The Musician's Room - Cool Quotes

A little more flotsam across the transom of your mind...

"Wonderful is the effect of impudent and persevering lying." - Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, Paris, 13 Nov. 1787

“Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.” - Daniel Webster, in a speech delivered in New York, on the 15th of March 1837

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." - John Adams to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, 11 October 1798

"We have men of science, too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants." - Omar Bradley, Armistice Day speech, 11 November, 1948.

"When youth departs, may wisdom prove enough." - Winston Churchill

"Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." - Mike Rowe, in the Huffington Post, June 9, 2016

"Act like you've been there before when you get in the end zone." - Tom Bukovac, a word about showing off and boasting

"Talking about music is like dancing about architecture." - Attributed to Martin Mull

"Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world." - Martin Luther

"The guitar is the most unpredictable and least reliable musical instrument in existence...and also the sweetest, the warmest, the most delicate, whose melancholic voice awakes in our soul exquisite reveries." - Andres Segovia

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” - Pablo Picasso

"There’s a simple joy of using a very expensive ballpoint pen to write on real paper. I don’t know how to describe it but in a way these are like different kinds of paper, different kinds of ballpoint pens. You pick up certain instruments and for some reason, immediately a melody or a song or a theme or something comes to mind, inspired by the instrument." - Jeff “Skunk” Baxter from Turn it Up!

"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years." - Mark Twain

“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.” - Leonard Bernstein

“Guitarists spend half their time tuning and the other half playing out of tune.” - Andres Segovia

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Robert Heinlein

Dedicated urbanites "know" beyond shadow of doubt - because doubt never raises its disturbing head - that civilization is the real world: you only "escape" to wilderness. When you're out and away and immersed, you "know" the obverse: the wilderness world is real, the human world a superimposed facade... The controversy is, of course, spurious. Neither view can stand alone. Both worlds are real. But the wilderness world is certainly older and will almost certainly last longer. Besides, the second view seems far healthier for a human to embrace. - Colin Fletcher, River (1997)
The problem isn't that Johnny can't read.
The problem isn't even that Johnny can't think.
The problem is that Johnny doesn't know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.

- Thomas Sowell

"The entire 20th century, with its mass political enthusiasms, is a lesson in the supreme power of politics to produce ever-expanding circles of ruin." - Charles Krauthammer

Justice is turned back, and righteousness is far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. - Isaiah 59:14ff

Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. - Martin Luther king, Jr.

"Every time something really bad happens, people cry out for safety, and the government answers by taking rights away from good people." - Penn Jillette, Penn & Teller's How to Play in Traffic

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have." - Gerald R. Ford

"...if a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power." - Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks at Fourth Annual Republican Women's National Conference, March 6, 1956

"I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world." - George Washington in a letter to James McHenry (10 August 1798)

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill

"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches one." - Mike Godwin (Godwin's Law)

"Science without doubt isn't science at all." - Mike Rowe, Facebook, January 11, 2018

“Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue.” - Robert K. Merton in Social Theory and Social Structure

"Without absolutes revealed from without by God Himself, we are left rudderless in a sea of conflicting ideas about manners, justice and right and wrong, issuing from a multitude of self-opinionated thinkers" - John Owen

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke (Clarke's Third Law)

"There is a great deal of talk about loyalty from the bottom to the top. Loyalty from the top down is even more necessary and is much less prevalent. One of the most frequently noted characteristics of great men who have remained great is loyalty to their subordinates." - George Patton

"The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right." - GK Chesterton

"Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes to us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne, 1971

“After a time, you may find that ‘having’ is not so pleasing a thing after all as ‘wanting.’ It is not logical, but it is often true.” - Mr. Spock, from Amok Time, Star Trek The Original Series

"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprize, and independance to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks." - Thomas Jefferson to his nephew, Peter Carr, on the best form of excercise, in a personal letter, August 19, 1785

“That rifle on the wall of the labourer's cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.” - George Orwell in The Evening Standard, January 8th, 1941, in the article, "Don't Let Colonel Blimp Ruin the Home Guard"

"Step 6: Love
This is the tough one, and will make or break you. You must do this work with love, or you fail. You don’t have to think, but you must love. This is one of the reasons I have nice tools. If I get hung up with maybe a busted knuckle or a busted stud, I feel my tools, like art objects or lovely feelies, until the rage subsides and sense and love return…" - John Muir on auto repair, from How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step by Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch." - Ben Franklin

“Nations that went down fighting rose again, but those who surrendered tamely were finished.” - Winston Churchill, 1940, comparing his country's situation to those of other historic instances, as his War Cabinet stared down the maw of the Nazi threat and contemplated whether to sue for peace or fight.

