April 10, 2022

“The shot heard round the world.”



“The shot heard round the world.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
       American poet, essayist and lecturer
       This famous line is from Emerson’s poem commonly called the “Concord Hymn.” (Full title: ““Hymn: Sung at the Completion of the Concord Monument.”)It’s the last line of the first verse:
“By the rude bridge that arched the flood, 
              Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled, 
              Here once the embattled farmers stood 
              And fired the shot heard round the world.”

       Emerson wrote the poem in 1836 for a ceremony to celebrate the completion of a monument to the American “Minutemen” who fought at
the Battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. These skirmishes between rebellious Americans and British troops on April 19, 1775 are generally regarded as the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
       That morning, some 700 British Army regulars were marching through Lexington toward Concord to confiscate an illegal weapons arsenal stored there by the Massachusetts militia. When the “Redcoats” got to Lexington, their way was blocked by about 80 local militiamen. British Major John Pitcairn ordered the Americans to disperse, which they actually began to do. Then, suddenly, someone fired a shot. Nobody knew who it was. But, when it rang out, both sides started firing at each other and the American Revolution was underway. 
       At the official dedication of the Concord Monument on July 4, 1837, Emerson’s poem was sung to the tune of a hymn called
“The Old Hundredth,” a.k.a. “The Old 100th” or “The Old Hundred.” (Hence the use of the word “hymn” in the title.)
       His memorable phrase “the shot heard round the world” created a phrase formula that has since been used to refer to various other things that generate wide attention or notoriety. The lists things said to have been heard or seen “round the world” or “around the world” are enormous. You can see more than a million examples that use “heard” in the posts shown in the Google search at this link. You can see over a million examples using “seen” in the posts at this link. Undoubtedly, there will be many more in the future. (For more background on the Emerson quote, see the post on my This Day in Quotes blog here.)


“What bothered me most, after The Slap Seen Around the World, was how the giants of Black Hollywood immediately circled to protect Will Smith...Will anyone famous who stood and applauded Smith after his acceptance speech be asked to explain their actions? Will the Academy or Oscarcast producers explain why they allowed someone to hit a performer — a friend sent me a text joking that Ricky Gervais is lucky he’s not still hosting the Golden Globes — and then collect an award?”             
Eric Deggans
       NPR TV critic and author
Deggans named actor Will Smith’s controversial public assault on comedian Chris Rock “The Slap Seen Around the World” in a post on the NPR website the day after actor Smith’s gave an open-handed sucker punch to Chris Rock at the March 27, 2022 Academy Awards. The words Smith yelled at Rock after the slap are at least a temporarily famous quotation: “Keep my wife's name out your f***ing mouth!”



“The divorce heard round the world.”
Perez Hilton
       American celebrity news blogger and “television personality”
       This was
Hilton’s description of “reality star” Kim Kardashian’s 2013 divorce from NBA player Kris Humphries. The divorce came just ten weeks after their obscenely lavish, apparently made-for-TV wedding brought joy to the hearts of millions of celebrity-obsessed people—and to the pocketbooks of TV shows and tabloid magazines and websites that cover such stuff, like Hilton’s site.


“The brain fart heard round the world.”
       Jon Stewart
       American comedian and host of The Daily Show
       Stewart’s description, in a November 2011 episode
The Daily Show, of Rick Perry’s “oops moment” during the November 9, 2011 Republican presidential candidate debate, when Perry said he would abolish three federal agencies if elected but was unable to name all three. Some commentators called it “the oops moment heard round the world.”


“The blooper heard round the world.”
       TIME magazine’s, October 18, 1976
       This was the headline of a TIME article about the huge gaffe made by President Gerald Ford during the October 6, 1976 presidential debate with Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter. During a part of the debate about the Soviet Union, Ford claimed “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.” In fact, the Soviet Union clearly dominated a number of countries in Eastern Europe at the time, including East Germany, Yugoslavia, Rumania and Poland. The remark made Ford seem clueless about international politics. He later admitted he’d misspoken. Carter won the election.

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March 20, 2022

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”


“A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
        Advertising tagline used by the United Negro College Fund since 1972
        The slogan was coined in 1971 by Forest Long, an executive with the Young & Rubicam ad agency. The campaign using the slogan was launched in earnest in 1972. It has helped raise more than $2.2 billion and helped more than 350,000 minority students graduate from college.
        Over the decades, it has also sparked many serious and humorous variations. Some of my faves are shown below.


