January 13, 2011

12 things to do “When in doubt…”


THE FAMOUS ORIGINAL QUOTE:

“When in doubt, win the trick.”
       Edmond Hoyle (1672-1769)
       British writer best known for books on card games
       This quotation has long been attributed to Hoyle and is included in many of the variously-titled editions of “the book of Hoyle” printed since 1790. It’s generally listed as Rule #12 in the Chapter “Whist: Twenty-Four Short Rules for Learners.” However, according to The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, the quip may actually have been an editorial addition by Charles Jones, the editor of the 1790 book Hoyle’s Games Improved, since it does not appear in earlier copies of Hoyle’s rules for whist.
 


JON STEWART’S RULE:

“When in doubt, don’t be douchey.”
       Jon Stewart
       Discussing the importance of civility in political discourse

       In a segment about the Rally to Restore Sanity on The Daily Show, October 12, 2010
 


CHAIRMAN MALCOLM’S ADVICE:

“When in doubt, duck,”
       Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990)
       Publisher of Forbes magazine
       Quoted in the book The Sayings of Chairman Malcolm: The Capitalist's Handbook (1978)


AL PACINO’S ADVICE:

“When in doubt, fuck.”
       Actor Al Pacino, playing the blind, retired Army officer Frank Slade
       Comment to his cat in the 1992 movie Scent of a Woman
 


THE FOUNDING FATHERS PLOY:

“When in doubt, in American politics, left, right, or center, deploy the Founding Fathers.”
       Jill Lepore
       Author and Professor of American History at Harvard University
       In her book The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle over American History (2010)
 


THE SEXY NAME PLOY:

“If you’re bad with names, don’t call out any during sex. It’s likely to get you into trouble...When in doubt, acknowledge them with saucy terms of endearment such as stud muffin, sugar, ooh baby, oh my god, hotness and such.”
       Midori “The Traveling Sexpert”
       In a post on the EdenFantasys.com website, January 03, 2011
 


THE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION SOLUTION:

“Just pick a resolution that you know you can stick to for a full year; when in doubt pick an easy one such as…never helping those in need, dieting when you are really skinny, and never running on the treadmill.”
       PNToday.com blogger Cody Carroll
       In his post “New Year’s Resolutions that are most likely to fail,” January 7, 2011
 


THE SELF INTEREST PRINCIPLE:

“When in doubt, bet on narrow ‘head in the sand’ self-interest.”
       Ian Ayres
       Professor of Law and Economics at Yale
       In a post on the Freakonomics blog, December 28, 2010
 


THE ANTI-SELF INTEREST PRINCIPLE:

“Remember: when in doubt, don’t ever do what you really want to do.”
       Actor Tim Robbins, as psychologist Nathan Bronfman
       In the 2001 movie Human Nature (2001)
 


BOREN’S GUIDELINES FOR BUREAUCRATS:

“Guidelines for bureaucrats: (1) When in charge, ponder.  (2) When in trouble, delegate.  (3) When in doubt, mumble.” 
       James H. Boren (1925-2010)
       Humorist, former U.S. Foreign Service Agency official and founder of the mythical International Association of Professional Bureaucrats  
       Originally used by Boren in an article in The New York Times, November 8, 1970 and popularized by his book When in Doubt, Mumble: A Bureaucrat's Handbook (1972).
 


JULIA’S GUIDELINE FOR COOKS:

“When in doubt, add more butter.”
       Julia Child (1912-2004) 
       Paraphrase of her advice in The French Chef Cookbook (1968)


MARK TWAIN’S MAXIM:

“When in doubt, tell the truth.” 
       Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens; 1835-1910)
       This is one of the best known of Twain’s slyly witty “Pudd’nhead Wilson” sayings. It’s featured at the top of Chapter 2 in his non-fiction travel book Following the Equator (1897).
       In a speech to the Whitefriars Club in London on June 20, 1899, Twain discussed this advice, saying: “I should be sorry to sit down without having said one serious word which you can carry home and relate to your children and the old people who are not able to get away. And this is just a little maxim which has saved me from many a difficulty and many a disaster, and in times of tribulation and uncertainty has come to my rescue, as it shall to yours if you observe it as I do day and night. I always use it in an emergency, and you can take it home as a legacy from me, and it is ‘When in doubt, tell the truth.’”

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