Andy Pryke's Quotes Page

I've divided my quotes collection into a number of sections. Browse away!
  • Favourites
  • Dorothy Parker
  • Religion
  • Computers
  • Philosophy
  • Literary Wit
  • Mind and Mood
  • Misc

  • Favourites

    And the Devil asked me to supper,
    he said "Careful with the spoons"
    And God said "Oh ignore him.
    I've got all your albums"
    I said "Yes, but who's got all the tunes?"

    Robyn Hitchcock "When I was Dead"

    "A sandwich?!? What kind of stupid wish is that!?! Talk about a failure of
    imagination! I'd ask for a trillion billion dollars, my own space shuttle,
    and a private continent!"

    "I got *my* wish."

    - Calvin & Hobbes

    I don't make predictions. I never have and I never will.

    Tony Blair

    Knowing is not enough, you must apply.
    Willing is not enough, you must do.

    Bruce Lee. posted by Thomas B. Stanley (

    I think of the oak beams in the ceiling of College Hall at New College, Oxford. Last century, when the beams needed replacing, carpenters used oak trees that had been planted in 1386 when the dining hall was first built. The 14th century builder had planted the trees in anticipation of the time, hundreds of years in the future, when the beams would need replacing. Did the carpenters plant new trees to replace the beams again a few hundred years from now?

    Danny Hillis in Wired

    Dorothy Parker

    I wish I could drink like a lady
    I can take one or two at the most
    Three and I'm under the table
    Four and I'm under the host

    Dorothy Parker

    Travel, trouble, poetry, art,
    A kiss, a frock, a rhyme -
    None of these will fill my heart,
    But at least they pass the time.

    Dorothy Parker

    Somehow, I think Dorothy Parker and Clair Boothe Luce didn't get on too well:

    Someone told Parker that Luce was always kind to her inferiors;
    Parker replied "Where does she find them?"

    On another occasion, the two women arrived at the door at the same time.
    Luce said "Age before beauty" motioning for Paker to enter first.
    As she walked through the door, Parker replied "And Pearls before Swine."

    A telegram from Dorothy Parker to her editor, who was bugging her for belated work while she was on her honeymoon:

    "Too fucking busy, and vice versa."


    Razors pain you;
    Rivers are damp;
    Acids stain you;
    And drugs cause cramp.
    Guns aren't lawful;
    Nooses give;
    Gas smells awful;
    You might as well live.


    If I had a shiny gun,
    I could have a world of fun
    Speeding bullets through the brains
    Of the folk who give me pains;

    Or had I some poison gas,
    I could make the moments pass
    Bumping off a number of
    People whom I do not love.

    But I have no lethal weapon-
    Thus does Fate our pleasure step on!
    So they still are quick and well
    Who should be, by rights, in hell.

    Someone asked Dorothy Parker for a sentence using "horticulture".
    Instantly, she replied: "You can lead a horticulture but you cannot make her think."

    Partial Comfort

    Whose love is given over-well
    Shall look on Helen's face in hell,
    Whilst they whose love is thin and wise
    May view John Knox in paradise.


    Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
    A medley of extemporanea;
    And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
    And I am Marie of Roumania.


    "Religion is a smile on a dog."

    Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians - "What I am"

    "In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion."

    Carl Sagan, 1987 CSICOP keynote address

    "The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality."

    George Bernard Shaw

    Even the present life does not exist, How could the after-life exist?
    --(Translated from Thai) Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. (Tawit Chitsomboon)

    A fanatic is someone who does what he knows that God would do if God knew the facts of the case. (Bob Smart)

    Faith, n.
    Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

    Ambroise Bierce

    Reason should be destroyed in all Christians.

    Martin Luther

    I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive. I am not young, and I love life. But I should scorn to shiver with terror at the thought of annihilation. Happiness is none the less true happiness because it must come to an end, nor do thought and love lose their value because they are not everlasting.

    Bertrand Russell

    I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own -- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism.

    Albert Einstein

    Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword.

    Jesus, Matthew 10:34

    Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.

    Thomas Paine

    Religionists mistake shit for food and then grin at me while they are eating.

    Greg Weeks (

    "In a dead religion there are no more heresies"

    Andre Suares

    "If God wanted to hide, he would hide in human beings because that is the last place we would look."

