J quotations.

It is not real work unless you would rather be doing something else.

When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. And now when every new baby is born its first laugh becomes a fairy. So there ought to be one fairy for every boy or girl.

-Peter Pan.

J.M. Barrie (1860-05-09/1937-06-19). Aka James Matthew Barrie; Sir James Matthew Barrie, Baronet. Scottish novelist and dramatist. Best known for Peter Pan.

Celtic of any sort is a magic bag, into which anything may be put, and out of which almost anything may come.

J.R.R. Tolkien

We live today in a world in which poets and historians and men of affairs are proud that they wouldn't even begin to consider thinking about learning anything of science, regarding it as the far end of a tunnel too long for any wise man to put his head into.

J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-04-22/1967-02-18). Jewish American physicist. Director of the Manhattan Project.

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than it be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.

Jack London (1876-01-12/1916-11-22). American author.

I have a 'Play The Melody' philosophy. It means don't over-arrange, don't make life difficult. Just play the melody—and do it the simplest way possible.

Jackie Gleason

Terrorism has become the systematic weapon of a war that knows no borders or seldom has a face.

-To General Assembly, 1986-09-24.

Jacques Chirac. Premier of France.

Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he'll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint on it and he'll have to touch it to be sure.

-Jaeger's Facts.


There is not any memory with less satisfaction than the memory of some temptation we resisted.

The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.

-The Silver Stallion. 1926.

James Branch Cabell (1879-04-14/1958-05-05). American author of fantasy fiction.

When your opponent is drowning, throw the son of a bitch an anvil.

-All's Fair: Love, War, and Running for President, epigraph, Random House (1994).

James Carville (1946). U.S. Democratic political advisor and author, and Mary Matalin, U.S. Republican political advisor, author.

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.

James D. Miles

A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes.

James Feibleman

All moanday, tearsday, wailsday, thumpsday, frightday, shatterday.

James Joyce.

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes...known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. ... No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

-Political Observations. 1795.

James Madison (1751-03-16/1836-06-28). 4th U.S. President (1809/1917).

The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new vocabulary.

Nothin'g sa'ys q'uality fantas'y l'ike misuse'd apos'tro'phes.

-About James Clemens's Wit'ch Storm.

James Nicoll. Aka James D. Nicoll. Science fiction reviewer.

There are two kinds of light--the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.

James Thurber

Hardware: The parts of a computer system that can be kicked.

Jeff Pesis.

When I show my grandchildren, I have a wonderful feeling of pride. I say, "See that crane way, way up there? Grandma used to run a crane like that during the war."

-As quoted in A Mouthful of Rivets, Introduction, by Nancy Baker Wise and Christy Wise (1994). Nuttall was one of the many women who were welcomed into traditionally male trades during World War II, filling in for men who were needed in military service. Most of these women were ejected from their jobs—some willingly, others unwillingly—at the war's end.

Jennette Hyman Nuttall. U.S. (former) crane operator.

  • Build a financial reserve. Money gives you more choices on how to live your life.
  • Stop worrying about the competition. Focus instead on being the best you can be.
  • Buy a stopwatch. Use it to limit phone calls to 10 minutes (excluding conference calls).
  • Limit the number of face-to-face meetings that you attend. Schedule conference calls or video conferences instead.
  • Return important phone calls the same day, but make sure everyone else knows you need 48 hours to return calls. This gives you space to respond rather than react to problems.
  • Stop procrastinating. Rather than putting yet another piece of paper in the piles on your desk, take one of three actions. Do it. Delegate it. Or dump it. It's that simple.
  • Check your e-mail once a day. Let people know you check e-mail just once a day. If you have a bell that rings every time you get e-mail, turn it off.
  • Say no at least 10 times a week. The reason you're not working less and making more is you're spending more time concerned about what others think rather than what you want for your life. If you need to practice saying no, start by saying no to telemarketers.
  • Stop hanging out with negative people. That's like hanging out with your drinking buddies at the bar when you're trying to quit drinking.
  • Pay your bills once a month. And make sure everyone knows you pay once a month. Most people will adjust their billing process to fit yours.
  • Stop putting stuff on your plate. Put it on your schedule -in your calendar- instead. Yes, that means you schedule everything. It guarantees you'll know when you're overloaded so you can control your day rather than letting it control you.
  • Schedule at least one day a week to focus on your most important activities. Your most important activities are the things that would generate more money for you if you would just spend more time doing them.
  • Schedule one weekend a month to do nothing at all.
  • Exercise. Even if that means you walk your dog around the block for 10 minutes. Moving your body allows you to connect with who you are.
  • Don't wait until the last minute, no matter how well you believe you perform under pressure. Give yourself space to do fantastic work. Always build in an extra day for last-minute changes or problems.

-Work Less, Make More.

Jennifer White.

We will win this war because we are willing to sacrifice 10,000,000 lives. How many lives is the White Man willing to sacrifice?

-Said by General Mitsubi (played by Richard Loo), in the movie The Purple Heart (1944).

