January 10, 2018

“He can run, but he can’t hide.”

Joe Louis vs Billy Conn poster-8x6 (1)

“He can run, but he can’t hide.”             
       Joe Louis (1914-1981)             
       American heavyweight boxing champion, nicknamed “The Brown Bomber”  
       This was Joe’s famous comment about boxer Billy Conn, shortly before their heavyweight title rematch at Yankee Stadium in New York City on June 19, 1946.             
       Louis was known for his devastating punches and had defeated Conn in a previous fight in 1941. But Conn, “The Pittsburg Kid,” was lighter and faster, creating speculation that he could win their rematch.             
       On June 8, 1946, during one of the daily interviews he had with reporters in the days leading up to the fight, a reporter asked Louis: “If he [Conn] runs, will you chase him?”             
       Joe gave the memorable response: “He can run, but he can’t hide.” It appeared in news stories the next day in papers throughout the country. 
       Louis ended up winning the fight by a knockout in the eighth round. The next day, a headline in the New York Times said: “Louis Proves His Own Prediction: Conn Could Run, but Couldn’t Hide.”             
       Joe’s quip became and remains a commonly-used taunt in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries and he is generally assumed to have coined it. However, quotation expert Ralph Keyes speculated in his book The Quote Verifier that Louis may have been repeating a line that was already circulating as “street talk.” And, language maven Barry Popik discovered that Louis had made a similar remark in 1939. Speaking to a reporter about an upcoming fight with Bob Pastor in Detroit, Louis said: “It’s all right to have good legs but remember one thing—when you’re in the ring you can run, but you can’t hide.”             
     What does seem clear is that Louis deserves credit for popularizing the saying “He can run, but he can’t hide” and he uttered the most famous use of those words before his 1946 fight with Billy Conn.

Grateful Dead Built to Last

“We can run but we can’t hide from it
Of all possible worlds we only got one, we gotta ride on it
Whatever we’ve done we’ll never get far from what we leave behind
Baby we can run, run, run but we can’t hide.”

       Lyrics by Grateful Dead band member John Barlow for the Dead song “We Can Run”
       Music by band member Brent Mydland
      “We Can Run” is included on the Grateful Dead’s 1989 album Built To Last and several later Dead compilations.

One Foot in the Grave book

“You can run from the grave, but you can’t hide.”
       Headline on the back cover of Jeaniene Frost’s vampire novel One Foot in the Grave (2008)

Amy Harmon, The Song of David

“You can run, hide, or die. But wherever you go, there you’ll be.”
       Amy Harmon
       American novelist
       In her novel The Song of David (2015)

Songs of the Humpback Whale

“You can run but you can't hide...but I can try. I feel air catch in my lungs and I get a cramp in my side and this pain, this wonderful physical pain that I can place, reminds me that after all I am still alive.”
       Jodi Picoult
       American novelist
       In her book Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel in Five Voices (2001)

Reagan Run But Can't Hide quote

“I am proud to be the commander-in-chief of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who deployed, supported and played the crucial role in the delivery of these terrorists to Italian authorities...These young Americans sent a message to terrorists everywhere. A message ‘you can run but you can’t hide.’”
       Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)             
       40th President of the United States
       Remarks to the press on October 11, 1985 after American troops captured the terrorists who hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise ship and brutally murdered passenger Leon Klinghoffer.

One-legged man can't run but can hide-8x6

“He can’t run, but he can hide.”
       Ben Muessig
       American journalist
       This is Muessig’s punny opening line in an article he wrote for the Huffington Post in 2010
about a one-legged man who successfully evaded the police in Orange County, Florida on foot (literally one foot in this case) after driving recklessly through a residential community and smashing his car into a power pole.

Chicken Soup for the Fisherman's Soul

“I want to teach Gigi my young granddaughter, how to fish...Out on the boat she is captive. She can squirm, but she can’t hide. I will tell her I love her. And when she asks, ‘Are you crying?’ I’ll say, ‘Yes, but these are tears of joy. Older guys do that, Gigi.’ You can do that kind of thing when you go mackerel fishing.”
George H.W. Bush             
       41st President of the United States  
       An excerpt from a letter Bush wrote in September 1998, included in the book Chicken Soup for the Fisherman’s Soul
(2000), edited by Mark Victor Hansen, Ken McKowen and Dahlynn McKowen

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December 31, 2017

Should auld acquaintance — and 2017 — be forgot?