    "I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people."

    - Mother Teresa

    Jesus pointed the way - but many of His followers are staring at His finger. (Karen McFarlin)

    "If you miss someone too much you turn into them...
    though it doesn't seem to work for the Christian Church"

    Robyn Hitchcock, 12bar 27/8/96 (Source: Jonathan Turner)

    Heaven, as conventionally conceived, is a place so inane, so dull, so useless, so miserable, that nobody has ever ventured to describe a whole day in heaven, though plenty of people have described a day at the seaside."

    George Bernard Shaw

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence commeth evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? When why call him god?


    One kills a man, one is an assassin;
    One kills millions, one is a conquerer;
    One kills everybody, one is a god.

    Jean Rostand


    There seems to be no mainframe explanation for the PC world in which we're living.

    President Bill Clinton

    "That Bill Clinton. He probably doesn't know how to log on to the Internet."

    Rush Limbaugh, noted Computer Expert

    Every program has at least one bug and can be shortened by at least one instruction -- from which, by induction, one can deduce that every program can be reduced to one instruction which doesn't work.

    fortune cookie

    A computer scientist is someone who, when told to "Go to Hell," sees the "go to," rather than the destination, as harmful.
    "Crossposting isn't inherently evil,
    in the same sense that necrophilia doesn't really hurt anybody.
    One wonders only whether it's appropriate to the occasion."

    Rick Gordon

    Remember the times when the internet was *fast*? To prevent net overload and abuse, the AAP proposes the "binary graduated surfing license". Internet newbies will start with a 1200 baud modem during the first month, then doubling bandwith each half year.

    GUDATH@EZINFO.VMSMAIL.ETHZ.CH (Henrik 'Ratte' Gudat) (Association of Anticyclic People Manifesto)

    The Communications Decency Act censors itself: It is patently offensive by the standards of the community to which it applies: the Internet Community

    Dave Noelle

    The boy and the frog

    A boy was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him
    and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess."
    He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.

    The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back
    into a beautiful Princess, I will stay with you for one week."
    The boy took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it
    and returned it to the pocket.

    The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into
    a Princess, I'll stay with you and do anything you want." Again
    the boy took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.

    Finally the frog asked, "What is it? I've told you I'm a beautiful
    Princess, that I'll stay with you for a week and do anything you
    want. Why won't you kiss me?"

    The boy said, "Look, I'm a computer programmer. I don't have time
    for girlfriends, but a talking frog is really cool."

    When your hammer is C++, everything begins to look like a thumb.

    Steve Hoflich, compl.lang.c++

    It was a typical net.exercise -- a screaming mob pounding on a greasy spot on the pavement, where used to lie the carcass of a dead horse. (Mike Van Pelt)

    From: (J135792468)
    [1] so fuckin drunk(spoiler) word FUCK
    Date: Fri Nov 01 05:03:05 GMT 1996
    Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
    Lines: 1

    I am so fucking drunk. I love this............


    "There is only one good - knowledge; and one evil - ignorance."


    Consciousness is mysterious.
    Quantum mechanics is mysterious.
    By the 'Law of Minimization of Mystery',
    if you find two mysteries, maybe they are the same.

    April 12-17, 1994 Tucson, AZ
    reported by (Steve Potter)

    The term autopoiesis connotes the idea that certain types of system exist in a particular manner - they are self-producing systems. In their operations they continuously produce their own constituents, their own components, which then participate in these same production processes.

    Ken Derham <>
    (review of SELF-PRODUCING SYSTEMS by John Mingers)

    "There are no differences but differences of degree between different degrees of difference and no difference at all."

    William James, under the influence of nitrous oxide; 1882

    "The reasonable man will adjust to the demands of his environment.
    The unreasonable man expects his environment to adjust to his own needs.
    Therefore, all progress depends upon the unreasonable man."

    George Bernard Shaw

    Civilisation advances by extending the number of important operations we can perform without thinking about them.

    Alfred North Whitehead

    Every philosophy is tinged with the colouring of some secret imaginative background,
    which never emerges explicitly into its trains of reasoning.

    Alfred North Whitehead

    God is subtle, but he is not malicious.

    Albert Einstein

    I never said it was possible. I only said it was true.

