March 8, 2018

“From my cold, dead hands”

Charlton Heston, Cold Dead Hands speech-8x6

“From my cold, dead hands.”
       Charlton Heston
       American actor, ‘60s civil rights activist, President of the National Rifle Association from 1998 to 2003
       This is Heston’s famed catchphrase about gun rights, intended to mean that he and other gun owners would literally fight to the death to prevent the government from taking away their guns. It’s based on previous slogans used by gun rights groups as early as the mid-1970s. For example, an NRA bumper sticker Heston was well aware of said “I’ll give you my gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands.” However, Heston’s is the most famous (and infamous) use of “From my cold, dead hands.”              
       He first spoke the phrase in a notable public forum on April 29, 1989, at the NRA’s annual convention in St. Louis. Three months before that, on January 17, 1989, an unemployed welder named Patrick Edward Purdy, armed with a semi-automatic rifle, shot and killed five school children and wounded 32 others on the playground at the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California. This shocking and, at the time, still rare example of a mass school shooting generated a media firestorm and led to calls for state and federal action to ban assault weapons.
        In his remarks at the 1989 NRA convention, Heston argued that proposals for such bans were sparked by “media bias” against guns and would be unworkable, unacceptable infringements on the Second Amendment rights of American citizens. After making his speech, Heston was presented with a silver-and-gold plated replica of a flintlock rifle. Smiling happily, he held up the gun and said: “I have only one more comment to make: From my cold, dead hands.”
       Heston later used the words in other speeches at NRA events, usually as a closing line. One particularly high profile use was in the speech he gave at the NRA’s May 20, 2000 annual convention, which came during the 2000 presidential campaign and garnered considerable media attention. In that speech, Heston criticized Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore for his support of stronger gun control laws. At the end, holding the flintlock he was given in 1989, he said: “As we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those fighting words for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, Mr. Gore: ‘From my cold, dead hands!’”             
      The saying has continued to be a favorite slogan of gun rights advocates and a target of mockery by gun control advocates. It has also spawned numerous take-offs and variations involving things other than guns, as shown by the examples below.

John Oliver NRA Nutella segment

“The NRA: a group that feels about guns the way the rest of us feel about Nutella. A little is good, more is better, and you can tell me it’s bad for me all you like, but you will pry it from my cold, dead hands.”
       John Oliver

       Host of the HBO’s TV show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
       In a segment about the NRA and the NRA TV channel first aired on March 4, 2018

Charles Arthur, The Guardian

“It all adds up to one conclusion: the iPad is a success…So for those saying you'll never buy one, and that they’ll prise your laptop from your cold, dead hands — quite possibly. But lots of people around you will have iPads.”
        Charles Arthur

        Technology editor at The Guardian newspaper in London
        In a post on The Guardian Technology Blog on April 6, 2010

Proma Khosla, writer

“A study from the investment company Acorns has found that a surprisingly high percentage of Americans would skip the final Game of Thrones season in exchange for $1,000...As for us, you can pry Westeros away from our cold, dead hands.”
       Proma Khosla

       American entertainment reporter
       In an article posted on on February 27, 2018

Steve Yacht Excel quote

“You can have my excel, after you ripped it from my cold, dead hands.”
       Steven Yacht

       American Certified Public Accountant
       In a November 2017 Twitter comment responding to a Wall Street Journal article in which Adobe Inc.’s finance chief Mark Garrett suggested that accountants should stop using Microsoft Corp.’s Excel spreadsheet software because it “hasn’t kept up with the demands of contemporary corporate finance units”

Fat foods-8x6

“They’ll get my onion rings when they pry them from my cold, dead (possibly from a massive coronary) hands!”
       James Poniewozik

       American journalist and television critic
       In an article in the April 5, 2010 issue of Time magazine about the views of people who eat way too much fried food

