January 19, 2016

“A ticket to ride” – from the Beatles to Celine Dion to primary politics and LOLdogs…

Ticket_to_Ride single-8x6

“She’s got a ticket to ride, but she don’t care.”
       The Beatles
       The well-known line from the chorus of their 1965 song “Ticket to Ride,” featured in their movie HELP!
       Like many Beatles songs, “Ticket to Ride” is officially credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney but was primarily written by one of them (in this case Lennon). The lyrics tell the story of a guy who’s “gonna be sad” because his girlfriend is dumping him and “going away.” It’s a bit unclear what her “ticket to ride” refers to. It could be a ticket on some form of public transportation. It could allude to her relationship with the guy, a “ride” she no longer cares about.
According to many websites and books about the Beatles, Lennon once suggested in his typically cheeky (and often tongue-in-cheek) fashion that he coined the phrase when the band was playing in Hamburg, Germany in the early 1960s. The local prostitutes there had to get regular medical checkups. Those who passed were given a card confirming they had no venereal disease — which Lennon said he dubbed “a ticket to ride.” Another theory in Beatles lore is that “ticket to ride” was a pun about the town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight. One of McCartney’s cousins ran a bar there that he and Lennon visited together, after buying a ticket on the British Railways train to Ryde.


“It’s important to open your eyes in the morning and look at yourself in the mirror and ask two questions: ‘Are you dead, or do you have a ticket to ride?’...If you’re alive, have a good day. Because today is the most important day of your life.”
       Celine Dion
       Canadian musical star
       Comment to the press in September 2015 about the how she tried to deal with the fact that her husband and manager René Angélil was gravely ill with throat cancer. Celine and René used their tickets to ride together every day until he passed away on January 14, 2016.


“Ladies and gentlemen, I think we’re in the hunt!...I’d say third place is a ticket to ride, ladies and gentleman! Hello, South Carolina!”
       Jon Huntsman 
       The former Governor of Utah who ran as a Republican presidential candidate in 2012 
       Comment in
a speech on the night of January 10, 2012, after taking third place in New Hampshire’s Republican primary
       Huntsman’s use of “ticket to ride” was his attempt at a clever sound bite suggesting that he had the momentum needed to continue his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in the upcoming South Carolina primary election. Several days later, when polls showed Mitt Romney would likely beat him by a wide margin, Huntsman dropped out of the Republican primary race before the Palmetto State’s primary was held.


“Yes, he’s got a ticket to ride and we don’t care.”
       Stephen Colbert 
       Former host the Comedy Channel’s Colbert Report TV show 
       Spoofing Huntsman’s reference to the Beatles’ song
on the January 11, 2012 episode of the Colbert Report


“If she’s got a ticket to ride, why don’t she care? Why did she buy it in the first place?” 
“Quincy the Wolf” 
one of the “Deep Thoughts” posted in his online journal


       Caption on an ihasahotdog.com photo

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January 10, 2016

An honest politician is…

Simon Cameron honest politician quote WM


“An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.” 
Simon Cameron (1799-1889) 
       American businessman and politician who served as U.S. Secretary of War under President “Honest Abe” Lincoln 
       A legendary quip that has long been linked to Cameron, though
it appears that he never said it. In his excellent book, The Quote Verifier, quotation maven Ralph Keyes notes that there is no record of Cameron making any such remark. Keyes speculates that it was probably falsely attributed to Cameron by one of his many political enemies and over time was assumed to be an actual quote.

Mike Keefe cartoon. George Carlin Oxymorons


“An honest politician is as much an oxymoron as jumbo shrimp.”
       Harrison Finzel
       Arizona journalist
       In an article in The State Press newspaper, October 20, 2015
       George Carlin's Oxymorons cartoon by Mike Keefe

Joey Adams-8x6


“An honest politician is one who’s never been caught.”
Joey Adams (1911-1999)
       American comedian   
       From his column “Strictly for Laughs”
       The New York Post, January 5, 1999

Taylor Caldwell-8x6


“An honest politician is either a hypocrite — or he is doomed.”
Taylor Caldwell (Janet Miriam Taylor Caldwell; 1900-1985)
       British-born American novelist
       From her novel Captains and the Kings (1972)

H.L. Mencken-8x6


“An honest politician is regarded as a sort of marvel, like a calf with five legs, and the news that one has appeared is commonly received with derision.”
H.L. Mencken (Henry Louis Mencken; 1880-1956)
       American journalist, editor, language maven and curmudgeon
       In his book The American Language (1919)

Richard Reeves-8x6[1]


“In the good old days, an honest politician was one who lied only when he had to. But now lies are becoming the accepted language of government at the highest levels, the theory being that sooner or later the people of the country will become so confused and disillusioned that they will just mind their own business, and leave governing to well-placed liars.”
Richard Reeves (b. 1936)
       American newspaper columnist
       “Bush & Co. Are Turning Washington into a Liar's Club”
       From his syndicated column, December 17, 1989

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Rleated reading: some recently-published political quote books...