    Charles Richet, Nobel Laureate in Physiology.

    Penetrating so many secrets, we cease to believe in the unknowable.
    But there it sits nonetheless, calmly licking its chops.

    H. L. Mencken

    Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise.

    John W. Tukey

    Ethical metaphysics is fundamentally an attempt, however disguised, to give legislative force to our own wishes.

    Bertrand Russell

    The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.

    Bertrand Russell

    I strongly hold that, if an idea fits with common sense, then scientifically it is almost certain to be false.

    Lewis Wolpert

    "You know what a dumbshit the 'average man' on the street is?
    Well, by definition, half of them are even dumber than that!"

    J.R. "Bob" Dobbs

    A little learning is a dangerous thing:
    Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring;
    There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    And drinking largely sobers us again.

    Alexander Pope

    Literary Wit

    Strachey and Carrington met at the Sussex country home of Woolf. He
    was tall and emaciated and wore a long beard that drew goatlike bleats
    from street louts. Her short-cropped hair, baring the hollow of the
    neck when that was never seen in polite society, also excited
    hostility. Woolf told her sister Vanessa that on a 1917 visit to her
    home, Carrington and Strachey withdrew ``ostensibly to copulate'' but
    were later discovered reading aloud from Macaulay.

    Conversation should be
    pleasant without scurrility,
    witty without affection,
    free without indecency,
    learned without conceitedness,
    novel without falsehood.

    - William Shakespeare (Proof that William Shakespeare Never Read Usenet)

    A joke attributed to Oscar Wilde.

    Oscar Wilde was sitting next to a lady at a society dinner, and he said to her:

    "Would you go to bed with Sir Ralph for a thousand guineas?"
    "I might," she said, flicking her fan.
    "What if it was for a silver florin?"
    "What do you take me for!" she snapped haughtily.
    "We already know what you are my dear," Oscar replied, "I'm only trying to establish the price."

    A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling

    For example, in Year 1 that useless letter "c" would be dropped to be replased either by "k" or "s", and likewise "x" would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which "c" would be retained would be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later. Year 2 might reform "w" spelling, so that "which" and "one" would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish "y" replasing it with "i" and Iear 4 might fiks the "g/j" anomali wonse and for all. Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants. Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez "c", "y" and "x" -- bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez -- tu riplais "ch", "sh", and "th" rispektivli. Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.

    Mark Twain

    Mind and Mood

    "Iron rusts from disuse;
    stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen;
    even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind."

    Leonardo da Vinci

    "It is a damn poor mind indeed which can't think of at least two ways to spell any word."

    Andrew Jackson

    "Intelligence is characterised by a natural incomprehension of life."

    Henri Bergson

    Ah, if in this world there were no such thing as cherry blossoms,
    perhaps then in springtime our hearts would be at peace.

    Ariwara no Narihira

    Only when I could take up the sword of judgement
    along with the lotus of compassion
    was I able to stay in a relationship comfortably.


    They used to spend long hours talking over coffee.
    Eventually (or unfortunately), he mistook caffine overdose for love, and proposed.

    To lose one lover may be considered a misfortune,
    to lose both seems like carelessness.

    "Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know."

    Ernest Hemingway

    Hamlet Act 2, Scene 2


    I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation
    prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the king
    and queen moult no feather. I have of late--but
    wherefore I know not--lost all my mirth, forgone all
    custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily
    with my disposition that this goodly frame, the
    earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most
    excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave
    o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted
    with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to
    me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
    What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
    how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
    express and admirable! in action how like an angel!
    in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
    world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me,
    what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not
    me: no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling
    you seem to say so.

    Love makes the time pass. Time make the love pass.

    French proverb

    I learned early and deeply the habit of emotional incontinence,
    spewing one's emotions automatically without regard to their causes
    or their likely effects on the people around one. (Jill Lundquist)

    Beauty is nothing other than the promise of happiness


    If ignorance is bliss and patience is a virtue,
    you can have a pretty good life if you're stupid and willing to wait.

    Jill Knapp

    To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.

    Bruce Lee

    Sensuality often hastens the growth of love so much that the roots remain weak and are easily torn up.

