Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

As in the previous post, I seem to be reflecting on aging a bit these days. I was watching the documentary, “Monty Python – Almost the Truth”, and Terry Gilliam had a wonderful observation about aging and Monty Python getting back together again. I tried to search for the quote but having failed in my quest, I did find another that I particularly liked. In part, because I have noticed that people my age, especially males, seem to be getting less tolerant as we put on the years. I find it offensive when people share material they find on the internet that is either racist, homophobic, misogynistic, or just plain gross. And it seems to be from people who, in the past, were much more open. It is sad in many ways.

This little recipe for aging is, in my opinion, is something to aspire to as we grow older.

“Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess:

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.

Margot Benary-Isbert


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The law of averages doesn’t look good for me. The last time I was in a vehicle crash was over 30 years ago. But I came close a couple of days ago.

I was stopped at a light at a downtown intersection. It was a three lane road and I was sitting in the far right lane. There was a semi on my left so I really couldn’t see in that direction. The light turned green for us and I started out. I just caught it in the corner of my eye but from the left a van was running the red. I hit the brakes as hard as I could and stopped. On recollection, the next instant was very calm. There was no fear, no panic – I just remember thinking, “I am going to get hit”. At that point, the van swerved around me and kept going. Even though it probably about 2 seconds, I could tell you that it was a later model, grey Chevy mini-van with a blue handicapped sticker hanging from the mirror. It was a very surreal experience – one that I don’t particularly want to repeat. I guess I just have to keep defying the odds.

As George Carlin used to point out; “Here’s a phrase that apparently the airlines simply made up: near miss. They say that if 2 planes almost collide, it’s a near miss. Bullshit, my friend. It’s a near hit! A collision is a near miss. [WHAM! CRUNCH!] “Look, they nearly missed!” “Yes, but not quite.”

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A couple of days ago, I picked up a couple of prescriptions from our pharmacy. As the pharmacist went to give me my medications, she suddenly stopped and went into the back with one of my containers. She returned and said she had to replace the snap cap on the vial with a child-proof one. I laughed at this and told her that my youngest child turns 20 this month and I wasn’t too worried about child-proofing my medication – especially since my daughter works part-time as a pharmacy assistant.

The pharmacist said that if it was no problem if I wanted just the snap cap. And then she caught me by surprise and said they could change all my prescriptions to snap caps from here on in once I signed a waiver. Excuse me, you want me to sign a waiver so they would not be liable if a child gets into my medication, even though there isn’t a child in the house. She was a bit embarrassed but explained it was not her choice but something their head office required. So rather than educating people to properly store their medications and to teach their children they shouldn’t touch prescriptions, it is no problem as long as we don’t sue.

Ah, modern life.

“Common sense is not so common.” * Voltaire, Dictionnaire Philosophique (1764)

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Every so often I run into a quote that causes me to stop and reflect on the words.

I am currently reading William Manchester‘s first volume of his biography of Winston Churchill – The Last Lion.

In the section of the book concerning home rule for Ireland, Manchester uses a quote from Nietzsche that stopped me in my tracks.

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Friedrich Nietzsche

That one sent shivers down my spine.

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Driving Quote

I am still coming down from my driving trip back East. I am going to have to do more of that. It was fun.

A number of years ago, I was lucky enough to attend an advanced driving course courtesy of Ford (I guess if you buy enough vehicles from them … ). The main instructor was a racing driver of note (at least I had heard of him). The course involved practice on a skid pad, vehicle handling and accident crash avoidance. As the instructor phrased it – an accident implies there was no one at fault. In real life, this doesn’t happen very often.

As I was driving into work this morning, I was reminded of the quote he used at the start of the course;

“We teach people how to operate a vehicle – we don’t teach them how to drive”

So, to the young woman in the Corolla this morning who was tailgating, not using her signals, switching lanes with no warning and speeding in the middle of rush hour, one thought – “karma’s a bitch”.

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I feel very fortunate to play music with a couple of good songwriters. And I am quite proud of the fact that most of the music we play is original. Will I be able to retire playing original music? Not very likely – but there is something satisfying in knowing the music we play is our own.

Both Don and Jim have been after me to write a song of my own. I have contributed to a couple of theirs but so far nothing has burst forth. One of the issues I find when I try and write is I have followed music for such a long time and every time I think of a lyric, I almost immediately think of someone else who has done it before.

In mulling this over a couple of days ago, I started thinking of memorable lyrics I have encountered over the years. So maybe in a fit of purging, here are some lyrics that I thought were well done (and hopefully will lead to some of my own).

In no particular order:

“Does any one know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours”

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – Gordon Lightfoot on ‘Summertime Dream’

“and if you could see inside me, I don’t think you’d have me here”

Crucifiction Lane – Procol Harum on ‘A Salty Dog’

“Do you simply reflect changes in the patterns of the sky,
Or is it true to say the weather heeds the twinkle in your eye?
Do you fight the rush of winter; do you hold snowflakes at bay?
Do you lift the dawn sun from the fields and help him on his way?”

“Good morning Weathercock: make this day bright.
Put us in touch with your fair winds.
Sing to us softly, hum evening’s song.
Point the way to better days we can share with you.”

Weathercock – Jethro Tull on ‘Heavy Horses’

“I’ll tell you this
No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn”

The Wasp (Texas Radio and the Big Beat) – The Doors on ‘L.A. Woman’

“A one way ticket’s in my hand
Heading for the chosen land
My troubles will all turn to sand
When I get to the border
Salty girl with the yellow hair
Waiting in that rocking chair
And if I’m weary I won’t care
When I get to the border”

When I Get to the Border – Richard and Linda Thompson on ‘I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight’

“All across the city’s heart the lights were coming on
The hotel lift softly hummed a Cole Porter song
If I went to look for him I knew he would be gone
A picture-card of yesterday
A photograph of yesterday”

Modern Times – Al Stewart on ‘Modern Times’

“I came home to find the lights all burning bright

And I was feeling good inside, a friend had seen through the night

And you know that thing that hits you

When you realize you’ve thrown it far too high

And as I call your name around the place

Silence is a very loud reply”

For The Second Time – Ian Matthews on ‘The Soul of Many Places’

“Such a long long time to be gone

and a short time to be there”

Box of Rain – Grateful Dead on ‘American Beauty’

“I am the entertainer, I’ve come to do my show
You’ve heard my latest record, it’s been on the radio
It took me years to write it, they were the best years of my life
It was a beautiful song but it ran too long
If you’re gonna have a hit you gotta make it fit
So they cut it down to 3:05”

The Entertainer – Billy Joel on ‘Streetlife Serenade’

“This old world may never change
The way it’s been
And all the ways of war
Can’t change it back again

 I’ve been searchin’
For the dolphins in the sea
And sometimes I wonder
Do you ever think of me”

 The Dolphins – Fred Neil on ‘Fred Neil’

Wow – I was just getting started. I could put down a lot, lot more.

No wonder I am having troubles with my own …

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“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

Oscar Wilde

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