Friday, January 06, 2017

Who said it 14?

      Round 14 of Who said it?  It's just a stupid game that is one more excuse for me to talk about books. As usual, all the quotes are from my own library. Do your best, and try not to google. The answers are at the bottom.

      1. Our place as a Nation is and must be with the nations that have left indelibly their impress on the centuries. Men will tell you that the great expanding nations of antiquity have passed away. So they have; and so have all others. Those that did not expand passed away and left not so much as a memory behind them. The Roman expanded, the Roman passed away, but the Roman has left the print of his law, of his language, of his masterful ability in administration, deep in the world’s history, deeply imprinted in the character of the races that came after him. I ask that this people rise level to the greatness of its opportunities. I do not ask that it seek for the easiest path.

a. Teddy Roosevelt  b. Adolf Hitler  c. Ronald Reagan  d. Barack Obama


2. Here is my creed. I believe in one God, creator of the universe. That he governs it by his providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental principles of all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them

a.     Plato  b. St. Augustine  c. Mohammad  d. Benjamin Franklin


3.  In your schooldays most of you who read this book made acquaintance with the noble building of Euclid’s geometry, and you remember – the magnificent structure, on the lofty staircase of which you were chased about for uncounted hours by conscientious teachers. By reason of our past experience, you would certainly regard everyone with disdain who should pronounce even the most out-of-the-way proposition of this science to be untrue. But perhaps this feeling of proud certainty would leave you immediately if some one were to ask you: “What, then, do you mean by the assertion that these propositions are true?” Let us proceed to give this question a little consideration.

a.        Plato  b. Spinoza  c. Einstein  d. Franklin D. Roosevelt


       4.  Women really have not much part in all this, though they may use the language of romantic love, since it is so entwined in all our idioms. The sexual impulse makes women (naturally when unspoiled more unselfish) very sympathetic and understanding, or specially desirous of being so (or seeming so), and very ready to enter into all the interests, as far as they can, from ties to religion, of the young man they are attracted to. No intent necessarily to deceive: sheer instinct: the servient, helpmeet instinct, generously warmed by desire and young blood. Under this impulse they can in fact often achieve very remarkable insight and understanding, even of things otherwise outside their natural range: for it is their gift to be receptive, stimulated, fertilized (in many other matters than the physical) by the male. Every teacher knows that. How quickly an intelligent woman can be taught, grasp his ideas, see his point – and how with rare exceptions) they can go no further, when they leave his hand, or when they cease to take a personal interest in him. But this is their natural avenue to love. Before the young woman knows where she is (and while the romantic young man, when he exists, is still sighing) she may actually ‘fall in love’. Which for her, an unspoiled natural young woman, means that she wants to become the mother of the young man’s children, even if that desire is by no means clear to her or explicit. And then things are going to happen: and they may be very painful and harmful, if things go wrong. Particularly if the young man only wanted a temporary guiding star and divinity (until he hitches his wagon to a brighter one), and was merely enjoying the flattery of sympathy nicely seasoned with a titillation of sex-all quite innocent, of course, and worlds away from ‘seduction’.

       a. Winston Churchill b. Sigmund Freud  c. J.R.R. Tolkien  d. Ayn Rand   


       5. As for the people I am accusing, I do not know them, I have never seen them, and I bear them neither ill-will nor hatred. To me they are mere entities, agents of harm to society. The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice.

I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the inquiry take place in broad daylight! I am waiting.

a.   Lord Randolph Churchill on his resignation in 1884.
b.   Emile Zola in his famous J’accuse letter defending Dreyfuss.
c.    Adolph Hitler in his speech on being named Chancellor.
d.   Julian Assange from his balcony in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.


6. I have come to the conclusion never again to think of marrying, and for this reason: I can never be satisfied with anyone who would be blockhead enough to have me.

a. Abraham Lincoln  b. David Henry Thoreau  c.  J.R.R. Tolkien  d. Ayn Rand


7. The plain consequence is (and it is a general maxim worthy of our attention), “That no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavours to establish; and even in that case there is a mutual destruction of arguments, and the superior only gives us an assurance suitable to that degree of force, which remains, after deducting the inferior.’ When anyone tells me, that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable, that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should really have happened. I weigh the one miracle against the other; and according to the superiority, which discover, I pronounce my decision, and always reject the greater miracle. If the falsehood of his testimony would be more miraculous, than the event which he relates; then, and not till then, can he pretend to command my belief or opinion.

      a. Hobbes   b.  Kant   c.  Spinoza   d. Hume


      8. These people have always been parasites. Lately I do not know, but I have the feeling sometimes that they are a kind of cerebral parasite. They know only too well what is happening in my brain, for instance. Whatever I say today, as I stand before you, they knew of it yesterday already. And even if I myself did not know of it yesterday—they did, these most excellent receptacles of wisdom!
      Actually, these creatures know everything. And, even if facts prove their pronouncements blatant lies, they have the nerve to come up with new pronouncements immediately. . . . It keeps the people from having time for reflection. Should people truly reflect on all these various prophecies, compare them to reality, then these scribblers would not get a penny for their false reports. Therefore their tactic is, once one prophecy has been disproved, to come up with three new ones in its stead. And so they keep on lying, according to a type of snowball tactics, from today until tomorrow, from tomorrow until the next day.
      a. Hitler  b. FDR  c. Spiro Agnew   d. Trump

v    *

      9.  The age of the world is great enough for our imaginations, even according to the Mosaic account, without borrowing any years from the geologist. From Adam and Eve at one leap sheer down to the deluge, and then through the ancient monarchies, through Babylon and Thebes, Brahma and Abraham, . . . down through Odin and Christ to—America. It is a wearisome while.—And yet the lives of but sixty old women, such as live under the hill, say of a century each, strung together, are sufficient to reach over the whole ground. Taking hold of hands they would span the interval from Eve to my own mother. A respectable tea-party merely,--whose gossip would be Universal History.

      a. Cotton Mather  b. Thoreau  c. Jefferson  d. Will Durant



      10.  When we got to the Happy Times Tavern the Madam pulled to a stop. She jumped out and ran for the saloon, desperate for a refill. Over her shoulder she yelled at me to put the horse away.