    Friedrich Nietzsche

    Amid the sufferings of life on earth, suicide is God's best gift to man

    Pliny the Elder

    No emotion, any more than a wave, can long retain its own individual form

    Henry Ward Beecher

    Each of us understands in others only those feelings he is capable of producing himself

    Andrew Gide

    To be happy in this world, especially when youth is past,
    it is necessary not to feel oneself an isolated individual whose day will soon be over,
    but part of the stream of life flowing on from the first germ to the remote and unknown future

    Bertrand Russell

    "We will not have freedom until we are free of the psychology dictated by our DNA."

    Bill Spence

    ...we must be wary of granting too much power to natural selection by viewing all basic capacities of our brain as direct adaptations.

    Steven Jay Gould

    Ordinary language embodies the metaphysics of the Stone Age.

    J. L. Austin

    Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed
    by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
    Explore. Dream. Discover.

    Mark Twain


    Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty

    Net sig virus

    Understanding humor is like dissecting a live frog.
    It can be done, but the frog tends to die in the process.

    E.B. White

    I'm a vegetarian not because I like animals but because I really hate plants.

    Andrew Taafe (and/or A. Whitney Brown)

    The great mistake is to anticipate the outcome of the engagement;
    You ought not to be thinking of whether it ends in victory or in defeat.
    Let nature take its course, and your tools will strike at the right moment.

    Bruce Lee

    "Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no
    basis for a system of government"
    - M. Palin

    Happenings are sometimes organised at which thousands of people hold
    hands and form a human chain, say from coast to coast of the United
    States, in aid of some cause or charity. Let us imagine setting one up
    along the equator, across the width of our home continent of
    Africa. It is a special kind of chain, involving parents and children,
    and we will have to play tricks with time in order to imagine it. You
    stand on the shore of the Indian Ocean in southern Somalia, facing
    north, and in your left hand you hold the right hand of your
    mother. In turn she holds the hand of her mother, your
    grandmother. Your grandmother holds her mother's hand, and so on. The
    chain wends its way up the beach, into the arid scrubland and
    westwards on towards the Kenya border.

    How far do we have to go until we reach our common ancestor with the
    chimpanzees? It is a surprisingly short way. Allowing one yard per
    person, we arrive at the ancestor we share with chimpanzees in under
    300 miles. We have hardly started to cross the continent; we are still
    not half way to the Great Rift Valley. The ancestor is standing well
    to the east of Mount Kenya, and holding in her hand an entire chain of
    her lineal descendants, culminating in you standing on the Somali

    from Gaps in the Mind by Richard Dawkins
    Excerpted from The Great Ape Project,
    edited by Paola Cavalieri and Peter Singer.

    Remember two wrongs don't make a right,
    but three lefts do.

    X: "These mini pizza's are so small, you don't need a knife and fork"
    RC: "If they were any smaller, you wouldn't even need teeth"

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I took both
    - Anon

    One cannot hope to bribe or twist,
    Thank God, the British journalist.
    But seeing what the man will do
    Un-bribed, there's no occasion to.

    "To really know someone is to have loved and hated him in turn"

    Marcel Jouhandeau

    "I'd rather that a bigot mistake me for a lesbian than that a lesbian mistake me for a bigot."

    In hearing two sides of an argument, I'm guided by a strict sense of personal ethics:
    Always agree vehemently with the person you find sexiest
    - you stand a better chance of getting them into bed that way.
    Ignore the ugly slob--who cares what they think anyway? (Mick Washbrook)

    There once was a pretty young miss,
    Who went to a lake for a swim,
    But a bloke in a punt,
    Stuck his oar in her eye,
    And now she can't see very well


    "If I wanted fat, sleazy Republicans telling me what to do,
    I'd go back to hustling blowjobs on street corners"

    Will Hardesty, Comedian, speaking about Rush Limbaugh

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read.

    Groucho Marx

    Ye knowe eek, that in forme of speche is chaunge
    With-inne a thousand yeer, and wordes tho
    That hadden prys, now wonder nyce and straunge
    Us thinketh hem; and yet they spake hem so...

    Troilus and Criseyde by Geoffrey Chaucer

    The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.


    Some of these quotes are from Mellisa Wyatt's Thought of the Week, Tim Mansfield's Quotes Page and A QuotesPage of Magnus Norline.

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