Tag Archives: Quotes

Saturday Seven: Funny Quotes from Books

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

If a book contains a funny line, conversation, or passage, the chances of me becoming a huge fan of it are large. Sometimes I will reread a story I’ve already read many times before for the sheer joy of eventually finding my way to that witty scene again.

Today I’ll be sharing some of my all-time favourite humorous quotes from various books that I’ve read over the years. I hope you’ll share your favourite quotes in the comment section, too!

This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

“No sight so sad as that of a naughty child,” he began, “especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?”

“They go to hell,” was my ready and orthodox answer.

“And what is hell? Can you tell me that?”

“A pit full of fire.”

“And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?”

“No, sir.”

“What must you do to avoid it?”

I deliberated a moment: my answer, when it did come was objectionable: “I must keep in good health and not die.”

― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre


There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.

— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone


“He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.”

LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”

―Andy Weir, The Martian

Mr. Wonka: “Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted.”
Charlie Bucket: “What happened?”
Mr. Wonka: “He lived happily ever after.”

― Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

“We’ll never survive!”
“Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”

― William Goldman, The Princess Bride

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

5 Things Spock Would Say About Anxiety

Every year I take a break from blogging for the last two weeks of December. I will be sharing some of my old favourites in the meantime and will be back in January with new material.  This post was originally published on December 4, 2014.

Sometimes when I’m running low on ideas I play around with the various websites out there that help you brainstorm if you provide them with a keyword or two.

Most of the ideas aren’t that spectacular, although I’ve occasionally stumbled across something worth blogging about. I’m not a fan of the original Star Trek series for a long list of reasons that I won’t get into here, but I’ve always liked Spock because he said things like this:

May I say that I have not thoroughly enjoyed serving with Humans? I find their illogic and foolish emotions a constant irritant.

and this:

Is there anyone on this ship, who even remotely, looks like Satan? (Kirk)

I am not aware of anyone who fits that description, Captain (Spock)

No, Mr. Spock, I didn’t think you would be (Kirk)

He seemed like the kind of man who had little to no interest in small talk. That alone was enough to endear me to him.

I thought it would be fun to come up with some quotes of things he might have – but didn’t actually – say. My original search had Spock discussing anxiety, so I will stick with that topic in my responses as well. Let’s see if I can capture his voice!

  1. Worrying about it won’t make it more or less likely to occur.
  2. That outcome is highly unlikely.
  3. Have you ever considered the fact that they’re just as apprehensive about meeting you as you are of meeting them?
  4. There is no evidence to support that hypothesis.
  5. Why does your mind immediately jump to the worst possible scenario?

What do you think Spock would say?


Sometimes Fate is Like a Small Sandstorm

 Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.

– Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

To this quote/metaphor I’d add the following:

Sometimes the storm has nothing to do with you. You’re in the midst of it because you happened to be standing where it ended up. Remember that as the sand stings your skin and do what you can to protect yourself.


What would you add to it?


Can We Only Know Our Countrymen?

It is very difficult to know people and I don’t think one can ever really know any but one’s own countrymen. For men and women are not only themselves; they are also the region in which they are born, the city apartment or the farm in which they learnt to walk, the games they played as children, the old wives’ tales they overheard, the food they ate, the schools they attended, the sports they followed, the poets they read, and the God they believed in. It is all these things that have made them what they are, and these are the things that you can’t come to know by hearsay, you can only know them if you have lived them. – W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge, 1943

Due to Canada Day and Independence Day* today’s post will be shorter than usual.  I’d like to discuss this quote with all of you, though. My response will be in the comment section.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with W. Somerset Maugham?

Are you the culture you grew up in, the food you ate, the stories you were told as a child?

If you agree with W. Somerset Maugham how do you reconcile that belief with life in a pluralistic society?

*As a dual citizen I get two celebrations in the same week! 😉

Non-Theistic Morality

“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
—  Steven Weinberg

Last week I blogged about a sermon series about the problem of pain and how Bruxy Cavey approaches this question. During his second podcast Bruxy briefly mentioned his beliefs about the origin of human morality. In short, he believes that it comes from God and that there cannot be a just system of morality without God behind it. He says:

Atheists cannot explain their own morality.

While he absolutely agrees that atheists can be just as moral or good as Christians he doesn’t think that this sense of right and wrong can come from a non-theistic worldview:

they [atheists] are far more moral than their worldview accounts for

because he believes that there must be a higher power that arbitrates between various human groups for the greatest good. While I respect Bruxy Cavey immensely as a speaker and as a fellow human being I vehemently disagree with this premise.

For one, religion doesn’t make people more moral or good. The rules – whatever they may be – are broken just as often by the people who believe in them as they are by those who don’t follow that particular religion (or none at all.)

Sometimes, in fact, the act of following the rules actually seems to make good people into much less admirable versions of themselves. I’ve known more than one individual who was a wonderful friend and human being in every way other than his or her religious beliefs. When the topic of God came up it was like a switch had been flipped in that individual’s brain and they lost much of the good that I saw in them the rest of the time. Rather than seeing the rest of us as friends or fellow human beings we became  unrepentant sinners, unbelievers, potential converts or, worse, social projects.

Bruxy and I also have a fundamental disagreement about where our desire to do and be good comes from.

I believe it comes from our generations upon generations of experiences as an extremely social species. With the exception of the rare hermit or mystic we do not do well in a life of solitude. We need one another and so we have learned ways of getting along in difficult situations and of strengthening our bonds with one another.

In short, I believe we (tend to) share similar beliefs about what is fundamentally a good or bad thing to do to someone else because cooperation and altruism are some of our oldest social tools. We could not have survived and become what we are today without them.

In a roundabout way this leads me to today’s question:

What Does Non-Theistic Morality Look Like?

That is, how do people who don’t believe in God decide what is right and wrong? How do we determine what it means to live a good life?

I believe much of it boils down to harm. Do my actions hurt me or someone else, intentionally or unintentionally? If they do I probably shouldn’t be doing them in most situations.

This is a deceptively simple “rule.”  Many aspects of modern business and product marketing  would not pass it because of all of the suffering that is caused when:

  • People are consumers before anything else
  • Workers (especially the working poor) are treated like machines
  • Money is used to define our worth as human beings

My ethical beliefs and morals don’t come with a long list of rules. Almost everything that I puzzle over can be reduced to the question of harm.

I also believe in being and doing good for goodness’ sake! That is, I (try to) lead an ethical life not for any sort of eternal or extrinsic reward but because it’s the right thing to do. Of course I hope that other people will treat me with kindness and respect in return but no one is keeping score here. I’d continue to be as loving, forgiving and kind as possible even if one or several or many people around me were none of these things. (If it continued, though, I’d find a new social group. 😉 )


What criteria do you use to decide what the most ethical or moral choices are for your life? Why are you good?

Sane Personal Development

Becoming a better person is something of great interest to me but focusing so intently on improvement isn’t necessarily the best way to approach personal development. “There are things about ourselves that we need to get rid of; there are things we need to change. But at the same time, we do not need to… Read More

Cultivating Gratitude

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. – Aldous Huxley “It’s all very well to read about sorrows and imagine yourself living through them heroically, but it’s not so nice when you really come to have them, is it?” – Anne Shirley Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians! Celebrating… Read More