We didn’t exactly believe your story

We didn’t exactly believe your story, Miss O’Shaughnessy. We believed your two hundred dollars….I mean that you paid us more than if you’d been telling the truth….and enough more to make it all right.

Dashiell Hammett

I don’t want to really scare you

I don’t want to really scare you, but it was alarming how many people I talked to who are highly placed people in AI who have retreats that are sort of ‘bug out’ houses, to which they could flee if it all hits the fan.

James Barrat, author of Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era, told the Washington Post

The King of Prussia

The King of Prussia is innately a bad neighbor, but the English will also always be bad neighbors to France, and the sea has never prevented them from doing her great mischief.

Marie Antoinette

A man does what he must

A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.

Winston S. Churchill

To have done no man a wrong

To have done no man a wrong . . . to walk and live, unseduced, within arm’s length of what is not your own, with nothing between your desire and its gratification but the invisible law of rectitude — this is to be a man.

–Horace Mann

Had my grandparents not emigrated

Had my grandparents not emigrated when they did, I might have been born Jewish in Eastern Europe during World War II, or I might not have been born at all. Instead, I was born in 1942 in New York City.

Carole King


Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.

E. B. White

To Boldly Go

From 9 famous quotes that are (technically) grammatically incorrect:

To boldly go where no man has gone before.

This line (and its newer version, with no one in place of no man) is as famous for being “wrong” as it is for being from the intro to each episode of Star Trek.

What’s “wrong”? 

It’s a “split infinitive,” with boldly improperly between to and go.

Is it really wrong? 

No. The “rule” against split infinitives is just a grammatical superstition. It was invented in the 1700s by a grammarian who wanted to “improve” the language along Latin lines. English, however, is not Latin, and the option of putting words between to and the verb root has always existed and has often been made use of by respected authors.

There are times when a sentence works better if you don’t do it, sure; that doesn’t make it a rule, and the Star Trek line is not one of those times, either. “Boldly to go”? “To go boldly”? No.

Link to the rest at 9 famous quotes that are (technically) grammatically incorrect

There is an intellectual snobbery

There is an intellectual snobbery that, regrettably, many academics suffer from. They are proud their paper is only read by a small group of people – makes it very exclusive. Let’s get rid of that. If it’s truly important, people should be excited about it.

Gad Saad

There should be a law

There should be a law that no ordinary newspaper should be allowed to write about art. The harm they do by their foolish and random writing it would be impossible to overestimate – not to the artist, but to the public, blinding them to all but harming the artist not at all.

Oscar Wilde

Kindle Singles

Kindle Singles is publishing on skates. It prints like lightning; our book meets readers in hours. I’ve spent so many years waiting for publishers to consider whether they wanted to print a book of mine, making contracts, taking months to fit it into the Fall list or the Spring list, fitting it into an advertising plan.

Richard Bach

When you realize you’re riding

When you realize you’re riding a dead horse, your best decision is to dismount. Whipping a dead horse does no good. Spending more money feeding a dead horse or hiring more skilled trainers to care for a dead horse will also not produce any results.



Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.

Joseph Stalin


Write what should not be forgotten.

Isabel Allende

It is sometimes suspected that the enthusiasm for Shakespeare’s works

It is sometimes suspected that the enthusiasm for Shakespeare’s works shown by some students is a fiction or a fashion. It is not so. The justification of that enthusiastic admiration is in the fact that every increase of knowledge and deepening of wisdom in the critic or the student do but show still greater knowledge and deeper wisdom in the great poet. When, too, it is found that his judgment is equal to his genius, and that his industry is on a par with his inspiration, it becomes impossible to wonder or to admire too much.

George Dawson


Genre is a bookstore problem, not a literary problem.

Rick Moody

New opinions

New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.

John Locke

Nelly, I am Heathcliff

Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.

Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

The ignorant man is not free

The ignorant man is not free, because what confronts him is an alien world, something outside him and in the offing, on which he depends, without his having made this foreign world for himself and therefore without being at home in it by himself as in something his own. The impulse of curiosity, the pressure for knowledge, from the lowest level up to the highest rung of philosophical insight arises only from the struggle to cancel this situation of unfreedom and to make the world one’s own in one’s ideas and thought.

Georg Hegel

Always recognize

Always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your end.

Immanuel Kant

When you go into court

When you go into court you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty.

Norm Crosby

Your brain

Your brain – every brain – is a work in progress. It is ‘plastic.’ From the day we’re born to the day we die, it continuously revises and remodels, improving or slowly declining, as a function of how we use it.

Michael Merzenich

Propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation

I have said that propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation have always been part of political warfare. Social media and other new platforms have given it a new life and reach through which the fake news phenomenon can reach everywhere.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

All art is propaganda

All art is propaganda, and ever must be, despite the wailing of the purists. I stand in utter shamelessness and say that whatever art I have for writing has been used always for propaganda for gaining the right of black folk to love and enjoy. I do not care a damn for any art that is not used for propaganda.

W. E. B. Du Bois


Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.

Napoleon Bonaparte

I made a game effort

I made a game effort to argue but two things were against me: the umpires and the rules.

Baseball Hall of Fame Manager Leo Durocher

In math

In math, you could get 100 percent. It was very fair. That’s what I liked about math. You could figure it out, and the teacher couldn’t have a stupid opinion about it.

Norm MacDonald

Some editors

Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.

T.S. Eliot

The first thing we know

The first thing we know about the universe is that it’s really, really big. And because the universe is so big,it’s often beyond the reach of our instruments, and of our ideas.

Cosmologist Michael Turner

The internet was supposed to liberate knowledge

The internet was supposed to liberate knowledge, but in fact it buried it, first under a vast sewer of ignorance, laziness, bigotry, superstition and filth and then beneath the cloak of political surveillance. Now…cyberspace exists exclusively to promote commerce, gossip and pornography. And of course to hunt down sedition. Only paper is safe. Books are the key. A book cannot be accessed from afar, you have to hold it, you have to read it.

Ben Elton

When my words collapse

When my words collapse, don’t judge me, it doesn’t mean I’m not internally eloquent.