Guy Lombardo - Auld Lang Syne-8x6


“Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.”

       Robert Burns (1759-1796)
       Scottish poet
       The best known lines from his poem “Auld Lang Syne” (1788), which actually mean that old acquaintances should not be forgotten, they should be remembered and thought of fondly. 
       These lines were popularized by Guy Lombardo's musical version, but most people can’t remember the rest of the lyrics. In case you want to have them on hand on New Year’s Eve or read the backstory on the poem and the song, see this post on my This Day in Quotes site.

2017 2018 New Year's cartoon


“Should 2017 be forgot and never brought to mind?...To start it off right we hired a buffalo chicken drummy that fell into a pile of cat hair to be the captain of the ship. Ok, yes! We let the people around us feel like second-class citizens and inhuman. We let families and children and POC and women wonder if anyone gives a shit about them or if all along we’ve been pretending at some semblance of openness and equality. Great, sounds good! And that was only in January alone! There isn’t enough time in well hey, a year, to write about how it only continued to get more wonderful from there. It was like a scene from a movie after a bomb goes off and everyone wanders around the charred landscape while pieces of burnt wood fall from on high and embers rain from the sky. Just when you thought one more bad thing couldn’t happen, somebody finds a hidden landmine and the whole thing just goes up in smoke again.”
       Quinn Angelique
       American blogger
       Expressing what many people feel about 2017 in a post on the Medium website, December 26, 2017

Mickey Rooney I.E. An Autobiography


“What bothers me are friends, or perhaps acquaintances, who in rough times turn out to be non-acquaintances. I'm going to write a song about their approach. You probably know the melody:
   Should non-acquaintance be forgot
   And never brought to mind
   Should non-acquaintance be forgot
   Or kicked in their behind?”

       Mickey Rooney (1920-2014)
       American actor
       In his book I.E. An Autobiography (1965)



“Let drinking customs be forgot
And never brought to mind.
Come, moderate drinkers, topers, sots,
And leave your cups behind.”

       Henry Lee (1911-1993)
       American journalist and author              
       Quoting an old Temperance Movement song in his book How Dry We Were: Prohibition Revisited (1963)            

Teddy Roosevelt temperance cartoon-8x6


“Can abstinence be now forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Can abstinence be now forgot,
And mercy to mankind.”

       Lyrics from the song “Poured Out By Hands Divine,” in The Standard Book of Song for Temperance Meetings (1883)

Be forgot meme


“Your new, bed-related acquaintances should probably be forgot, and never brought to mind. Not that you remember them anyway.”
        New Year's meme created by WildRumpus on the SomeCards.com site             

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December 6, 2017

“Know thyself.” (And thy enemy.)

Temple of Apollo at Delphi WM


“Know thyself.” (“Gnothi seauton.”)
       A saying inscribed at the Greek Temple of Apollo at Delphi (4th century BC)             
       This oft-quoted advice is generally attributed to “The Seven Sages of Greece,” a group of famous Greek philosophers, statesmen and politicians. It’s one of 147 pithy sayings inscribed at Delphi.             
       Some of those sayings have been attributed to specific sages. For example, “Know thyself” has been credited to the philosopher Thales, the Greek statesman Solon, and several other Greek wise men.
       However, it’s likely that it and many other maxims inscribed at the Temple of Delphi are proverbial sayings that predate the Seven Sages.       



“He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.”             
       One of the most-cited quotes from the Tao Te Ching (a.k.a. the  Daodejing or Dao De Jing), a fundamental text of Taoism dating back to the 6th Century BC
       This quote is traditionally attributed to Lao-Tzu (a.k.a.  Lao-Tze or Laozi), the legendary, possibly mythical founder of Taoism who is generally credited with authorship of the Tao Te Ching.  
       Modern scholars tend to believe that text is probably a compilation of ancient Chinese wisdom, rather than the creation of one man.

