21 December 2014 | 14:29 | No Comments

Robert Burns

Be Britain still to Britain true,
Among ourselves united;
For never but by British hands
Must British wrongs be righted!

18 September 2014 | 0:12 | No Comments

William Wilberforce

on the human condition

Truly we must pronounce him “majestic though in ruin”.

8 September 2014 | 9:05 | No Comments

Crispin’s Razor

In any argument every time the word “clearly” is used apply the following definition.

Clearly: (adverb) an incantation uttered in the hope that a reader or listener will not notice that, whilst the truth of the statement that follows it is essential to case being posited, there is in fact no evidence for the truth of that statement nor does it follow logically from any premise already established. Synonyms “undoubtedly”, “naturally”.

27 August 2014 | 5:17 | No Comments

Wanda Landowska (harpsichordist)

I never practice, I always play.

26 August 2014 | 15:12 | No Comments


“Your adorable” she texted
“No YOU’RE adorable” I texted back
and now she thinks I like her and all I was doing was correcting her English.

25 August 2014 | 20:59 | No Comments

Steve Jobs (in 1983)

[Apple’s] strategy is really simple. What we want to do is we want to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes … and we really want to do it with a radio link in it so you don’t have to hook up to anything and you’re in communication with all of these larger databases and other computers.

24 August 2014 | 21:27 | No Comments

Milton Friedman

One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.

23 August 2014 | 11:45 | No Comments

H L Mencken

An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.

22 August 2014 | 19:06 | No Comments

Christian Bovee

Example has more followers than reason.

21 August 2014 | 17:10 | No Comments

Einstein and Chaplin (possibly)

Einstein: What I most admire about your art, is your universality. You don’t say a word, yet the world understands you.

Chaplin: It is true but your glory is even greater: The whole world admires you, even though they don’t understand a word of what you say.

19 August 2014 | 20:26 | No Comments

Sterling Hayden

To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen, who play with their boats at sea — “cruising,” it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.

18 August 2014 | 20:10 | No Comments

Paul Krugman (in 1998)

The growth of the Internet will slow drastically, as the flaw in “Metcalfe’s law”–which states that the number of potential connections in a network is proportional to the square of the number of participants–becomes apparent: most people have nothing to say to each other! By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s.

17 August 2014 | 18:38 | No Comments

Francis Bacon

Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; morals, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.

16 August 2014 | 23:09 | No Comments

C S Lewis

The sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal.

15 August 2014 | 19:54 | No Comments

Tim Harford

As human freedoms go, the freedom to take your custom elsewhere is not a grand or noble one – but neither is it one that we should abandon without a fight.

14 August 2014 | 16:18 | No Comments

T S Eliot

Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
Will not stay still.

13 July 2014 | 9:59 | No Comments

T E Lawrence

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did.

31 May 2014 | 20:21 | No Comments

Tony Benn

If one meets a powerful person – Rupert Murdoch, perhaps, or Joe Stalin or Hitler – one can ask five questions: what power do you have; where did you get it; in whose interests do you exercise it; to whom are you accountable; and, how can we get rid of you? Anyone who cannot answer the last of those questions does not live in a democratic system.

14 March 2014 | 23:42 | No Comments

Kwesi Brew

The Mesh

We have come to the cross-roads
And I must either leave or come with you.
I lingered over the choice
But in the darkness of my doubts
You lifted the lamp of love
And I saw in your face
The road that I should take.

9 March 2014 | 0:50 | No Comments

C S Lewis

We are half-hearted creatures,
fooling about with drink and sex and
ambition when infinite joy is offered us,
like an ignorant child who wants to go on
making mud pies in a slum because he
cannot imagine what is meant by the offer
of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily

7 March 2014 | 16:06 | No Comments

Tom Stoppard

14th March

Einstein born,
Quite unprepared,
For E to equal
MC squared

1 March 2014 | 2:46 | No Comments

Malcolm Muggeridge

The only ultimate disaster that can befall us, I have come to realise, is to feel ourselves to be at home here on earth.

28 January 2014 | 22:35 | No Comments


Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment

29 December 2013 | 14:21 | No Comments

David Coleman

If that had gone in, it would have been a goal.

22 December 2013 | 1:17 | No Comments

William Shakespeare

Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard.
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.

6 December 2013 | 9:39 | No Comments

Ian Dury

The Bus Driver’s Prayer

Our Father,
Who art in Hendon
Harrow Road be Thy name
Thy Kingston come
Thy Wimbledon
In Erith as it is in Hendon.
Give us this day our Berkhamsted
And forgive us our Westminsters
As we forgive those who Westminster against us.