“A pandemic is a terrible thing to waste. There’s some good things that have come out of that; we can work remote two or three days a week and we can have flexible schedules. It's not 8 to 5.”                
       Phil Blair
       Co-owner of Manpower Staffing Services of San Diego
       In an interview on in March 2022      


“A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”
        Paul Romer
        American economist
        Romer is credited with coining this saying in a 2004 venture capital meeting in California.
        It was picked by and recycled in various ways by other economic and political observers. The best-known political use was by Rahm Emanuel, when he was Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama. In a soon widely-quoted interview at a Wall Street Journal CEO Council forum on November 19, 2008, Emanuel said: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. What I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.” Rahm was speaking about the 2008 bank crisis in particular, but said the principle should also be applied to other areas facing serious problems, such as health care, energy, and education.


The Sheriff of Rottingham (actor Roger Rees) “Kill him!” [Referring to a mime who tried to entertain him and Prince John at a banquet.]
Prince John (actor Richard Lewis): “You know, a mime is a terrible thing to waste.”
The Sheriff: “ Let him go.”
        In the movie Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), directed by Mel Brooks and co-written by him, Evan Chandler and J. David Shapiro.


Ouiser Boudreaux (actress Shirley MacLaine): “A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
        In the movie Steel Magnolias (1989)


“Compost...Because a Rind is a Terrible Thing to Waste!”
        Title of a composting manual by Jean Bonhotal and Karen Rollo, published by the Cornell Waste Management Institute (1996)


“A Mustache Is A Terrible Thing To Shave”
        A humorous slogan used by the American Mustache Institute


“A penis is a terrible thing to waste.”
        Howard Stern
        American radio and TV show host
        Stern used this line for a controversial fundraising effort on behalf of John Bobbit (whose penis had been cut off by his wife Lorena) as part of Stern’s New Year’s Rotten Eve Pageant in 1994. Stern was indeed supportive of John at the time, though many observers now view him as an abusive husband who pushed Lorena to her breaking point. (Portrait of Stern by the great Drew Friedman.)


“When you take the UNCF model that, what a waste it is to lose one’s mind, or not to have a mind is being very wasteful, how true that is.”
        Dan Quayle
        Republican politician who served as Vice President of the United States under George Bush (1989-1993)
        Quayle became notorious for his malapropisms. He uttered this mangled version of the UNCF slogan at a United Negro College Fund event on May 9, 1989. It quickly became one of the most-cited “Quaylisms” and, among other things, inspired the title of the unauthorized “autobiography” of Quayle, What a Waste It Is to Lose One’s Mind.

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February 24, 2022

Why laws, iPads, writing and porn are like sausages…



“Laws are like sausages. It’s better not to see them being made.”
       Traditionally attributed to
Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898)
       German statesman
       Bismarck is
widely credited with this old political saw, sometimes in the form “If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.”
       However, as noted by authoritative sources like the
Quote Investigator site, there’s no proof Bismarck ever uttered or penned either variation. It appears to be a famous misquote that has been wrongly attributed to him for decades.
Many websites cite a quote by the 19th Century American poet John Godfrey Saxe as a possible origin. In an 1869 lecture, Saxe said: “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.” However, Saxe’s version seems to imply that his audience was already familiar with the basic “laws are like sausages…” formulation.



“iPads are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made....We in the West don’t really seem to care that Chinese employees work under awful conditions and die in appalling numbers — unless they make shiny things that we use. We claim we don’t want people to suffer, but in fact we just don’t want our iProducts tainted by that suffering. Isn’t that more than a little hypocritical?”
Jon Evans
       Canadian novelist, journalist and software engineer
       Discussing recent revelations about the brutal working conditions of Chinese workers who make iPads and other Apple products,
in his column on the TechCrunch.com site


“Writing is like sausage making in my view; you’ll all be happier in the end if you just eat the final product without knowing what’s gone into it.”
George R.R. Martin
       American author and screenwriter, known especially for his A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels (the basis for HBO’s Game of Thrones series)
       Remark to his fans
in a June 2009 post on his “Not a Blog” blog