 Sun Tzu the Art of War


“Know your enemy and know yourself, find naught in fear for 100 battles. Know yourself but not your enemy, find level of loss and victory. Know thy enemy but not yourself, wallow in defeat every time.”
        Sun-Tzu (c. 544 BC-496 BC)
        Chinese general, military strategist, and philosopher             
        This is one of the most popular pieces of wisdom in his famed work The Art of War (5th century BC).
        Although “Know thy enemy” and the variation “Know thine enemy” sound like and are sometimes assumed to be Biblical in origin, there is no such quote in the Bible. (Check it yourself if you don’t believe me.)

Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's


“There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.”
       Benjamin Franklin (1705-1790)
       American author, inventor, writer, publisher and statesman
       A saying recorded the 1750 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanack, a yearly almanac published by Franklin under the pseudonym of “Poor Richard” Saunders.

Oscar Wilde


“Only the shallow know themselves.”
       Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
       Irish poet and playwright
       From his collection of aphorisms “Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young,” first published in December 1894 in the one and only issue of the Oxford student magazine The Chameleon.

Andre Gide by_Laurens


“‘Know Thyself’ – a maxim as pernicious as it is odious. A person observing himself would arrest his own development. Any caterpillar who tried to ‘know himself’ would never become a butterfly.”
       André Gide (1869-1951)
       French writer and left-leaning political activist
       A comment in his 1935 book Les Nouvelles Nourritures, meaning “The New Foods” in English. That rambling, part-philosophical, part-poetic, part-political work is a followup to Gide’s Les Nourritures Terrestres, or “Foods of the Earth,” (1897).

Henry Miller


“The study of crime begins with the knowledge of oneself.”
       Henry Miller (1891-1980)
       American writer best known for his boundary-pushing, semi-autobiographical novels             
       A line from his memoir The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (1945), an account of a year-long trip he took across the United States in 1939 after living in Paris for nearly a decade.
        After the quote above, Miller goes on to say: “All that you despise, all that you loathe, all that you reject, all that you condemn and seek to convert by punishment springs from you. The source of it is God whom you place outside, above and beyond. Crime is identification, first with God, then with your own image.”

For fun, also see the video riff on “Know thyself” that I posted on YouTube.

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October 12, 2017

“Victory has a hundred fathers but defeat is an orphan.”

JFK, Desert Fox, Count Ciano

“There’s and old saying that victory has a hundred fathers but defeat is an orphan.”
       John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)
       American Democratic politician; 35th President of the United States             
His widely-cited comment at a press conference on April 21, 1961 that helped popularize the saying in the U.S.
       This was part of Kennedy’s response to a question journalist Sander Vanocor asked about the recent, failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in Cuba. Kennedy gained credibility by acknowledging that, although the C.I.A., American military officials, and many anti-Castro Cubans were involved in planning the operation, he had approved it and accepted the ultimate responsibility for its failure.
       According to a letter JFK’s advisor Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. sent to language maven William Safire, Kennedy didn’t recall where he’d heard the saying. However, as Safire and other quotation researchers have noted, it’s likely that Kennedy got it from watching the 1951 movie about German General Erwin Rommel, The Desert Fox.
       In the film, scripted by Nunally Johnson, Nazi Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt (played by actor Leo G. Carroll), says to Rommel (actor James Mason): “You must never forget this, my dear fellow: victory has a hundred fathers, defeat is an orphan.”
       Nunally adapted the line from a quote recoded in the 1950 book the film was based on, Rommel: The Desert Fox by Desmond Young. In the book, Young notes that on September 9, 1942, Count Gian Galeazzo Ciano, the son-in-law and Foreign Minister of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, wrote in his diary: “Victory always finds a hundred fathers but defeat is an orphan.”
       Some reference books about proverbs suggest that Ciano may have been using or paraphrasing an existing proverbial saying. It is sometimes given as “Victory has a thousand fathers…”  

Giants & Mondays suck

“The Giants are bad. You might have heard...It is said that victory has a hundred fathers but defeat is an orphan. I am proud to report that the Giants’ misery is unlikely ever to see the inside of the great baseball orphanage. An entire, many-armed-and-legged village of Suck has raised the 2017 Giants; there are so many sources of horror that it is difficult to choose which one to consider after any given loss.”
Claire McNear
       Staff writer for the sports and entertainment website TheRinger.com
       In a June 27, 2017 post about the San Francisco Giants mind-bogglingly horrible season

Battle of the Sexes movie poster

“It’s been said that victory has a hundred fathers but failure is an orphan, and in a way the reverse is true of true story narratives. When they suck there’s blame to go around and a million causes — the unearned creative liberties, the important points unfairly omitted, the obvious elements unnecessarily fussed over. When they’re good it seems preordained, as if God told the story and all you had to do was write it down.”
       Vince Mancini
       American writer, comedian, podcaster and movie critic
       In his review of the 2017 movie Battle of the Sexes on the Uproxx.com website. (He put it in the “good” true story narratives category.)