Lead us not into Temple Station
And deliver us from Ealing,
For thine is the Kingston
The Purley and the Crawley,
For Iver and Iver.
Crouch End.

28 November 2013 | 10:14 | No Comments

Thomas Hood

No sun – no moon!
No morn – no noon –
No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member –
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! –

27 November 2013 | 13:13 | No Comments

Stir Up Sunday (from the collect for the last Sunday before Advent)

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

24 November 2013 | 10:57 | No Comments

C S Lewis

The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning

22 November 2013 | 15:35 | No Comments

Abraham Lincoln

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war; we are met to dedicate a portion of it as the final resting place of those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this, but in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.

The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or to detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here; but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they have thus far so nobly carried on. It is rather for us here to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us; that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain. That the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom, and that the government of the people, by the people and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

20 November 2013 | 0:06 | No Comments

Ian McMillan

Lamb’s Conduit Street

A world in miniature; a universe in a grain of sand.
You can look from one end and see the other end.
You couldn’t call it majestic. It isn’t very grand
And yet I think it’s monumental. A nuanced blend
Of shops and popups and café’s you can pop in,
Slip out of carrying coffee that makes everything clear
And somehow this street quietens the city’s din
And concentrates the careworn mind to the sheer
Pleasure of simply walking down a welcoming street
That asks you to pause, take your time, have a look
And follow a different, independent, subtle beat.
Buy a shirt. Buy a croissant. Meet your mate. Buy a book.
I went there with my son and he turned to me and said
‘This is the perfect street. I’ll always live here in my head.’

13 November 2013 | 1:03 | No Comments

Christopher Logue

To a Friend in Search of Rural Seclusion

When all else fails,
Try Wales.

12 November 2013 | 10:30 | No Comments

Adam Smith

The frugality and industry of private people can repair the breaches which the extravagance of government makes in society’s capital.

29 October 2013 | 23:24 | No Comments

John Davidson

For she’s made of flint and roses, very odd;

15 October 2013 | 7:52 | No Comments

Leonardo da Vinci

It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.

10 October 2013 | 0:54 | No Comments

Calvin Coolidge (possibly)

Women sitting next to him at dinner: Oh Mr President my friend bet me I wouldn’t be able to get you to say three words to me tonight.

Coolidge: You lose

4 October 2013 | 9:27 | No Comments

Milton Friedman

We economists don’t know much, but we do know how to create a shortage. If you want to create a shortage of tomatoes, for example, just pass a law that retailers can’t sell tomatoes for more than two cents per pound. Instantly you’ll have a tomato shortage. It’s the same with oil or gas.

24 September 2013 | 16:39 | No Comments

Robert Browning

Meeting at Night

The grey sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand.

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, thro’ its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each.

23 September 2013 | 21:54 | No Comments

Elmore Leonard

10 Rules of Good Writing

1 Never open a book with weather.
2 Avoid prologues.
3 Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
4 Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” … he admonished gravely.
5 Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
6 Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
7 Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8 Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9 Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
10 Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

The most important rule is one that sums up the 10, if it sounds like writing, rewrite it.

20 August 2013 | 16:15 | No Comments

T S Eliot

Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm — but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.

27 July 2013 | 11:13 | No Comments

Richard Rohr

To finally surrender ourselves to healing, we have to have three spaces opened within us – and all at the same time; our opinionated head, our closed down heart, and our defensive and defended body.

24 June 2013 | 8:14 | No Comments

William Douglas-Home


Answer to the exam question “What is the future of coal?”

22 June 2013 | 23:17 | No Comments

William Morris (possibly)

Morris said to have spent much of his time in Paris in the Eiffel tower, painting, sketching, writing and taking many of his meals in its restaurant.

One of the restaurant staff noticed he was a regular visitor and said, “You are certainly impressed with our Tower, monsieur!”

“Impressed?!!” said Morris. “This is the only place in Paris where I can avoid seeing the thing!”

18 June 2013 | 23:13 | No Comments

G K Chesterton

We have all forgotten what we really are. All that we call common sense and rationality and practicality only means that, for certain dead levels of our life, we forget what we have forgotten. All that we call spirit and art and ecstasy only means that for one awful instant, we remember what we forgot

15 June 2013 | 11:28 | No Comments

C S Lewis

True Friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth.

successfully tested for at least two further iterations

9 June 2013 | 20:27 | No Comments

Charles Mackay

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.

3 June 2013 | 18:20 | No Comments

Alan Leshner

The plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘evidence’

27 May 2013 | 22:03 | No Comments

On Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

A bishop interviewing Justin Welby when he first put himself forward for ordination:

I have interviewed a thousand candidates for ordination and you don’t come in the top thousand.

