Wise Words For the Weekend

Sometimes writing this blog is easy. I get four or five ideas lined up and go to town for a week or two. TB is slightly ashamed to admit I get a little pleased with myself. Lately this has not been the case. There is water at the bottom of the well, but not enough to cover the ankles. But I hate to let the TBU go silent, so today I borrow the words of others. I might make this a regular weekend feature. Today I selected a few quotes and passages from books I read long ago. I keep an old red cardboard folder–the kind we used to use in junior high–with scraps of paper. On these scraps, going back to about 1989, I have written or torn from the newspaper or magazines, quotations that I thought were worth reading over and over again. And they are. Here are a few for your enjoyment over the weekend:

Two passages from This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald:

“For this is wisdom–to love and live,

To take what fate or the gods may give,

To ask no question, to make no prayer,

To kiss the lips and caress the hair,

Speed passions ebb as we greet its flow,

To hae and to hold, and in time–let go.”


“The idea, you know, is that the sentimental person thinks things will last–the romantic person has a desperate confidence that they won’t.”


And here’s one from Zelda:

“By the time a person has achieved years adequate for choosing a direction the die is cast and the moment has long passed which determined the future.”


“Very rich people–in all nations–can be divided into two categories: those with brains and those without. Those with brains make a great effort to hold on to every penny they have while preaching to the general population that freedom and dignity and patriotism are possible only under their protection; in this way they elicit the support of the very people they hold in subjection.”     –from Poland, James Michener


“To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one’s self is as much a departure from the truth as to exaggerate one’s own powers.”     –spoken by Sherlock Holmes in The Greek Interpreter, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Here’s a couple for all you other armchair generals out there:

“My centre is giving way, my right is in retreat, situation excellent. I attack.”    -Marshal Foch, Battle of the Marne, September 8, 1914

“Plans made without allowance for the intentions of the enemy are liable to miscarry.”     –from The First World War, John Keegan


And finally two passages from My Uncle Oswald, by Roald Dahl.

“”That”, I said to Yasmin as I polished off the last succulent lobster claw–and by the way, don’t you love it when you are able to draw the flesh of the claw out of the shell whole and pinky-red in one piece? There is some kind of tiny personal triumph in that. I may be childish, but I experience a similar triumph when I succeed in getting a walnut out of its shell without breaking it in two. As a matter of fact, I never approach a walnut without this particular ambition in mind. Life is more fun if you play games. But back to Yasmin–”


“You are sitting, my boy, on the edge of the most famous piece of land in the whole world! Just look at it! Four and a half acres of flinty red clay! That’s all it is! But those grapes you can see them picking at this very moment will produce a wine that is a glory among wines. It is almost unobtainable because so little of it is made. This bottle we are drinking now came from here eleven years ago. Smell it! Inhale the bouquet! Taste it! Drink it! But never try to describe it! It is impossible to put such a flavour into words! To drink a Romanee-Conti is like having an orgasm in the mouth and the nose both at the same time.”

I loved it when my father got himself worked up like this. Listening to him during those early years, I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good, either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”

About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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8 Responses to Wise Words For the Weekend

  1. Madd Dawg says:

    The one from Michener kind of reminds me of the argument made by Goldman Sachs, GM, AIG, Citibank, et.al. in late 2008. Makes me sick.

  2. Jessie Lou says:

    I prefer Uncle Oswald – Roald Dahl is one of my favorites – just finished James and the Giant Peach. A must read for your kids.

  3. smilyj says:

    Other notable quotes- “Keep your tail spinning and the beavers grinning”- Silver Tongue Devil- Smoky and The Bandit”.
    Also, “Friends don’t let friends Go To Hell.”- from a little church’s sign in the country I saw while riding the roads.

  4. Harmony says:

    A red cardboard folder, you say? I have to admit, I have wondered about your ability to have quotes readily at hand. These are great! I’m trying to get caught up on my reading..I’ve been spending way too much time at the snow.

  5. Harmony says:

    “There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft….When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.” ~ The Kite Runner

    This suddenly popped in my head on the drive home from the gym today..thought I would share it with you.

  6. Jessie Lou says:

    Harmony – that is a great one! My favorite quote is from “Moonstruck” which I just watched the other night.

    “Tell him the truth Loretta. They find out anyway.”

  7. irvineredd says:

    “I wouldn’t recommend sex, drugs, or insanity for everyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”
    -Hunter S. Thompson

    I wanted to get in on the wise words. Plus I just looked Life’s photo gallery of the great drunks and addicts of literature. Under the picture of each writer was their name, year of birth to year of death, and then their addictions. Most just said, Alcohol, or Herion, or Alcohol and Speed. After the good doctor’s info it simply said, Everything.

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