“In defending their work, members of Congress love to repeat a quotation attributed to Otto von Bismarck: ‘If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.’...In many ways, that quotation is offensive to sausage makers; their process is better controlled and more predictable.”
       Robert Pear

       American journalist
       In an article he wrote for The New York Times in December 2010


“Sex Pigs: Why Porn is Like Sausage, or the Truth is That – Behind the Scenes – Porn Is Not Very Sexy.”
Benjamin Scuglia
       L.A.-based writer and editor of Inside Porn Magazine
       Title of
a widely-cited article he wrote for the Journal of Homosexuality in 2004

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January 7, 2022

“We don’t need no stinking badges!” (Or badgers!)


“Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!” 
       Alfonso Bedoya, as the Mexican bandit “Gold Hat”
       In the classic film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which was released in the U.S. on January 7, 1948               
       Contrary to what many people think, the famous quote about “stinking badges” in the movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is not “We don’t need no stinking badges!” That’s a comic paraphrase of the words spoken in the film.
       The movie’s famous lines are from a tense scene in which three American gold prospectors, played by Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt, are confronted by a group of heavily-armed Mexicans in a remote area of Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains. The character who is the leader of the Mexicans, called “Gold Hat” in the credits, is played by Alfonso Bedoya.
       He tells the prospectors: “We are federales. You know, the mounted police.”
       Bogart says skeptically: “If you’re the police, where are your badges?”

       Bedoya sneeringly responds
: “Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!” 
In the 1927 book by B. Traven that inspired the film, Gold Hat’s answer is: “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabron and ching’ tu madre.”


“Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!”
Mickey Dolenz 
       In a 1967 episode of The Monkees TV show (Season 2, Episode 1)
       “We don’t need no stinking badges!” was made world famous when it was used in the 1974 Mel Brooks film Blazing Saddles. But that was not the first use.
      In the Monkees episode
“It’s A Nice Place To Visit,” originally aired on September 11, 1967, Mickey and two of his Monkees bandmates, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith, dress up as Mexican bandits to save their singer Davy Jones from a “real” Mexican bandit. Before they leave to find Davy, Michael Nesmith says: “Wait a minute, don’t you think maybe we oughtta take something out with us, like a club card or some badges?”
      Mickey replies with a heavy Mexican accent: “Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!”


“Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!” 
Rick Garcia, playing a Mexican bandit 
       In the movie Blazing Saddles (1974)
       This is the use that popularized those famed words and made it common for people to say “we don’t need no stinking [whatever]” as a joking comment about almost anything. The lines come in a scene in which the corrupt State Attorney General Hedley Lamarr, played by Harvey Korman, gives a sheriff’s badge to one of his Mexican bandit henchmen, played by Rick Garcia. Hedley says: “Be ready to attack Rock Ridge at noon tomorrow. Here’s your badge.”

       Garcia throws the badge away and sneers
: “Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!”


“Badgers? Badgers? We don’t need no stinking badgers.”  
Trinidad Silva, playing TV show host Raul Hernandez
       In the 1989 “Weird Al” Yankovic movie UHF 
       The character Raul Hernandez is the host of a low-budget show about animals called “Raul’s Wild Kingdom” in this gonzo movie.
During one scene, a truck pulls up outside his house to deliver some new animals. The driver reads Raul a list of the animals in the shipment — which include three badgers.
       Bogart says skeptically: Raul responds with an homage to the Monkees/Blazing Saddles quote by saying: “Badgers? Badgers? We don’t need no stinking badgers.”


       In a cartoon about Noah and the ark by Alex Barker, on his
Cake or Death site

Lucinda Williams DUST album

“I don’t have catering, I don’t have limousines. I’ve got Buick 6! I don’t need no stinking limo!”
Lucinda Williams
       American rock, blues and country music singer and songwriter 
       A funny comment she made in
a January 2017 interview about her latest concert tour. Her backup band includes three musicians who play together under the name “Buick 6.” They are bass player David Sutton, drummer Butch Norton and guitarist Stuart Mathis.

We Don t Need No Stinkin Leashes tshirt

“We Don’t Need No Stinkin Leashes!”
      The slogan
on a T-shirt I bought on Amazon, which features an image of dog dressed like Alfonso Bedoya’s Mexican bandit “Gold Hat” in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

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October 19, 2021

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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