of great joys.

We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.

We make way for the man who boldly pushes past us.

We trifle when we assign limits to our desires, since nature hath set none.

What we call conscience, in many instances, is only a wholesome fear of the constable.

When all else is lost, the future still remains.


(February 22 is also the birthday of Arthur Schopenhauer and Jules Renard.)

Categories: Christian Bovee; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Malcolm X

Published Friday, February 20, 2015 @ 9:49 AM EST
Feb 20 2015

Malcolm X (May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965), born Malcolm Little and also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was an African-American Muslim minister and a human rights activist. To his admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans; detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A ballot is like a bullet. You don’t throw your ballots until you see a target, and if that target is not within your reach, keep your ballot in your pocket.

A fox and a wolf are both canine, both belong to the dog family. Now you take your choice. You going to choose a Northern dog or a Southern dog? Because either dog you choose, I guarantee you’ll still be in the dog house.

A segregated school means a school that is controlled by people who have no real interest in it whatsoever.

A segregated school system produces children who, when they graduate, graduate with crippled minds.

Any time you find the government involved in a conspiracy to violate the citizenship or the civil rights of a people, then you are wasting your time going to that government expecting redress.

Any time you have to rely upon your enemy for a job you’re in bad shape.

Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs only to the people who prepare for it today.

I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color.

I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.

No religion is greater than truth. No faith is greater than fact.

Nonviolence is fine as long as it works.

Our forefathers weren't the Pilgrims. We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. The rock was landed on us. We were brought here against our will. We were not brought here to be made citizens. We were not brought here to enjoy the constitutional gifts that they speak so beautifully about today.

People don't realize how a man's whole life can be changed by one book.

Sitting at the table doesn't make you a diner, unless you eat some of what's on the plate. Being here in America doesn't make you an American. Being born in America doesn't make you an American.

The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make the criminal look like he's a the victim and make the victim look like he's the criminal.

To me the earth's most explosive and pernicious evil is racism, the inability of God's creatures to live as One, especially in the Western world.

We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.

Were we to come out here discussing religion, we’d have too many differences from the outstart and we could never get together.

Whenever you’re going after something that belongs to you, anyone who’s depriving you of the right to have it is a criminal. Understand that. Whenever you are going after something that is yours, you are within your legal rights to lay claim to it. And anyone who puts forth any effort to deprive you of that which is yours, is breaking the law, is a criminal.

Whether we are Christians or Muslims or nationalists or agnostics or atheists, we must first learn to forget our differences. If we have differences, let us differ in the closet; when we come out in front, let us not have anything to argue about until we get finished arguing with the man.

You can't separate peace from freedom, because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.

You get freedom by letting your enemy know that you'll do anything to get your freedom; then you'll get it. It's the only way you'll get it.

You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it.


(February 21 is also the birthday of Anais Nin, Sacha Guitry, W.H. Auden, and Erma Bombeck.)

Categories: Malcolm X; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Ansel Adams

Published Thursday, February 19, 2015 @ 10:28 PM EST
Feb 19 2015

Ansel Easton Adams (February 20, 1902 - April 22, 1984) was an American photographer and environmentalist. His black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West, especially Yosemite National Park, have been widely reproduced on calendars, posters, and books. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.

A photograph is usually looked at- seldom looked into.

A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.

For me the future of the image is going to be in electronic form. ... You will see perfectly beautiful images on an electronic screen. And I'd say that would be very handsome. They would be almost as close as the best reproductions.

I eagerly await new concepts and processes. I believe that the electronic image will be the next major advance. Such systems will have their own inherent and inescapable structural characteristics, and the artist and functional practitioner will again strive to comprehend and control them.

I have often thought that if photography were difficult in the true sense of the term- meaning that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching- there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.

I would never apologize for photographing rocks. Rocks can be very beautiful. But, yes, people have asked why I don't put people into my pictures of the natural scene. I respond, 'There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.' That usually doesn't go over at all.

If what I see in my mind excites me, there is a good chance it will make a good photograph.

It is horrifying that we have to fight our own Government to save the environment.

Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer, and often the supreme disappointment.

No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.

No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied- it speaks in silence to the very core of your being.

Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.

Photography, as a powerful medium... offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.

The herculean task of a photographer is to capture a momentary frame as beautiful in reality, as it would be in a dream.

The only things in my life that compatibly exist with this grand universe are the creative works of the human spirit.

The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.

The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.

There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.

There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.

To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces.

We must remember that a photograph can hold just as much as we put into it, and no one has ever approached the full possibilities of the medium.

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.


(February 20 is also the birthday of DeForest Kelley.)

Categories: Ansel Adams; Quotes of the day

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