Blue Heron





I have always had a love of quotations.  Here, in no particular order, are some that have, in one way or another, enlightened, entertained, or touched my inner being.  I regret that I do not know the source of some of these or to whom they should be attributed.  However, I hope that you will find something here that you will enjoy. There may be additional material on the Humor page.


In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.
— Ζschylus

A ship in the harbor may be safe, but that isn't what ships are built for.
        — unknown

The pen's trace remains though the hand that held it dies.  
— Irish proverb

Climb, traveler, or stiffen slowly on the plain.
— Tom MacIntyre  "A Glance Will Tell You and a Dream Confirm"

The same battle in the clouds will be known to the deaf only as lightning and to the blind only as thunder.
— Santayana

Tell me and I forget.
Show me and I remember.
Let me do and I understand.
— Confucius

Success in love consists not so much in finding the one person who can make you happy, as in escaping the many who could make you miserable.
— unknown

Any fool can criticise, condemn, and complain -- and most fools do.
— Benjamin Franklin

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continuously fearing that you will make one.
— Elbert Hubbard

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.  Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
— George Bernard Shaw

You know, the one thing in life that you can be sure about is that you are going to make mistakes.
— Garibaldi to Zack: Babylon V, "Epiphanies"

Maybe somebody should've labeled the future: some assembly required.
— Garibaldi to Franklin: Babylon V, "Hunter, Prey"

"The giants have left the playground, but they left their guns behind."
— Sheridan: Babylon V, "The Fall of Centauri Prime"

I learned about choices and consequences and responsibility. I learned that we all have choices, even when we don't recognize them, and that those choices have consequences, not just for ourselves, but for others. We must assume responsibility for those consequences.
— Sheridan: Babylon V, "Rising Star"

It's easy to come together for a common enemy. Now our job is to come together for a common goal.
— Sheridan: Babylon V, "No Surrender, No Retreat"

A Vorlon said understanding is a three edged sword. Three sides. Your side. Their side. And the truth.
— Sheridan: Babylon V, "Into the Fire"

Tho' we are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
— Sheridan: Babylon V, "The Long Night" quoting A. Tennyson

Always plant a lie inside a truth, makes it easier to swallow.
— Sheridan: Babylon V, "Point of No Return"

Where does revenge end, and justice begin?
— Sheridan: Babylon V, "Passing Through Gethsemane"

And I tell you one thing, if the primates that we came from, had known that someday politicians would come out of the gene pool, they would have stayed up in the trees and written evolution off as a bad idea.
— Sheridan: Babylon V, "A Distant Star"

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.  Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.
— unknown

Sex without love is an empty experience, but, as empty experiences go, it's one of the best.
— Woody Allen

Time flies like an arrow.  Fruit flies like a banana.
— unknown

"How did you become such a wonderful lover?" the woman asked
"I practice a lot when I'm alone." he replied
— Woody Allen

I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy.
— Steve Martin

Money cannot buy friends, but you can afford a better class of enemy.
— Lord Mancroft

When someone says it ain't the money but the principle of the thing -- it's the money!
— Kin Hubbard

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.  Therefore all progress depends upon the unreasonable man.
— George Bernard Shaw

Discovery is seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought.
— Albert Szent-Gyorgi

Going to church does not make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you a mechanic.

The lion shall lie down with the lamb, but the lamb won't get very much sleep.
— Woody Allen

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
— Isaac Asimov

Hold fast to your dreams, for when they are gone, though you continue to exist, you have ceased to live.
        — unknown 

Sex between a man and a woman can be wonderful -- provided you get between the right man and woman.
— Woody Allen

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk being called sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk being called naive.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, has nothing, and becomes nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and
     change and grow and love and live.
Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave, he has forfeited his freedom.
Only the person who risks is truly free.
— Leo Buscalia