13 May 2013 | 10:47 | No Comments


Things I hate
1) Vandalism
2) Irony
3) Lists

16 April 2013 | 23:58 | No Comments

Margaret Thatcher

I had applied for a job at Imperial Chemical Industries in 1948 and was called for a personal interview. However I failed to get selected. Many years later, I succeeded in finding out why I had been rejected. The remarks written by the selectors on my application were: “This woman is headstrong, obstinate and dangerously self-opinionated!”

9 April 2013 | 22:17 | No Comments

Michael Symmons Roberts


So, God takes your child by the hand
and pulls her from her deathbed.
He says: ‘Feed her, she is ravenous.’

You give her fruits with thick hides
– pomegranate, cantaloupe –
food with weight, to keep her here.

You hope that if she eats enough
the light and dust and love
which weave the matrix of her body

will not fray, nor wear so thin
that morning sun breaks through her,
shadowless, complete.

Somehow this reanimation
has cut sharp the fear of death,
the shock of presence. Feed her

roast lamb, egg, unleavened bread:
forget the herbs, she has an aching
fast to break. Sit by her side,

split skins for her so she can gorge,
and notice how the dawn
draws colour to her just-kissed face.

8 April 2013 | 8:53 | No Comments

Albert Bartlett

The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.

4 April 2013 | 12:57 | No Comments

Winston Churchill

On September 28 the fleet came safely to anchor in Pevensey Bay. There was no opposition to the landing. The local “fyrd” had been called out this year four times already to watch the coast, and having, in true English style, come to the conclusion that the danger was past because it had not yet arrived had gone back to their homes.

24 March 2013 | 10:01 | No Comments

Tom Stoppard

Milne: No matter how imperfect things are, if you’ve got a free press everything is correctable, and without it everything is concealable.
Ruth: I’m with you on the free press. It’s the newspapers I can’t stand.

19 March 2013 | 0:01 | No Comments

Lord Tennyson

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

17 March 2013 | 17:03 | No Comments

George Macdonald

That is always the way with you men; you believe nothing the first time; and it is foolish enough to let mere repetition convince you of what you consider in itself unbelievable.

10 March 2013 | 0:42 | No Comments

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

It is much easier for me to imagine a praying murderer, a praying prostitute, than a vain person praying. Nothing is so odds with prayer as vanity

24 February 2013 | 16:33 | No Comments

Once removed

Show this bold Prussian that praises slaughter, slaughter brings rout.


How his old Russian hat raises laughter, laughter rings out.

6 February 2013 | 0:43 | No Comments

Charles Handy

The McNamara Fallacy

The first step is to measure whatever can be easily measured. This is OK as far as it goes.

The second step is to disregard that which can’t be easily measured or to give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading.

The third step is to presume that what can’t be measured easily really isn’t important. This is blindness.

The fourth step is to say that what can’t be easily measured really doesn’t exist. This is suicide.

3 February 2013 | 10:48 | No Comments

H L Mencken (possibly)

When I hear artists or authors making fun of business men, I think of a regiment in which the band makes fun of the cooks.

2 February 2013 | 23:03 | No Comments

Richard Feynman

What is not surrounded by uncertainty cannot be the truth.

1 February 2013 | 0:13 | No Comments

Gustave Flaubert

Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.

31 January 2013 | 14:01 | No Comments

Winston Churchill

of Charles de Gaulle

He looks like a female llama who has just been surprised in her bath.

16 January 2013 | 23:52 | No Comments

Thomas Traherne

News from a foreign country came
As if my treasure and my wealth lay there;
So much it did my heart inflame,
‘Twas wont to call my Soul into mine ear;
Which thither went to meet
The approaching sweet,
And on the threshold stood
To entertain the unknown Good.
It hover’d there
As if ‘twould leave mine ear,
And was so eager to embrace
The joyful tidings as they came,
‘Twould almost leave its dwelling-place
To entertain that same.

15 December 2012 | 19:04 | No Comments

C S Lewis

Adherents of Xmas are exhausted and overextended but Christmas worshipers are joyful. Are you rushing or feasting?

15 December 2012 | 1:04 | No Comments

C. S. Lewis

It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.

29 November 2012 | 20:22 | No Comments

Samuel Johnson

What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.

24 November 2012 | 15:33 | No Comments

Yehuda Amichai

The Place Where We Are Right

From the place where we are right
Flowers will never grow
In the spring.

The place where we are right
Is hard and trampled
Like a yard.

But doubts and loves
Dig up the world
Like a mole, a plow.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
Where the ruined
House once stood.