Jerome Cady. U.S. screenwriter, and Lewis Milestone.

We must not measure greatness from the mansion down, but from the manger up.

Jesse Jackson (1941-10-08). Aka Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson Sr. American civil rights and political activist.

If you decide to run with the ball, just count on fumbling and getting the shit knocked out of you, but never forget how much fun it is just to be able to run with the ball.

Jimmy Buffett

Tragically, in the industrialized world there is a terrible absence of understanding or concern about those who are enduring lives of despair and hopelessness. We have not yet made the commitment to share with others an appreciable part of our excessive wealth. This is a potentially rewarding burden that we should all be willing to assume.

Jimmy Carter (1924-10-01). Aka James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. American politician and statesman. The 39th U.S. President (1977/1981). The 84d Governor of Georgia.

The easiest kind of relationship for me is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one.

Joan Baez

The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you don't run your own life, someone else will.

John Atkinson

If this phrase of the "balance of power" is to be always an argument for war, the pretext for war will never be wanting, and peace can never be secure.

-Speech, March 31, 1854, to House of Commons.

John Bright (1811/1889). British radical politician.

I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.

John Cage

In prosperity, our friends know us; in adversity, we know our friends.

John Churton Collins

sThe one thing that enslaves people more than any other to the servitude of war is nationalism—the patriotic cant—Religious cant is feeble; its on a down slope fighting to hold territory—but the patriotism—all the noxious influences of the world seem to have thrown their tentacles about it—Its the mask of all the trade-greed & the glory-breed—and the asininity that makes people insist on sacrificing themselves on the nearest altar—no matter how brazen the God above it.

-Diary entry, January 28, 1918. The Fourteenth Chronicle: Letters and Diaries of John Dos Passos, ed. Townsend Ludington (1973). Written in Italy while Dos Passos served in the American Red Cross Ambulance Service during the First World War.

John Dos Passos (1896/1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter.  

When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses, for art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.

-Address at Amherst College on 1963-10-26.

Communism has never come to power in a country that was not disrupted by war or corruption, or both.

-Speech, July 3, 1963, to NATO.

When written in Chinese, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters —one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.

John F. Kennedy (1917-05-29/1963-11-22). Aka JFK; John Fitzgerald Kennedy; John Kennedy. The 35th U.S. President (1961/1963). Democrat.

Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our lives. Yet, if they find warmth therein, who would begrudge them those years that they have so guarded? And whatever they take, be sure they have deserved.

John Galsworthy

For all the advances in medicine, there is still no cure for the common birthday.

John Glenn(1921-07-18). Aka John Herschel Glenn, Jr.. American astronaut and  politician.

You must get involved to have an impact. No one is impressed with the won-lost record of the referee.

John Holcomb

Axioms in philosophy are not axioms until they are proved upon our pulses; we read fine things but never feel them to the full until we have gone the same steps as the author.

When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," --that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

-Ode on a Grecian Urn, l. 46-50.

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced —even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it.

John Keats (1795-10-31/1821-02-23). British poet of the Romantic period.

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.


Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say I'm a dreamer
but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one

John Lennon (1940-10-09/1980-12-08). Aka John Winston Ono Lennon; John Winston Lennon. British singer, songwriter. Best known as one of The Beatles.

The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds.

-Quoted by Drexler, K. Eric. Engines of Creation: the Coming Era of Nanotechnology. New York, NY: Bantam, 1987. p 231.

[Investment is] intolerably boring and over-exacting to any one who is entirely exempt from the gambling instinct; whilst he who has it must pay to this propensity the appropriate toll.

It is a mistake to think one limits one's risks by spreading too much between enterprises about which one knows little and has no reason for special confidence ... One's knowledge and experience are definitely limited and there are seldom more than two or three enterprises at any given time in which I personally feel myself to put full confidence.

John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes of Tilton (1883-06-05/1946-04-21). English economist.

Do you really want to know who I think started the war?... Who would ever have believed that human beings would be stupid enough to blow themselves off the face of the earth?... The trouble with you is you want a simple answer and there isn't any. The war started when people accepted the idiotic principle that peace could be maintained by arranging to defend themselves with weapons they couldn't possibly use without committing suicide. Everybody had an atomic bomb and counter-bombs and counter- counter-bombs. The devices outgrew us, we couldn't control them. I know. I helped build them, God help me. Some poor bloke probably looked at a radar screen and thought he saw something, knew that if he hesitated one thousandth of a second his own country would be wiped off the map, so, so he pushed a button. And, and the world went crazy.

-Julian Osborne (played by Fred Astaire) with the submarine crew, on their mission in the movie On the Beach (1959).

John Paxton (1911/1985). U.S. screenwriter. Stanley Kramer.

Whom we love best, to them we can say the least

John Ray (1627-11-29/1705-01-17). Aka John Wray. English naturalist.

It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.

Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so. The only chance is to treat, not happiness, but some end external to it, as the purpose of life. Let your self-consciousness, your scrutiny, your self-interrogation, exhaust themselves on that; and if otherwise fortunately circumstanced you will inhale happiness with the air you breathe, without dwelling on it or thinking about it, without either forestalling it in imagination, or putting it to flight by fatal questioning. This theory now became the basis of my philosophy of life. And I still hold to it as the best theory for all those who have but a moderate degree of sensibility and of capacity for enjoyment, that is, for the great majority of mankind.

-Autobiography. New York, NY: Bartleby.com, 2001. Ch. V, paragraph 7.

As for charity, it is a matter in which the immediate effect on the persons directly concerned, and the ultimate consequence to the general good, are apt to be at complete war with one another.

-The Subjection of Women, ch. 4 (1869).

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse... . A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their own free choice—is often the means of their regeneration.

-"The Contest in America," Dissertations and Discussions (1859).

John Stuart Mill (1806-05-20/1873-05-08). Aka JS Mill. English philosopher and political economist. Best known for his work on utilitarianism.

To say that war is madness is like saying that sex is madness: true enough, from the standpoint of a stateless eunuch, but merely a provocative epigram for those who must make their arrangements in the world as given.

John Updike

The sciences do not try to explain, they hardly even try to interpret, they mainly make models. By a model is meant a mathematical construct which, with the addition of certain verbal interpretations, describes observed phenomena. The justification of such a mathematical construct is solely and precisely that it is expected to work.

The most vitally characteristic fact about mathematics is, in my opinion, its quite peculiar relationship to the natural sciences, or more generally, to any science which interprets experience on a higher than purely descriptive level.

Truth is much too complicated to allow anything but approximations.

John von Neumann (1903-12-28/1957-02-08). Born János Lajos Margittai Neumann. Hungarian-American-German-Jewish mathematician.

Courage is being scared to death--and saddling up anyway.

Talk low, talk slow, and don't talk too much.

John Wayne

This is perhaps the most beautiful time in human history; it is really pregnant with all kinds of creative possibilities made possible by science and technology which now constitute the slave of man - if man is not enslaved by it.

Jonas Salk

May you live all the days of your life.

My hunger serves me instead of a clock.

-Polite Conversation, 1738.

Jonathan Swift (1667-11-30/1745-10-19). Anglo-Irish writer and satirist. Best known for Gulliver's Travels.

Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.

Jose Addison

The Function of Ritual --as I understand it-- is to give FORM to human life; not in the way of mere surface arrangement, but in depth

All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time - namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.

-Response to a question by Bill Moyers: "Do you ever have the sense of... being helped by hidden hands?"

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.

Joseph Campbell (1904-03-26/1987-10-30). American professor, writer, and orator. Famous for his work in the fields of mythology and comparative religion.

Frankly, I'd like to see the government get out of war altogether and leave the whole field to private industry.

Joseph Heller (b. 1923), U.S. novelist. The character Milo Minderbinder in Catch-22, ch. 24 (1955).

Gratitude ... is a sickness suffered by dogs.

-Quoted in Nikolai Tolstoy, Stalin's Secret War, ch. 2 (1981).

A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.

Joseph Stalin (1879/1953). Soviet leader.

There is one kind of laugh that I always did recommend; it looks out of the eye first with a merry twinkle, then it creeps down on its hands and knees and plays around the mouth like a pretty moth around the blaze of a candle, then it steals over into the dimples of the cheeks and rides around in those whirlpools for a while, then it lights up the whole face like the mellow bloom on a damask rose, then it swims up on the air, with a peal as clear and as happy as a dinner-bell, then it goes back again on gold tiptoes like an angel out for an airing, and it lies down on its little bed of violets in the heart where it came from.

Josh Billings (1818-04-12/1885-10-14). Pseudonym for Henry Wheeler Shaw. American humorist.

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands--and then just eat one of the pieces.

Judith Viorst

There is false modesty, but there is no false pride.

I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if He didn't.

Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.

Look for the ridiculous in everything, and you will find it.

The only man who is really free is the one who can turn down an invitation to dinner without giving an excuse.

Jules Renard (1864-02-22/1910-05-22). Aka Pierre-Jules Renard. French writer.

Christians will have more compassion for someone who has never believed, than for those who turn away. But still, becoming non-Christian is just about up there with declaring your homosexual tendencies.

Julia Hernandez. My wife.

It does not disturb me that those whom I pardon are said to have deserted me so that they might again bring war against me. I prefer nothing more than that I should be true to myself and they to themselves.

-Letter to Cicero. Quoted in Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 9.16.2.

No one is so brave that he is not disturbed by something unexpected.

-The Gallic War, 6.39.

People willingly believe what they want to believe.

-ibid., 3.18.

Men freely believe that which they desire.

-Commentari de Bello Gallico (Commentaries on the Gallic War).

Julius Caesar (-0100-07-13/-0044-03-15). Aka Gaius Julius Caesar. The first to spread Rome to Britain and France. His grand-nephew and adopted son, Caesar Augustus, became the first Roman Emperor.

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