"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal

“Modern Americans behave as if intelligence were some sort of hideous deformity.” - Frank Zappa

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." - George Washington

"We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle." - Winston S. Churchill

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw

"Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics." - Gen. Robert H. Barrow, USMC (Commandant of the Marine Corps) noted in 1980

"There was a British critic who said that I put bitter coatings on sugar pills, and I consider that fair." - Kurt Vonnegut

“So shines a good deed in a weary world.” - Willy Wonka, semi-quoting Shakespeare's Portia in The Merchant of Venice in the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It was screenwriter David Seltzer's idea to visit various famous writers via Wonka's lines.

"That's the future. What a fascinating modern age we live in." - Captain Jack Aubrey, Master and Commander, the Far Side of the World

"Just grateful to be married to a kind woman." - Vince Gill

"I think we've all arrived a very special place - spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically." - Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Carribean I

"If ever the time should come, when vain & aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin." - Samuel Adams to James Warren, 1780

"Day by day, case by case, the Supreme Court is busy designing a Constitution for a country I do not recognize." - Justice Antonin Scalia, United States Supreme Court, from Board of County Commissioners v. Umbehr

"The poet called Miss Liberty's torch, "the lamp beside the golden door." Well, that was the entrance to America, and it still is. And now you really know why we're here tonight. The glistening hope of that lamp is still ours. Every promise every opportunity is still golden in this land. And through that golden door our children can walk into tomorrow with the knowledge that no one can be denied the promise that is America. Her heart is full; her door is still golden, her future bright. She has arms big enough to comfort and strong enough to support, for the strength in her arms is the strength of her people. She will carry on in the eighties unafraid, unashamed, and unsurpassed. In this springtime of hope, some lights seem eternal; America's is." - Ronald Reagan (RNC speech, August 23, 1984 )

"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed." - Mark Twain

"When I am grown to man's estate, I shall be very proud and great.
And tell the other girls and boys, not to meddle with my toys."

-Robert Louis Stephenson

"No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority" - Thomas Jefferson

"Should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book? Its morals are pure, its examples captivating and noble. The reverence for the Sacred Book that is thus early impressed lasts long; and probably if not impressed in infancy, never takes firm hold of the mind." - Fisher Ames, author of the final wording for the First Amendment

“We’re lending money we don’t have, to kids who will never be able to pay it back, for jobs that no longer exist... It never ever ever made sense to do that, and yet we’re still selling education the same way we sold it when you and I were in high school.” - Mike Rowe

"There is a flow to history and culture. This flow is rooted and has its wellspring in the thoughts of people. People are unique in the inner life of the mind -- what they are in their thought-world determines how they act. This is true of their value systems and it is true of their creativity. It is true of their corporate actions, such as political decisions, and it is true of their personal lives. The results of their thought-world flow through their fingers or from their tongues into the external world. This is true of Michelangelo's chisel, and it is true of a dictator’s sword." - Francis A. Schaeffer from How Should We Then Live?

“Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, but it is also stranger than we can think... What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning... The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.” - Werner Heisenberg

“It is unfortunately true that the great body of our citizens shoot less and less as time goes on…. To meet this we should encourage rifle practice among schoolboys, and indeed among all classes, as well as in the military services, by every means in our power. Thus, and not otherwise, may we be able to assist in preserving the peace of the world…. Unprepared, and therefore unfit, we must sit dumb and helpless to defend ourselves, protect others or preserve peace. The first step – in the direction to avert war, if possible, and to be fit for war if it should come – is to teach our men to shoot.” - President Theodore Roosevelt in his last address to congress, 1909

“There are no extraordinary men...just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with.” - Admiral William Frederick (Bull) Halsey Jr.

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” - Richard Henry Lee, Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican

"The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms." - Samuel Adams, Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, 1788

"A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves". - Edward R. Murrow

"This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty.... The right of self defence (sic) is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction." - St. George Tucker, Professor of Law, University of William and Mary, in the foundational analysis of the U.S. Constitution, Blackstone's Commentaries with Notes of reference to The Constitution and Laws of the Federal Government of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia (In Five Volumes), 1803

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759.