10 November 2012 | 22:20 | No Comments

John Rogers

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year-old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

29 October 2012 | 22:25 | No Comments

Hugh Kingsmill

The well-to-do do not want the poor to suffer. They wish them to be as happy as is consistent with the continued prosperity of the well-to-do.

20 October 2012 | 20:32 | No Comments

G K Chesterton

To be a failure may be one step to being a saint

11 September 2012 | 20:18 | No Comments

Hugh Kingsmill

People who can repeat what you are saying aren’t listening

10 September 2012 | 7:25 | No Comments

Tom Stoppard

(from his television adaption of Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End)

A flat in Holborn! I couldn’t have imagined anything more humiliating!

9 September 2012 | 7:19 | No Comments

G K Chesterton

…the reason why the lives of the rich are at bottom so tame and uneventful is simply that they can choose the events. They are dull because they are omnipotent. They fail to feel adventures because they can make the adventures. The thing which keeps life romantic and full of fiery possibilities is the existence of these great plain limitations which force all of us to meet the things we do not like or do not expect.

8 September 2012 | 12:06 | No Comments

Woody Guthrie

This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright #154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin’ it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.

5 September 2012 | 17:29 | No Comments

Sir Thomas Browne

Be charitable before Wealth makes thee covetous.

31 August 2012 | 23:46 | No Comments

Claude Debussy

of Richard Wagner

A beautiful sunset that was mistaken for a dawn.

30 August 2012 | 21:57 | No Comments

Oliver Wendell Holmes (Snr)

He must be a poor creature that does not often repeat himself.

29 August 2012 | 0:32 | No Comments

Oliver Wendell Holmes (Snr)

He must be a poor creature that does not often repeat himself.

28 August 2012 | 0:32 | No Comments

Willard Van Orman Quine

Quine’s Paradox

“Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation” yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation.

27 August 2012 | 20:16 | No Comments


Nikainetos, third century BC

I am the grave of Biton, traveller:
If from Torone to Amphipolis you go
Give Nicagoras this message: his one son
Died in a storm, in early winter, before sunrise.

26 August 2012 | 23:23 | No Comments

Of John Wycliffe

The Avon to the Severn runs,
The Severn to the sea,
And Wycliffe’s dust shall spread abroad,
Wide as the waters be.

50 years after his death Wycliffe, who instigated the first full translation of the bible into English, was condemned for heresy and his body was dug up, his bones burned and his ashes poured into the river Avon

23 August 2012 | 0:12 | No Comments

The English Lesson

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
But the plural of ox should be oxen not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
But the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and showed you my feet,
When I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

If the singular is this, and the plural is these,
Why shouldn’t the plural of kiss be kese?
Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet the plural of hat would never be hose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
So plurals in English, I think you’ll agree,
Are indeed very tricky–singularly.

22 August 2012 | 15:22 | No Comments

E F Schumacher

Once you have a formula and an electronic computer, there is an awful temptation to squeeze the lemon until it is dry and present a picture of the future which through its very precision and verisimilitude carries conviction. Yet a man who uses an imaginary map, thinking it a true one, is likely to be worse off than someone with no map at all; for he will fail to inquire wherever he can, to observe every detail on his way, and to search continuously with all his senses and all his intelligence for indications of where he should go.

11 August 2012 | 14:17 | No Comments

Michael Johnson

I didn’t have a pre-race ritual, only a post race one – I stood on a podium and someone put a medal around my neck.

5 August 2012 | 21:53 | No Comments

Thomas Pryor Gore (Gore Vidal’s grandfather)

Never have children, only grandchildren

1 August 2012 | 10:58 | No Comments

Karen Lamb

A year from now you may wish you had started today.

28 July 2012 | 23:23 | No Comments

From the funeral of Otto Von Habsburg

The following traditional Habsburg entombment “knocking” ceremony took place at the door of Vienna’s Capuchin Friary after the funeral followed of Otto Von Habsburg.


Capuchin Friar : “Who desires admission?”

Leader of funeral party: “Otto of Austria, former Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, Prince Royal of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia, of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia, Lodomeria and Illyria; Grand Duke of Tuscany and Cracow; Duke of Lorraine, Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola and Bukowina; Grand Prince of Transylvania, Margrave of Moravia; Duke of Upper and Lower Silesia, Modena, Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla, of Osweicim and Zator, of Teschen, Friaul, Dubrovnik and Zadar; Princely Count of Habsburg and Tyrol, of Kyburg, Gorizia and Gradisca; Prince of Trento and Brixen; Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia and Istria: Count of Hohenems, Feldkirch, Bregenz, Sonnenburg; Lord of Trieste, Kotor and Windic March; Grand Voivod of the Voivodship of Serbia”

Friar : “We do not know him!”