K.E. Bevier, writer

“The Supreme Court needs to consider the lethality of modern weapons in any new restrictions, but Congress must give it something to work with. The slaughter continues, not because of the Second Amendment, but because Congress has split us into two camps: the first with paranoid visions of cold, dead hands wrapped around AR-15s, the second with childish dreams of a Pollyannaish utopia with no guns, perfect mental health and no explosives.”
       K.E. Bevier

       American writer
       In a letter to the Editor of the South Carolina newspaper The State, published on March 07, 2018

Comedy Central gun investment-8x6

“Laugh it up, gun control candy-asses. While your portfolio sinks deeper into the abyss, our savings plan is robust. Buying automatic weapons now will put our kids through college later. And unlike your pussified Roth IRA, when the jackbooted thugs kick in the doors to loot our weaponry...Let’s just say it won't be our cold dead hands opening next month’s depressing investment report.”
       Patrick Sauer

       American freelance writer and humorist             
       In a comment on a now apparently deleted video on the, which was a repost of Josh Gad’s June 2, 2009 segment on the Daily Show  about the fact that fears President Obama might ban assault weapons was driving up the price of such guns, making them a “good investment”

THE ONION, snarky Charlton Heston obit

“Charlton Heston’s Gun Taken From His Cold, Dead Hands.”
       The Onion

       The darkly humorous satirical news site             
       Headline above a photo of Heston holding a rifle at an NRA convention, posted on The Onion website on April 7, 2008, two days after his death

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February 23, 2018

“Never underestimate the power of a woman.”


“Never underestimate the power of a woman!” 
       A saying popularized by the Ladies Home Journal through its use as an slogan for the magazine and the headline of a recurring cartoon feature
       The Ladies Home Journal was first published in 1883 and has been in print ever since. The editors launched “Never underestimate the power of a woman”
as a promotional slogan in the March 1941 issue, which featured a painting of a ballerina on the cover.
       The editors didn’t use the term “power” exactly as it might be used today. It wasn’t meant to suggest that women have the power to be equal to men in all ways. It was used to mean that women are smarter than men in many ways and have a superior sense of morality. Thus, they have the power to point men “to the right decisions.”
       After being launched, the slogan was used for years in each issue as the headline of a cartoon feature. The cartoons demonstrated the power of women to set examples for men and guide them in the right direction.
       Interestingly, the March 1941 issue also had a full-page ad for Chesterfield cigarettes inside, showing that tobacco companies and their pre-Mad Men era ad agencies were at least eager to give women an equal right to smoke.


“Never underestimate a man’s ability to underestimate a woman.”
       Kathleen Turner
       American actress
       A quip she makes as the title character of the 1991 movie
V.I. Warshawski (based on the series of detective novels written by Sara Paretsky)


“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994) 
       American athlete who overcame leg damage from childhood polio and went on to
became an Olympic gold medalist
       This quote by Rudolph is
widely cited, though usually without any specific source or date. In his great book Neverisms, quote maven Dr. Mardy Grothe says it was a remark she made shortly after the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, during which she became the first American to win three track-and-field gold medals.


“Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.”
       Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988)
       American author best known for his science fiction stories and novels
       A quip from his time travel novel Time Enough for Love: the Lives of Lazarus Long (1973)


“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” 
       Brendan Bradley
       American actor     
       One of the 100 rules about life of his character Brad in the movie Friends (With Benefits) (2009)               


“Never underestimate the power of the human mind to believe what it wants to believe, no matter the conflicting evidence.”  
       A quote attributed to the fictional character Caedmon Erb in the sci-fi novel Dune: House Harkonnen (2001), written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
       (The image at left is the logo of The Flat Earth Society


“Never underestimate the human urge to look like a big-time operator, at least to the valet parking guy.”
       Jim Motavalli
       American journalist, speaker and book author
       In a post on the Mother Nature Network site about Hertz’s recent addition of pricey Tesla electric cars to its rental fleets in certain cities, to appeal to wealthy customers — and wannabe poseurs.