"Journalists were never intended to be the cheerleaders of a society, the conductors of applause, the sycophants. Tragically, that is their assigned role in authoritarian societies, but not here -- not yet." - Chet Huntley in TV Guide, 1970

“Just because the microphone in front of you amplifies your voice around the world is no reason to think we have any more wisdom than we had when our voices could reach only from one end of the bar to the other.” - Edward R. Murrow

"All that is required for evil to triumph is that good people remain silent and do nothing." - Edmund Burke

"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." - Margaret Thatcher

"Rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read." - Frank Zappa

"Hell has been described as a place where the politicians are French, the police German, and the cooks British." - Colin Fletcher, Welshman, from his book, The Complete Walker, 9th Edition

"Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." - George Washington, Farewell Address, September, 1796

"Americans need not fear the federal government because they enjoy the advantage of being armed, which you possess over the people of almost every other nation." - James Madison

"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." - George Mason, during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution (1788)

"On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." - Thomas Jefferson

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States" - Noah Webster

"Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?" - Patrick Henry

"The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able may have a gun." - Patrick Henry

"No free man shall be debarred the use of arms." - Thomas Jefferson in three drafts of the Virgina Constitution

"[Even if there would be] few tears shed if and when the Second Amendment is held to guarantee nothing more than the state National Guard, this would simply show that the Founders were right when they feared that some future generation might wish to abandon liberties that they considered essential, and so sought to protect those liberties in a Bill of Rights. We may tolerate the abridgement of property rights and the elimination of a right to bear arms; but we should not pretend that these are not reductions of rights." - Justice Antonin Scalia 1998

"If we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us, that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity." - Daniel Webster

"No arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women." - Ronald Reagan (First Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981 )

"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air - however slight - lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness." - Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." - C. S. Lewis

"I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details."
"I am convinced that He (God) does not play dice with the cosmos."
"Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."
"Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."

"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour.
Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute.
THAT'S relativity."
- Albert Einstein

"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions." - President Ronald Reagan

"There's a feeling I get when I look to the sky, as if someone is watching, someone hears every word." - Joe Walsh

"Now we've got them where they want us!" - Joe Walsh

"I play the way I do because it allows me to come up with the sickest sounds possible. That's the point now isn't it?" - Jeff Beck

"There is nothing better for your playing than sounding great." - Vince Gill

"Nobody wants to hear the 12-bar blues from a guy in platform shoes." - The Mountain Goats "Rage of Travers"

"It is true. I never practice guitar. From time to time I open the case and throw in a piece of raw meat." - Wes Montgomery

"This is a national steel guitar. One day I was sitting and playing around on this and came up with "Romeo and Juliet" just because of the nature of the guitar. (demonstrates) I could probably play it on that (indicates Martin) and it would sound okay but it wouldn't be quite the same as this delightfully vulgar piece of equipment (smiles gently). It's got the lovers on the back in the canoe, too, doesn't it? Really, I've always thought of these things as being magical, in a way." - Mark Knopfler

"A Guitar is something you can hold and love and it's never going to bug you. But here's the secret about the guitar - it's defiant. It will never let you conquer it. The more you get involved with it, the more you realize how little you know." - Les Paul

"It's a magical thing, the guitar. It allows you to be the whole band in one, to lay the rhythm and melody, sing over the top. And as an instrument for solos, you can bend notes, draw emotional content out of tiny movements, vibratos and tonal things which even a piano can't do." - David Gilmour

"If I had to make a living selling guitars to working musicians, I'd be sleeping under a bridge." - Boutique guitar maker Bill Collings

"You start off playing guitars to get girls and end up talking with middle-aged men about your fingernails." - Ed Gerhard

Audiophiles don't use their equipment to listen to your music. Audiophiles use your music to listen to their equipment. - Alan Parsons

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." - Hunter S. Thomson

"Never try to teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time and annoys the pig." - Robert Heinlein via character Lazarus Long in Time for Love

"Tell Lord Privy Seal that I am sealed in my privy -- And I can only deal with one $-it at a time!" - Winston Churchill, when bothered for a signature while otherwise occupied...

"No one will ever win the battle of the sexes. There's just too much fraternizing with the enemy." - Henry Kissinger

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

"Corrupt the young, get them away from religion. Get them interested in sex. Make them superficial, and destroy their ruggedness. Get control of all means of publicity, and thereby get the peoples' mind off their government by focusing their attention on athletics, sexy books and plays, and other trivialities. Divide the people into hostile groups by constantly harping on controversial matters of no importance." - Vladimir Ilich Lenin, former leader of USSR