Friar : “Who desires admission?”

Leader : “Dr Otto von Habsburg; President and Honorary President of the Pan-European Union; Member and Father of the House of the European Parliament; Holder of honorary doctorates from countless universities and freeman of many communities in Central Europe; Member of numerous noble academies and institutes; Bearer of high and highest awards, decorations and honours of church and state made to him in recognition of his decade-long struggle for the freedom of peoples, for right and justice.”

Friar: “We do not know him!”


Friar : “Who desires admission?”

Leader : “Otto — a mortal, sinful man!”

Friar: “Let him be admitted.”

27 July 2012 | 18:15 | No Comments

Fred Perry

casual comment made within hearing of his opponent in the changing room before a big final

I wouldn’t want to be playing me today.

8 July 2012 | 9:39 | No Comments

Matthew Parris

We have been living beyond our means. We have been paying ourselves more than our efforts were earning. We sought political leaders who would assure us that the good times would never end and that the centuries of boom and bust were over; and we voted for those who offered that assurance. We sought credit for which we had no security and we gave our business to the banks that advertised it. We wanted higher exam grades for our children and were rewarded with politicians prepared to supply them by lowering exam standards. We wanted free and better health care and demanded chancellors who paid for it without putting up our taxes. We wanted salacious stories in our newspapers and bought the papers that broke the rules to provide them. And now we whimper and snarl at MPs, bankers and journalists. Fair enough, my friends, but, you know, we really are all in this together.

2 July 2012 | 23:05 | No Comments

Bruce Cockburn

I’ve been scraping little shavings off my ration of light
And I’ve formed it into a ball, and each time I pack a bit more onto it
I make a bowl of my hands and I scoop it from its secret cache
Under a loose board in the floor
And I blow across it and I send it to you
Against those moments when
The darkness blows under your door

Isn’t that what friends are for?

1 July 2012 | 22:23 | No Comments


(an unmatched left parenthesis creates a unresolved tension that will stay with you all day

19 June 2012 | 19:48 | No Comments

Duke of Wellington

A message to the Foreign Office from Central Spain, August 1812


Whilst marching from Portugal to a position which commands the approach to Madrid and the French forces, my officers have been diligently complying with your requests which have been sent by H.M. ship from London to Lisbon and thence by dispatch to our headquarters.

We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents and tent poles, and all manner of sundry items for which His Majesty’s Government holds me accountable. I have dispatched reports on the character, wit, and spleen of every officer. Each item and every farthing has been accounted for, with two regrettable exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.

Unfortunately the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains unaccounted for in one infantry battalion’s petty cash and there has been a hideous confusion as the number of jars of raspberry jam issued
to one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain. This reprehensible carelessness may be related to the pressure of circumstance, since we are at war with France, a fact which may come
as a bit of a surprise to you gentlemen in Whitehall.

This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation of my instructions from His Majesty’s Government so that I may better understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains. I
construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below. I shall pursue either one with the best of my ability, but I cannot do both:

1. To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the benefit of the accountants and copy-boys in London or perchance,

2. To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.

Your most obedient servant


10 June 2012 | 13:52 | No Comments

Ray Bradbury

Digression is the soul of wit.

6 June 2012 | 23:21 | No Comments

Emily Dickinson

This World is not Conclusion.

This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond —
Invisible, as Music —
But positive, as Sound —
It beckons, and it baffles —
Philosophy — don’t know —
And through a Riddle, at the last —
Sagacity, must go —
To guess it, puzzles scholars —
To gain it, Men have borne
Contempt of Generations
And Crucifixion, shown —
Faith slips — and laughs, and rallies —
Blushes, if any see —
Plucks at a twig of Evidence —
And asks a Vane, the way —
Much Gesture, from the Pulpit —
Strong Hallelujahs roll —
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul —

5 June 2012 | 15:01 | No Comments

George Eliot

What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?

2 June 2012 | 0:28 | No Comments

Muphry’s Law

1.if you write anything criticising editing or proofreading, there will be a fault in what you have written;

2.if an author thanks you in a book for your editing or proofreading, there will be mistakes in the book;

3.the stronger the sentiment in (a) and (b), the greater the fault; and

4.any book devoted to editing or style will be internally inconsistent.

25 May 2012 | 19:41 | No Comments

Sam Walter Foss

Strew gladness on the paths of men—
You will not pass this way again.

7 May 2012 | 22:10 | No Comments


If you knew how much work went into it, you would not call it genius.

6 May 2012 | 17:21 | No Comments