      The poor beast was lathered with sweat and foam and wheezing like a leaky steam engine. I managed to get him out of harness and into his stall before I started heaving up. I was too sick to move. I went to sleep on a pile of straw.
      When I woke up in the morning Christopher Schang was there in the stables crying. The horse was dead. Christopher started wailing at me that this was the best friend he ever had, and I had killed him. How should I know from a horse, that you had to cool him out after a gallop and put him to bed with a blanket on?
      A big crowd came that night. Just as the diggers swarmed into the joint I felt suddenly dizzy, like I had during the wild ride the night before. The back room started lifting and sinking and turning around in a circle. I lost all control. I fell off the piano stool. One of the girls helped me up. I fell off again. This time Mrs. Schang saw me. She bellowed at me to get the hell back on the stool and start playing. I staggered to my feet and fell against the keyboard. The Madam grabbed me and sat me straight, so hard that the butt of my spine felt like it was cracked.

      The third time I dropped to the floor she was back in the saloon. Two of the girls picked me up and dragged me upstairs and laid me on the bed, while another girl went to call a doctor. The doctor came. He felt my forehead. He opened my shirt and looked at me closely.
       “Measles,” the doctor said.

      When word of my condition was passed downstairs, I could hear Mrs. Schang roar, clean through the floor, “I don’t want no sick Jews in my place! Get him out of her!”

      The next thing I remember I was waiting on the platform of the Freeport railroad station.  The back room girls had chipped in to buy me a ticket to the city, and two of them—my special friends—had brought me to the train.

      The train came. They helped me on board. One of the girls said, “You don’t know how lucky you are, kid, to come down with the measles.” The other girl was about to cry. “I’m going to miss you, honey,” she said. “I’m going to miss that song you play so beautiful.”

      The four whores of the Happy Timers were the first fans I ever had, and I shall always be grateful to them.

      a.   Teller (Penn’s partner)  b. Marcel Marceau  c. Harpo Marx  d.  Billy Joel


      1.     Our place as a Nation is and must be with the nations that have left indelibly their impress on the centuries. . . ”

a. That was Teddy from a speech in San Francisco in 1903. With a little imagination, it could be Hitler, right?

      2.     “Here is my creed. I believe in one God. . .”

d. That was Benjamin Franklin in a letter to a friend just before his own death, answering a direct question as to his religious beliefs. At one time probably an atheist, or at least an agnostic, he became more religious as he aged, but never took to one sect over another, but preferred, not surprisingly, Christianity.

      3.     “In your schooldays most of you who read this book made acquaintance with the noble building of Euclid’s geometry. . .”  

b.      Einstein – starting an explanation on relativity. The great physicists of the 20th century were deeply in love with philosophy, which often guided them.

      4.     Women really have not much part in all this . . .”

c.      Tolkien. Remember, he was born a 19th century man and his head was in the ancient world. He died towards the beginning of the modern feminist movement and I doubt thought much about it.

      5.     As for the people I am accusing . . .

d.     Emile Zola. It was a long, but pretty good letter, lots of paragraphs which began with J,accuse.

      6.     I have come to the conclusion never . . . marrying . . . blockhead enough to . . . .”

a.   That was Lincoln when he was unsuccessful with women and morose. Could have been Thoreau or Rand, I guess, but not. Not Tolkien who was married for a long time.

      7.     “The plain consequence is (and it is a general maxim worthy of our attention), “That no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle. . . .”

d.     Hume, in his tract, On Miracles. Not best work. Frankly, isn’t that how we judge anything we hear that sounds outlandish, miracle or not? Either we think the person telling us is lying (or the person who told him/her) or we believe it according to our interests. I raised my daughter to understand that people believe you or not, not based on your honesty, but based on their own interests. Even if they generally think you honest, if it bucks up against something important to them (often religion, their family or sports), you lose.

      8.     “These people gave always been parasites. . . .”   

a.     Hitler. I cheated a little and took out one sentence (the ellipses) which gave it away. But sounds like Trump, right? Although, hate to say it, but Hitler spoke a lot more coherently. No, I’m not saying he’s a Nazi. Relax. Sounds a little like TR too. See no. 1.

9.             9.  “The age of the world is great enough for our imaginations, even according to the Mosaic account . . . .”

b.     Thoreau, my favorite American writer. I wish I could write one line about something significant as sublime as he could about anything – even mud.

10.  When we got to the Happy Times Tavern the Madam pulled to a stop. . . .”

c.      All four choices are at least half-Jewish, yes, even Marcel Marceau and Billy Joel and the first three with silent characters. But the answer is Harpo, who grew up in NYC and wrote (with help) the best autobiography I ever read, “Harpo Speaks!”

Th-Th-That’s all folks!


  1. Jeez, I'm getting worse at this. Only 5.

  2. 4 correct. Your choices are traps, Frodo, and I fall for them every time. Well played.

    1. Yes, well writing them is my great consolation in life. And I always say, if I didn't know the answers - I wouldn't know the answers either.


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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .