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Proverbs, aphorisms, quotations (English) by Linux fortune

No Civil War picture ever made a nickel.
                -- MGM executive Irving Thalberg to Louis B. Mayer about
                   film rights to "Gone With the Wind".
                   Cerf/Navasky, "The Experts Speak"
We just joined the civil hair patrol!
There *__is* no such thing as a civil engineer.
I have sacrificed time, health, and fortune, in the desire to complete these
Calculating Engines.  I have also declined several offers of great personal
advantage to myself.  But, notwithstanding the sacrifice of these advantages
for the purpose of maturing an engine of almost intellectual power, and after
expending from my own private fortune a larger sum than the government of
England has spent on that machine, the execution of which it only commenced,
I have received neither an acknowledgement of my labors, not even the offer
of those honors or rewards which are allowed to fall within the reach of men
who devote themselves to purely scientific investigations...  

If the work upon which I have bestowed so much time and thought were a mere
triumph over mechanical difficulties, or simply curious, or if the execution
of such engines were of doubtful practicability or utility, some justification
might be found for the course which has been taken; but I venture to assert
that no mathematician who has a reputation to lose will ever publicly express
an opinion that such a machine would be useless if made, and that no man
distinguished as a civil engineer will venture to declare the construction of
such machinery impracticable...

And at a period when the progress of physical science is obstructed by that
exhausting intellectual and manual labor, indispensable for its advancement,
which it is the object of the Analytical Engine to relieve, I think the
application of machinery in aid of the most complicated and abtruse
calculations can no longer be deemed unworthy of the attention of the country.
In fact, there is no reason why mental as well as bodily labor should not
be economized by the aid of machinery.
- Charles Babbage, Passage from the Life of a Philosopher
"Based on what you know about him in history books, what do you think Abraham
Lincoln would be doing if he were alive today?
        1) Writing his memoirs of the Civil War.
        2) Advising the President.
        3) Desperately clawing at the inside of his
           coffin."
-- David Letterman
The spectacle of astrology in the White House -- the governing center of
the world's greatest scientific and military power -- is so appalling that
it defies understanding and provides grounds for great fright.  The easiest
response is to laugh it off, and to indulge in wisecracks about Civil
Service ratings for horoscope makers and palm readers and whether Reagan
asked Mikhail Gorbachev for his sign.  A contagious good cheer is the
hallmark of this presidency, even when the most dismal matters are concerned.
But this time, it isn't funny.  It's plain scary.
-- Daniel S. Greenberg, Editor, _Science and Government Report_, writing in
   "Newsday", May 5, 1988
"The simple rights, the civil liberties from generations of struggle must not
be just fine words for patriotic holidays, words we subvert on weekdays, but
living, honored rules of conduct amongst us...I'm glad the American Civil
Liberties Union gets indignant, and I hope this will always be so."
-- Senator Adlai E. Stevenson
The Poet Whose Badness Saved His Life
        The most important poet in the seventeenth century was George
Wither.  Alexander Pope called him "wretched Wither" and Dryden said of his
verse that "if they rhymed and rattled all was well".
        In our own time, "The Dictionary of National Biography" notes that his
work "is mainly remarkable for its mass, fluidity and flatness.  It usually
lacks any genuine literary quality and often sinks into imbecile doggerel".
        High praise, indeed, and it may tempt you to savour a typically
rewarding stanza: It is taken from "I loved a lass" and is concerned with
the higher emotions.
                She would me "Honey" call,
                She'd -- O she'd kiss me too.
                But now alas!  She's left me
                Falero, lero, loo.
        Among other details of his mistress which he chose to immortalize
was her prudent choice of footwear.
                The fives did fit her shoe.
        In 1639 the great poet's life was endangered after his capture by
the Royalists during the English Civil War.  When Sir John Denham, the
Royalist poet, heard of Wither's imminent execution, he went to the King and
begged that his life be spared.  When asked his reason, Sir John replied,
"Because that so long as Wither lived, Denham would not be accounted the
worst poet in England."
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
handshaking protocol, n:
        A process employed by hostile hardware devices to initate a
        terse but civil dialogue, which, in turn, is characterized by
        occasional misunderstanding, sulking, and name-calling.
QOTD:
        I've heard about civil Engineers, but I've never met one.
Brisk talkers are usually slow thinkers.  There is, indeed, no wild beast
more to be dreaded than a communicative man having nothing to communicate.
If you are civil to the voluble, they will abuse your patience; if
brusque, your character.
                -- Jonathan Swift
A Difficulty for Every Solution.
                -- Motto of the Federal Civil Service
All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers ... Each one owes
infinitely more to the human race than to the particular country in
which he was born.
                -- Francois Fenelon
I used to be a rebel in my youth.

This cause... that cause... (chuckle) I backed 'em ALL!  But I learned.
Rebellion is simply a device used by the immature to hide from his own
problems.  So I lost interest in politics.  Now when I feel aroused by
a civil rights case or a passport hearing... I realize it's just a device.
I go to my analyst and we work it out.  You have no idea how much better
I feel these days.
                -- J. Feiffer
Take Care of the Molehills, and the Mountains Will Take Care of Themselves.
                -- Motto of the Federal Civil Service
That government is best which governs least.
                -- Henry David Thoreau, "Civil Disobedience"
The government has just completed work on a missile that turned out to be a
bit of a boondoggle; nicknamed "Civil Servant", it won't work and they can't
fire it.
I have sacrificed time, health, and fortune, in the desire to complete these
Calculating Engines.  I have also declined several offers of great personal
advantage to myself.  But, notwithstanding the sacrifice of these advantages
for the purpose of maturing an engine of almost intellectual power, and
after expending from my own private fortune a larger sum than the government
of England has spent on that machine, the execution of which it only
commenced, I have received neither an acknowledgement of my labors, not even
the offer of those honors or rewards which are allowed to fall within the
reach of men who devote themselves to purely scientific investigations...
        If the work upon which I have bestowed so much time and thought were
a mere triumph over mechanical difficulties, or simply curious, or if the
execution of such engines were of doubtful practicability or utility, some
justification might be found for the course which has been taken; but I
venture to assert that no mathematician who has a reputation to lose will
ever publicly express an opinion that such a machine would be useless if
made, and that no man distinguished as a civil engineer will venture to
declare the construction of such machinery impracticable...
        And at a period when the progress of physical science is obstructed
by that exhausting intellectual and manual labor, indispensable for its
advancement, which it is the object of the Analytical Engine to relieve, I
think the application of machinery in aid of the most complicated and abtruse
calculations can no longer be deemed unworthy of the attention of the country.
In fact, there is no reason why mental as well as bodily labor should not
be economized by the aid of machinery.
                -- Charles Babbage, "The Life of a Philosopher"
If you have received a letter inviting you to speak at the dedication of a
new cat hospital, and you hate cats, your reply, declining the invitation,
does not necessarily have to cover the full range of your emotions.  You must
make it clear that you will not attend, but you do not have to let fly at cats.
The writer of the letter asked a civil question; attack cats, then, only if
you can do so with good humor, good taste, and in such a way that your answer
will be courteous as well as responsive.  Since you are out of sympathy with
cats, you may quite properly give this as a reason for not appearing at the
dedication ceremonies of a cat hospital.  But bear in mind that your opinion
of cats was not sought, only your services as a speaker.  Try to keep things
straight.
                -- Strunk and White, "The Elements of Style"
No guarantee of accuracy or completeness!
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