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
— George Bernard Shaw

A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
— Douglas Adams

If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?
—Thomas Jefferson

A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.
— Joseph Stalin

Bigamy is having one wife too many.  Monogamy is the same.
— Oscar Wilde

Power never retreats except in the face of an even greater power.
        — unknown 

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends and the most patient of teachers.
— Charles W. Elliot

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted.
— unknown

Good judgment comes from experience.
Experience comes from bad judgment.
— unknown

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.
— Robert F. Kennedy

I expect to pass through this life but once, any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
— proverbial saying

Life is like a dogsled team.  If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.
— unknown

Look to this day, for it is life - the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the verities and realities of your existence -
    the bliss of growth, the glory of action, the splendour of beauty.
For yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
   and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day.
 — Kalidasa  (5th century Indian poet)
            other sources ascribe this to the Sanskrit

No greater love hath any man than that he lay down his life for his brother.
Not for millions, not for glory, not for fame . . . for one person.
In the dark. Where no one will ever know or see."
— Sebastian (Babylon V, "Comes the Inquisitor")

The text of the second draft of the Interstellar Alliance Declaration of Principles:

The Universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice.
The language is not Narn or Human or Centauri or Gaim or Minbari.
It speaks in the language of hope. It speaks in the language of trust.
It speaks in the language of strength, and the language of compassion.
It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul.
But always it is the same voice.

It is the voice of our ancestors speaking through us.
And the voice of our inheritors waiting to be born.
It is the small, still voice that says we are One.

No matter the blood, no matter the skin,
No matter the world, no matter the star,
We are One.

No matter the pain, no matter the darkness,
No matter the loss, no matter the fear.
We are One.

Here, gathered together in common cause
We agree to recognize this singular truth and this singular rule:
That we must be kind to one another.

Because each voice enriches us and ennobles us,
And each voice lost diminishes us.
We are the voice of the universe, the soul of creation,
The fire that will light the way to a better future.

We are One.
— Sheridan (Babylon 5)

Embrace the moment. In the end, that's all we have. Trouble will come in its own time, it always does. But that's tomorrow. Give me today, and I will be happy."

        — Sheridan (Babylon 5: "Epiphanies")

"The universe is run by the complex interweaving of three elements: energy, matter, and enlightened self-interest."
   — G'Kar to Garibaldi (Babylon 5: "Survivors")

I  deserve true love — Even if it does cost me $3.99 per hour!
        — unknown  (Woody Allen?  Steve Martin?)

If you enjoy what you do — You're probably doing something wrong!
        — unknown  

Expect the worst —  You'll get the worst.
Expect the best
— You'll get the worst!
        — unknown  

You can always be what you want and do what you want --
If you want to be an idiot and do absolutely nothing!
        — Ashleigh Brilliant  

When I really put my mind to it — Anything is impossible!
        — Ashleigh Brilliant

We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
        — George Orwell

Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much; wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
        — William Cowper

Look at the contents, not at the bottle.
        — unknown  

Never threaten a child; either punish or forgive him.
        — unknown  


If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.
        — Henry David Thoreau

'Tis better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.
        — unknown  


I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out if old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world's eyes
As though they'd wrought it.
Song, let them take it,
For there's more enterprise
In walking naked.
        —William Butler Yeats

Experience is what we call our mistakes.
        — unknown  


From ghoulies and ghosties
    And long leggety beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
    Good Lord, deliver us!
        — Scottish prayer (anonymous)

We trained hard -- but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized.  I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.
        — Petronius Arbiter, 66 A.D.

If it can't be expressed in figures, it isn't science, it's opinion.
        — Robert A. Heinlein, "The Notebooks of Lazarus Long" 

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man.  Advances which  permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people.  Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating,  or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as "bad luck."
        — Robert A. Heinlein, "The Notebooks of Lazarus Long" 

You can have peace. Or you can have freedom.  Don't ever count on having both at once.
        — Robert A. Heinlein, "The Notebooks of Lazarus Long"   

Taxes are seldom levied for the benefit of the taxed.
        — unknown  

One man's technology is another man's magic.  Given the technology, all magic can be explained and reproduced.
        — unknown  (Arthur C. Clarke?)

Those who refuse to support or defend a state have no right to protection by that state.
        — Robert A. Heinlein, "The Notebooks of Lazarus Long"   

Courage is the complement of fear.  A man who is fearless cannot be courageous.
        — Robert A. Heinlein, "The Notebooks of Lazarus Long"   

The two highest achievements of the human mind are the twin concepts of "loyalty" and "duty."   Whenever these concepts fall into disrepute, get out of there fast!  You may possibly save yourself, but it is too late to save that society.  It is doomed.
        — Robert A. Heinlein, "The Notebooks of Lazarus Long"   

The difference between science and the "fuzzy" subjects is that science requires reasoning, while those other subjects merely require scholarship.
        — Robert A. Heinlein, "The Notebooks of Lazarus Long"   

Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny.
        — Robert A. Heinlein, "The Notebooks of Lazarus Long"   

I realized fear one morning
At the blare of the fox hunter's sound.
When they're all out chasing the poor bloody fox,
It's safer to be dressed as a hound.
        — unknown


God grants freedom only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.
        — Daniel Webster

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
        — Wendell Phillips

Liberty without learning is always in peril, and learning without liberty is always in vain.
        — John F. Kennedy

This will remain the land of the free only so long as it remains the home of the brave.
        — Elmer Davis

The making of an American begins at the point where he himself rejects all other ties, any other history, and himself adopts the vesture of his adopted land.
        — James Baldwin

The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought.
        — Samuel Adams

When good people in any country cease their vigilance and struggle, then evil men prevail.
        — Pearl S. Buck

Freedom is still expensive.  It still costs money.  It still costs blood.  It still calls for courage and endurance, not only in soldiers, but in every man and woman who is free and who is determined to remain free.
        — Harry S Truman

My God!  How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!
        —Thomas Jefferson

We must be ready to dare all for our country.  For history does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.
        — Dwight D. Eisenhower

We have enjoyed so much freedom for so long that we are perhaps in danger of forgetting how much blood it cost to establish the Bill of Rights.
        — Felix Frankfurter, Supreme Court Justice

We must be willing , individually and as a nation, to accept whatever sacrifices may be required of us.  A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
        — Dwight D. Eisenhower

Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities everyday people
        — Harry Emerson Fosdick

Turning and turning in a widening gyre the falcon cannot hear the falconer; things fall apart; the center cannot hold.
        — W.B. Yeats, "the Second Coming"

 The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.
        — W.B. Yeats, "the Second Coming"  

And what rough beast, its time come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?
        — W.B. Yeats, "the Second Coming"  

 Consistency requires that you be as ignorant today as you were yesterday.
        — Bernard Berenson

I am not young enough to know everything.
        — Sir James Barrie

The young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the benefit of their experience.
        — Oscar Wilde

The optimist claims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; the pessimist fears this is true
        — unknown  

Education is what you get if you read the fine print.  Experience is what you get if you don't.
        — Pete Seeger

All that is essential for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
        — Edmund Burke

When the One Great Scorer comes
To write against your name,
He writes — not that you won or lost —
But how you played the game.
        — Grantland Rice


To see a world in a grain of sand,
    And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
    And Eternity in an hour.
        — William Blake, "Auguries of Innocence"

Many people believe they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
        — after William James

Character is what you are in the dark.
        — Dwight L. Moody

He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.
        — George Herbert

Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as you go along.
        — Samuel Butler

 Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure.
        — Abraham Lincoln

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
        — William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), "The Merchant of Venice", Act 4 scene 1   

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
        — Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)


Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.
        — Kahlil Gibran (1883 - 1931)


We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.
        — Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)


Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
        — Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)


The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.
        — Harlan Ellison (1934 - )


Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
        — Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968), Strength to Love, 1963


Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.
        — Nick Diamos    


Artificial Intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
        — unknown

You don't love a woman because she is beautiful, but she is beautiful because you love her.
        — Anon.

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, it's what you are expected to give -- which is everything.
        — unknown

Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so.

        — David Grayson

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage.
        — Lao-Tzu

The avalanche has started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote.
        — Kosh, (Babylon-5, "Believers")


It doesn't matter that his Grail may or may not exist, what matters is that he strives for the perfection of his soul and the salvation of his race and that he has never wavered or lost faith.
        — Delenn, (Babylon-5, "Grail")


There comes a time when you look into the mirror and realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. Then you accept it, or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking into mirrors.
        — Londo, (Babylon-5, "Chrysalis")


It was an early earth president, Abraham Lincoln, who best described our situation. 'The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise to the occasion. We cannot escape history. We will be remembered in spite of ourselves. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor, to the last generation. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, our last best hope for Earth.'
        — Sheridan, (Babylon-5, "Points of Departure")


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of "Spiritus Mundi"
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indigent desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
        — G'Kar to Na'Toth, Revelations 
            (quoting in part from "The Second Coming" by W.B. Yeats)


The past tempts us, the present confuses us, and the future frightens us. Our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that vast terrible "inbetween". But there is still time to sieze that one last fragile moment. To choose something better, to make a difference
         — Centauri Emperor and Sheridan (Babylon-5, "The Coming of Shadows")


Faith sustains us in the hour when reason tells us that we can not continue, that the whole of our lives is without meaning.
        — Brother Alwyn Macomber, (Babylon-5, "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars")


On my world, we have learned that an inauguration is simply a signal to assassins that a new target has been set up on the firing range.
        — Londo, (Babylon-5, "No Compromises")


We create the meaning in our lives. It does not exist independently. It does not mean worrying about what others will think about us. It does not mean deciding what to do based upon whether or not it serves our sense of ego or destiny. It means living each moment as if it were your last one. It means doing each right thing because it is the right thing. The scale doesn't matter. The where, the when, the how, or in what cause .. none of those things matter. Your life will have a meaning only when you are in fullest pursuit of what you know in your heart to be right.
        — Paraphrased from Babylon-5

"What does the candle represent?"
"Whose life?"
"All life, every life. We're all born as molecules in the hearts of a billion stars, molecules that do not understand politics, policies and differences. In a billion years we foolish molecules forget who we are and where we came from. Desperate acts of ego. We give ourselves names, fight over lines on maps, and pretend our light is better than everyone else's. The flame reminds us of the piece of those stars that lives inside us. A spark that tells us: you should know better. The flame also reminds us that life is precious, as each flame is unique. When it goes out, it's gone forever. And there will never be another quite like it.
        — Sheridan and Delenn, (Babylon-5, "And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder")


Go anywhere. . ., when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone. . .our voices will linger. . .for as long as this place remains.
        — G'Kar to Sheridan, (Babylon-5, "Objects in Motion")

Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.
        — George Carlin

I believe that when we leave behind someone we care deeply about, a part of them goes with us and a part of us remains. I will admit that the part of me that is going will very much miss the part of you that is staying.
        —  after G'Kar to Sheridan, (Babylon-5, "Objects in Motion")

By their deeds ye shall know them
        —  This is actually a misquote of "By their fruits ye shall know them", Matthew 7:16

Throughout history it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.
        —  Haile Salassie

The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.
        —  President George Washington

Freedom is never more than one generation from extinction.
        —  President Ronald Reagan

A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American.
        —  President Woodrow Wilson

Freedom is the sure posession of only those who have the courage to defend it.
        —  Anonymous

Of the many things we have done to democracy in the past, the worst has been the indignity of taking it for granted.
        —  Max Lerner

Make the most of today 'cause the future ain't what it used to be!