December 31, 2015

10 things friends don’t let friends do...

Friends don't let friends drive drunk ad

“Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” 
       Public service ad slogan
launched nationwide in the U.S. in 1983 
       First used in billboard ads by the Outdoor Advertising Association, then used in a series of memorable
TV commercials aired by the Ad Council.

Mark Zuckerberg Is Not Giving You Money


"Friends don't let friends copy and paste memes."
Amit Chowdhry
       Tech journalist for Forbes magazine
       Headline for
his Dec. 29, 2015 post on Forbes.com about those absurd Facebook posts that say Mark Zuckerberg is giving away money to people who repost Facebook posts that say that Mark Zuckerberg is giving away money.

Friends don’t let friends vote Trump


“Friends don't let friends vote Trump”
       T-shirt slogan
on Zazzle.com. (Of course, there are similar versions naming Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and other candidates. ‘Tis the season for politics.)

Ban wine


“Friends don’t let friends drink chardonnay.”
       Michele Anna Jordan 
       Restaurant and food critic and author
       In her book
The Good Cook’s Book of Days (1995)

WALKING-DEAD_Rick pointing gun


“Friends don’t let friends reanimate.”
T-shirt slogan suggesting what every Walking Dead fan knows they need to do if their friend is bitten by a zombie.

Friends don't let friends drink & dive


“Friends don't let friends drink and dive.”
       An "alcohol demotivational poster"
on the DemotivationalPosters.org site.

Friends don't let friends eat lilies


“Friends don't let friends eat lilies.”
       Seriously! As explained
on the PreventiveVet.com site: “It takes only a nibble on one leaf or stem, or the ingestion of a small amount of lily pollen (easy to do when a cat grooms itself) to send a cat into acute kidney failure.”

friends don't let friends do silly things


“Friends don't let friends do silly things ... alone.”
       A cute photo meme
on the WeHeartIt.com site

Friends don't let friends bully


“Friends don’t let friends bully”
       Slogan for a public service advertising campaign launched in 2015
by the Seattle-based Free2Luv.org organization.

Friends don’t let friends watch football


“Friends don’t let friends watch college football”
A QuickMeme.com photo quip that some people (including me) can relate to.

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Related reading…

November 1, 2015

Charity, love and a prenup cover a multitude of sins...


“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”  
Saint Peter (c. 1 BC-c. 67 AD)
       Galilean-born Apostle of Jesus and early Christian leader
       His famous words in
I Peter 4:8, as translated in the King James Bible. Most later version of the Bible use the word love in place of charity.
       Chapter 4, Verse 8 of the
“First Epistle of Peter” (usually referred to as I Peter 4:8) is the origin of the sayings “charity covers a multitude of sins” and “love covers a multitude of sins.” These reflect two different translations of a word originally written in Greek by Peter. Although most familiar Bible quotes are from the King James version, “love covers a multitude of sins” has become the more commonly heard version.
       Peter actually used the Greek word agape for the thing that covers a multitude of sins. In the early Catholic Church’s Vulgate Bible and in the King James Version, agape was translated as charity. In later versions, it was translated as love. But in early Christian theology it didn’t quite mean what we now think of when we use either of those words. Agape refers to a more profound concept that can’t easily be translated into a single English word. It means a feeling of charitable compassion, empathy and non-romantic love toward other people, like the love God and Jesus Christ are said to have for mankind; a higher love that can look past and forgive — and thus “cover” and accept — other people’s faults and transgressions. 
       The famed Bible quote was not intended to mean that if someone gives enough alms to the poor or donates enough money to charities it will atone for or “cover up” their sins and let them get past St. Peter into the Pearly Gates of Heaven. Nonetheless, in common use, variations of the saying “charity covers a multitude of sins” are often used to suggest that doing or having a certain thing will hide or excuse something else.


“Love covers a multitude of sins. Sure. But you’d be nuts not to get a prenup. I mean, c’mon. #TrumpBible.” 
       Eric Metaxas
       Pastor, author and radio show host
       One of Metaxas's suggested additions to the funny faux Donald Trump quotes featured on the #TrumpBible Twitter page, which mocks Trump’s claim to be a Christian (and Trump in general). Illustration by Jordan Awan.


“The conditions under which the leper families live are terrible...Sometimes the pain is so great that I feel as if everything will break. The smile is a big cloak which covers a multitude of pains.”
Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
       Albanian-born Catholic nun known for her humanitarian efforts in India
In a letter quoted in the book Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: the Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta (2007), edited by Brian Kolodiejchuk


“The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible... Charity creates a multitude of sins. There is also this to be said. It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property. It is both immoral and unfair.”
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
       Irish playwright, poet, social critic and wit
       In his essay
“The Soul of Man Under Socialism” (1891)


“The word ‘god’ is used to cover a vast multitude of mutually exclusive ideas. And the distinctions are, I believe in some cases, intentionally fuzzed so that no one will be offended that people are not talking about their god.”
Carl Sagan (1934-1996)
       American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist and author 
       Remark in a lecture included in the book
The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God (2007)


“That helmet covers a multitude of sins.”
Captain James T. Kirk (actor William Shatner) 
       Kirk makes this joking remark
to Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in the Star Trek episode “Patterns of Force” (Season 2, Episode 21). He’s referring to the helmet Spock puts on during their visit to a planet run by a Nazi-inspired government. The helmet covers Spock’s pointed Vulcan ears, thus helping to hide the fact that he is an alien.

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October 27, 2015

“Suppose they gave a war and nobody came.”


“Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.”
Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)
       American poet and writer
       A line from Sandburg’s epic prose poem The People, Yes (1936)
       In the 1960s, several variations of an anti-war slogan began appearing on posters, in print and in songs. The version that became most common (as shown by the
comparatively huge number of Google hits it gets) is “Suppose they gave a war and nobody came.” Other variations include “Suppose they gave a war and no one came” and “What if they gave a war and nobody came.” It’s not certain who coined the most familiar version, but this much is clear: all of the various iterations of the saying are ultimately descended from a line in Carl Sandburg’s book-length ode to America and it’s citizens, The People, Yes, first published in 1936.
       In the poem, the line is said by a little girl who sees a group of soldiers marching in a parade. It’s from a part of the poem in which Sandburg seems to foresee the potential devastation of a second and possibly a third world war:
The first world war came and its cost was laid on the people.
       The second world war — the third — what will be the cost.
       And will it repay the people for what they pay?...
       The little girl saw her first troop parade and asked, 
       ‘What are those?’
       ‘What are soldiers?’
       ‘They are for war. They fight and each tries to kill as many of the other side as he can.’
       The girl held still and studied. 
       ‘Do you know ... I know something?’
       ‘Yes, what is it you know?’
       ‘Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.’


“Suppose they gave a war and nobody came.” 
       Possibly coined by
James R. Newman 
       American mathematician, writer and editor of Scientific American magazine
       In the 1960s, several updated versions of Carl Sandburg’s line became popular. They were often used in the context of opposition to the Vietnam War. The most common version, “Suppose they gave a war and nobody came,” was used as a slogan on posters that were sold in Hippie shops in the late Sixties (like the blacklight poster shown at left). It was also used as the title of
a comedy movie in 1970, giving it even broader recognition. Some posts on the Internet claim the now familiar words were first written by Bertolt Brecht in the 1930s. However, they give no source and I couldn’t find one, so I deem that claim doubtful. (As Abraham Lincoln said, “The problem with Internet quotations is that many are not genuine.”) 
       In contrast, the origin of the variation “Suppose They Gave a War and No One Came” is well documented. It was used as
the title of a widely-read article written by the American poet and author Charlotte E. Keyes (1914-1980). The article, about her growing admiration for the anti-war activism of her son Gene, was published in the October 1966 issue of McCall’s magazine. Charlotte’s other son happens to be the quote and phrase maven Ralph Keyes. He noted in his excellent book The Quote Verifier (2006) that his mother saw the phrase “Suppose they gave a war and nobody came” in a 1961 letter to the editor in The Washington Post, written by James R. Newman. Newman was referencing, but apparently misremembering, Sandburg’s line. Charlotte cut out and kept the letter for future reference and later adapted the title of her article from it. Newman may or may not have coined “Suppose they gave a war and nobody came.” That paraphrase of Sandburg may already have been floating around at the time. However, I found no use of those words dated earlier than Newman’s 1961 letter in any newspaper archive or anywhere else online. So, he may deserve credit for creating the Sixties slogan (though perhaps inadvertently.) 
       Another variation, “What If They Gave a War and No One Came,” surfaced in 1968 as the title of a song by the now forgotten "Symphonopop" composer and musician
Jonna Gault. And, in 1972, poet Allen Ginsberg echoed her version in his 1972 poem “Graffiti,” which included the lines “What if someone gave a war & Nobody came? / Life would ring the bells of Ecstasy and Forever be Itself again.”


“What if they gave a debate and nobody came?”
       Brad Knickerbocker
       Staff writer and editor for the Christian Science Monitor 
       His humorous question
in an article about the December 2011 Republican “debate” hosted by Donald Trump, which all but two Republican presidential candidates declined to participate in. (Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were the only candidates who agreed to appear.)


“What if You Took Viagra and Nobody Came?” 
       Double entendre title of
an article in the Jan.-Feb. 1999 issue of Mother Jones magazine
       The tongue-in-cheek article discussed some non-drug alternatives to Viagra, such as an artificial nylon-polypropylene penis, penile implant surgery — or a Corvette.

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