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February 13, 2018

“The definition of insanity...”

Albert Einstein - false insanity quote QCcom


“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
       Albert Einstein (1879–1955)
       German-born theoretical physicist
       A saying that is commonly – and wrongly – attributed to Einstein
       As noted by quotation scholars like Fred Shapiro (in the Yale Book of Quotations), Garson O’Toole (on his Quote Investigator site), and Barry Popik (on his Big Apple language site), there’s no evidence that Einstein ever wrote or said any such thing. It’s a misattribution.              
       The line has also been wrongly attributed to Benjamin Franklin and George Bernard Shaw
       The current evidence suggests that the saying is of anonymous origin and was originally popularized through its use in narcotics and alcohol addiction pamphlets and literature in the early 1980s. During that decade it was used and further popularized by several famous writers and celebrities, such as author Rita Mae Brown (in her 1983 book Sudden Death) and EST guru Werner Erhard (who used a version of it in a 1986 interview).             
       By the 1990s, it was being credited it to Einstein. Since then, the erroneous attribution to Einstein is the one most often repeated in books and online posts. It’s quite popular in graphic memes posted on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. 
       The use and reuse of false and misattributed quotes is frustrating and annoying to nerds like me who care about the accuracy of information about quotations. To me, the definition of inanity is reposting the same false, misattributed quotes over and over again in social media.



“How can someone be busy and not accomplish anything? Well, that’s the passion paradox. If the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results, then passion is a form of mental retardation...The critical work that you want to do will require your deliberation and consideration. Not passion.”
Ryan Holiday
       American author, marketer, and media strategist
       In a 2017 article on arguing that many people who follow the popular advice to find and pursue “your passion” often end up failing, because their “passion” is really just “self-absorption at the expense of reality.”

Josh Jonas


“Quantity itself is a quality, and it is a quality that is the missing ingredient in so many of the things that we want and that matter to us. Ted Williams was known to spend countless hours every day working to perfect his swing. A brilliant guitarist I know played scales every night in his room growing up until his fingers bled; I’m sure we all have many other examples. These guys were doing something repetitively expecting a different result; they were expecting to get better...Because doing something over and over is not the definition of insanity. It’s the description of pursuing mastery.”
Josh Jonas
       Associate Director at The Village Institute for Psychotherapy in Manhattan
       In a post on his “Life Lessons” website

Jill Stark


“If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, Australia’s war on drugs is madness in its purest form. ‘Just say no’ has been an abject failure. The law enforcement approach has not deterred users, nor has it made communities safer. It has only put lives at risk.”
       Jill Stark
       Australian author, journalist and human rights activist             
       An observation in her 2017 opinion piece on the Australian news and culture site that seems to apply equally well to the “Drug War” in the U.S.

Harry Hurt III


“One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. But what do you call it if you do the same thing over and over, and keep achieving different results? Is that sanity? And what do you call it when cancer kills a close friend and that hits you a whole lot harder than the fact that tens of thousands of people you don't know were killed in wars? Is that tough luck? Or just more of the same old life and death?”
Harry Hurt III
       American author and journalist              
       Lines from the opening paragraph of his interesting thought piece “Is Anybody Necessary? Dr. Ying and the Four Noble Truths,” in the New York Times, January 14, 2006

Bradley Tusk


“If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, then it’s clear we need a different approach to how we govern, how we make decisions, and how we evaluate the world. Even though the world, on the whole, offers people far more rights and resources than ever before, when every bad thing that happens anywhere is put in front of all of us every minute of the day, it’s hard to feel anything but insecure. When our leaders only react rather than set an agenda and follow through on it (including negotiating and compromising), things only get worse.”
       Bradley Tusk
       American businessman, political strategist, and writer
       Commenting on how the constant barrage of negative social media posts on sites like Twitter and Facebook hurts the American public and our country’s political process in his column on

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January 27, 2018

“Money can’t buy love.”

Beatles Can't Buy Me Love 45


“Say you don’t need no diamond ring and I’ll be satisfied
Tell me that you want the kind of thing that money just can’t buy
I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love”

       The Beatles
       Lyrics from their 1964 song “Can’t Buy Me Love”
       The saying “Money can’t buy love” wasn’t coined by the Beatles. It had been floating around as far back as the late 1800s and is a linguistic offspring of the earlier proverbial saying “Money can’t buy happiness,” which dates back to the early 1700s.
       However, in more recent times, “Money can’t buy love” was popularized and made familiar to millions of people by the Beatles song “Can’t Buy Me Love.”             
       The lyrics and music were written by Paul McCartney. He also sang the vocal alone, making it the first Beatles recording without harmony vocals by the other band members (John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr). It was released as a single in March 1964 and included on the soundtrack album for the Beatles movie A Hard Day’s Night.



“Money don’t get everything it’s true
What it don’t get, I can’t use
Now give me money
That’s what I want.”

       Lyrics from the song “Money (That’s What I Want)”
       Writing credits for the song are credited to Motown founder Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford, who started out as a Motown receptionist. It was first recorded in 1959 by Janie’s friend Barrett Strong. His version became Motown’s first major hit song. Strong claimed he helped write the song and his name was originally included on the copyright registration. Three years later, after the song was being covered by various artists and Gordy realized it would continue to generate significant revenues, he had Barrett’s name removed from the copyright.
       Ironically, one of the groups that covered the song was the Beatles. Their version, with John Lennon singing lead vocal, was released as a single in 1963.

Randy Newman Born Again


“They say that money
Can’t buy love in this world
But it’ll get you a half-pound of cocaine
And a sixteen-year-old girl
And a great big long limousine
On a hot September night
Now that may not be love but it is all right.”
       Randy Newman
       American musician             
       In his satirical song “It’s Money That I Love,” included on his 1979 album Born Again.

Christpher Marlowe


“Money can’t buy love, but it improves your bargaining position.”
       Attributed (wrongly) to Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)
       English playwright and poet, also believed to have been a secret spy for Queen Elizabeth            
       This quip is credited to Marlowe by thousands of online posts and books. In fact, he never said it. The history of how it was erroneously attributed to Marlowe was traced by quote sleuth Garson O’Toole in a post on his great Quote Investigator site.
       O’Toole concluded that the remark is of anonymous origin and was in circulation in the 1950s. In 1977, Laurence J. Peter included it in one of the sets of sayings in his highly popular book Peter’s Quotations: Ideas for Our Time. It appeared in parentheses above an actual quotation by Marlowe. After that, someone mistakenly cited “Money can’t buy love, but it improves your bargaining position” as Marlowe’s line and the misattribution has lived on.

Lucie M. C. R. Guibault          


“Economists assume that money can buy love, contrary to the Beatles, and will respond that love and other ‘positive’ emotions can be quantified as having an infinite value and hence beat all other interests at stake. Misery can be compensated for with money, and courts do that on a daily basis.”
       Lucie Guibault
       Canadian legal expert and Associate Professor of Law at Dalhousie University
       A comment in a footnote of her book The Future of the Public Domain: Identifying the Commons in Information Law



“The only incurable troubles of the rich are the troubles that money can’t cure,
Which is a kind of trouble that is even more troublesome if you are poor.
Certainly there are lots of things in life that money won’t buy, but it’s very funny –
Have you ever tried to buy them without money?”

Ogden Nash (1902-1971)
       American poet and humorist
       In his poem
“The Terrible People,” which was first published in the February 11, 1933 issue of The New Yorker magazine and included in the book of Nash’s poems published later that year, Happy Days.
The poem mocks the way some rich people to downplay the advantages money gives them. It starts with the line “People who have what they want are very fond of telling people who haven't what they want that they really don't want it.”

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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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