Startup CEO book

“It’s never hard to collect candidates to take credit for success...The flip side of that, though, is that failure is not an orphan. Companies that have a culture of blame and denial eventually go down in flames.”
       Matt Blumberg
       American technology and marketing entrepreneur and writer
       An observation he makes in his book Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business (2013)

Donald E. Abelson

“As many have claimed, every successful policy idea has a hundred mothers and fathers; every bad idea is an orphan.”
       Donald E. Abelson
       Professor & Chair of the Western University Political Science at Western university in Ontario, Canada
       In the book The Myth of the Sacred: The Charter, the Courts, and the Politics of the Constitution in Canada (2002)

Comments? Corrections? Post them on my Famous Quotations Facebook page or send me an email.

 Related reading…

October 2, 2017

“What does not kill me makes me stronger” – from Nietzsche and The Donald to Miley and Conan…


“What does not kill me makes me stronger.”
(“Was mich nicht umbringt macht mich stärker.”)
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
       German philosopher and poet
       In the “Maxims and Arrows”
section of his book Twilight of the Idols (1888)
       This famous line by Nietzsche has been translated and paraphrased in various ways, often with Whatever or That which in place of the word What, doesn’t instead of does not, and destroy or some other verb in place of kill. Nietzsche used a similar line in Ecce Homo (written 1888, published 1908), the last book he wrote before going completely insane. In the chapter of Ecce Homo titled
“Why I Am So Wise,” he wrote that a person who has “turned out well” could be recognized by certain attributes, such as a knack for exploiting bad accidents to his advantage. Regarding such a man, Nietzsche said: “What does not kill him makes him stronger.” (“Was ihn nicht umbringt, macht ihn stärker.”)

trump-cartoon playing the media


“What doesn’t kill Trump makes him stronger. And louder.”
       Sarah Rense
       Assistant Editor at Esquire magazine
In a post about FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly's feud with Donald Trump on the Esquire.com website. (Cartoon by Tom Stiglich, TomStiglich.com.)


“In our celebrity-obsessed culture, whatever outrageous act doesn’t manage to kill a celebrity’s career simply makes them a bigger celebrity.” 
       Comment posted by “JohnnyYuma” on the ABC News story about Miley Cyrus and her “twerking” performance on the August 2013 MTV Video Music Awards show


“You ask anybody what their number one fear is and it’s public humiliation. Multiply that on a global scale and that’s what I've been through. It changes you and makes you one tough motherf**ker. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s really that simple.”
Mel Gibson 
       In a
January 2010 interview in The Telegraph 
       Commenting on what he learned after the publicity flap over his 2006 arrest for DUI and the anti-Semitic remarks he made to the cops who arrested him. Mel told The Telegraph the incident had a positive effect on his life and he had learned from his mistakes. The interview came out before his highly-publicized, ranting attacks on his former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, which made Mel even stronger (and even less marketable as an actor).


“I believe whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you stranger.”
Heath Ledger, as the Batman villain The Joker, in the movie The Dark Knight (2008)


“quod me nutrit
  me destruit.”
Latin saying tattooed on Angelina Jolie’s lower abdomen
       In English, it means “What nourishes me also destroys me.”


“Whatever hurts you makes me stronger.”  
Leslie Stefanson, as the character Capt.
Elisabeth Campbell, in the movie The General’s Daughter (1999)


“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
       Quote shown at the beginning of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie
Conan the Barbarian (1982) and also used as a quip by Clairee Belcher (actress Olympia Dukakis) in the movie Steel Magnolias (1989).

Here’s a link to another Quote/Counterquote post with variations on Nietzsche’s famous maxim.

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