Writer’s Workshop: Some Quotes

Well, thanks to a monumental screw-up (I should know better than to try and figure out what day it is without looking at a calendar), the post I thought I had scheduled for today went out yesterday.

So I decided to do another of the prompts, where I share a favorite quote or two, or who knows how many…

  1. Au pays des aveugles, les borgnes sont rois.” (“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed are kings.”) Just an interesting thought. Our email system at work, which was mainframe-based (to show how long ago this was) had a space to put in a message to send back when someone sent you an email. Obviously, the intention was for you to put in something like “Thank you, I will get back to you soon” or “I’m on vacation, I’ll respond when I get back,” but we all had different ideas. This was mine, and I frequently got a second note from people asking “that quote is weird. What does it mean?” I’d explain it to them, and they’d be even more confused.
  2. “I am the author! You are the audience! I outrank you!” Spoken by Franz Liebkind, author of the play Springtime For Hitler, the play at the center of the movie The Producers (the original, with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, not the remake with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick). I sometimes said this when I was training people and someone decided to express his (typically negative) opinion about how the software worked.
  3. “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss other people.” I used this quote in a comment I made on someone else’s blog. It’s true, too.
  4. “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.” Usually when someone does something stupid and ends up paying the consequences.
  5. “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!” From the classic episode of WKRP in Cincinnati where Arthur “Big Guy” Carlson, head of the station, comes up with the brilliant idea of dropping turkeys from a helicopter as a promotional stunt.
  6. “‘You’re an idiot to be out in this weather, according to a journalist out in this weather’ is my favorite journalism genre.” Saw this on Twitter and thought it was hilarious.
  7. “Ho Ho Ho! Got a dirty joke for Santa?” and “Santa’s got to see a man about a reindeer.” I was once asked to portray Santa Claus in a series of telephone messages announcing a “Christmas In July” promotion for our customer support representatives. They actually had me dress as Santa for a couple of live events (do you know just how hot a Santa Claus costume is in the middle of summer in the South?). Anyway, the good news is that, for the phone messages, I got to write the scripts, and these two lines found their way into the messages.

I participate in a blog hop called One-Liner Wednesday every week, where I usually use a quote for my contribution. Stop by sometime!

What’s Going On Here

Haven’t posted anything all day, and I’m not especially certain what to talk about. Let’s see…


While I’m quite happy with Ubuntu on my laptop, the thought occurred to me that, no matter what they say, I should be entitled to a Windows 10 upgrade, even though I no longer have a Windows machine. So, I asked about it today on their forum, and haven’t heard back from them. Maybe I should take it as a sign. My biggest concern is that I’ll get questions about it from people I know who install it and can’t find anything and can’t do anything, and I’m really not the sort to shrug my shoulders and say “beats me.”


There’s one specific Windows program that I like to run, Solitude for Windows, written by Dave Bernazzini. It’s a collection of 91 different solitaire games, great for killing time when I’ve finished everything I need to do for the day. To run it, I use wine, a program that allows me to run Windows programs on either Linux or Mac OS X. It’s a Windows emulator, although they tell you the name means “wine is not an emulator.” If you’re like me, and have Windows programs you’d like to run on Mac or Linux, give it a try. They might not work, but then, they might. Anyway, I installed both today on Ubuntu, which works a little differently than it did under earlier releases, but I’ll figure it out.


Amazing the things you think about in the middle of the night when you wake up and can’t get back to sleep. I woke up last night and started thinking about this aphorism, and it started to bother me. I found the quote (attributed variously to Berkeley Breathed, Tim Robbins, and Dr. Wayne Dyer) on Brainy Quote, along with a number of others that I think are more appropriate. What do you think of these instead?

  • It’s never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot
  • It’s never too late – never too late to start over, never too late to be happy. – Jane Fonda
  • It’s never too late, in fiction or in life, to revise. – Nancy Thayer

Anyone else have any ideas?

The Friday Five: Five movie quotes


Special bonus this week! You get both a Thursday Ten and a Friday Five!

Mary and I rarely go to the movies anymore. For one thing, even the bargain matinee is close to $10 apiece now, and concessions can run another $20. That’s a lot of money for a bargain matinee. I shudder to think what teens pay on the weekends. For another, I have a hard time getting out of theater seats, which are built close to the floor and have this tendency to move when I try and use the back to brace myself so I can stand up. And finally, there isn’t much of anything that appeals to us at the movies. Movies with a lot of special effects and violence don’t do it for us anymore, and that’s just about every movie nowadays. If there’s a movie we really, really want to see, we can wait until it comes to Netflix or one of the other online services. So far, there hasn’t been one.

There are a few movies that we love, or at least one of us loves, and on occasion we speak to each other in dialogue from the movie, or at least quote one of the lines from that movie. These are five of our favorites.


Dumb and Dumber might have been the dumbest movies I’ve seen, which means I thought it was hilarious. This is from a scene where Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels, who in my opinion upstaged Carrey) are in a diner, placing their order with a waitress named Flo (and can’t stop cracking up, obviously remembering Polly Holliday in Alice). Lloyd wants to appear sophisticated, and this is the dialogue.


Double Take starred Orlando Jones (from Mad TV) and Eddie Griffin (from Malcolm and Eddie), a movie in which Daryl (Jones) assumes the identity of Freddy (Griffin) to avoid the police and get to Mexico. At one point, the two of them are in a hotel room, and Freddy starts talking about how the FBI and the CIA were coming to get them. He sees a Pepsi truck roll in to the parking lot, and he starts going crazy. Any time we see a Pepsi truck on the street now, we have to use the line.


I have two quotes from Wag The Dog, starring Robert DeNiro, Anne Heche, and Dustin Hoffman. It was such a good movie, we actually paid to see it twice. In the movie, the President of the United States has been caught in a compromising position, so to divert attention, his handlers (DeNiro and Heche) decide they will tell the nation that the country is now at war with Albania. In fact, it isn’t, but it makes a great story. They hire Stanley Motss (Hoffman) to produce the war for them. Naturally, it’s a comedy of errors, with plans going sideways all the time, and every time they do, Motss says this.


Every war needs a hero, of course, and they contact the Army to loan them a hero. When the hero, Sgt. Schumann (Woody Harrelson), is brought to them, he’s accompanied by two MP’s who have him in chains. Apparently, Schumann is a psychotic who’s been put in Leavenworth for raping a nun, and needs to be medicated heavily so he’ll behave himself. Winifred (Heche) is beside herself with worry, so Motss tries to reassure her with this conversation.

Interesting thing about the movie: when it came out in 1997, everyone assumed that it was about Bill Clinton, who was going through some serious scandals at the time. However, the book by Larry Beinhart identifies George Bush Senior as the president, and the DeNiro character is Lee Atwater, former RNC chairman.


Every writer should print this out and put it on their bulletin board, and, whenever some particularly harsh criticism comes in, they need to remind themselves of this. This was in the original The Producers that starred Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder as two Broadway producers who hatch a plot to put on the worst possible musical so they can keep the money they raised after the show flops. They land on a script for “Springtime For Hitler,” written by Third Reich veteran Franz Liebkind (Kenneth Mars), who doesn’t appreciate the audience laughing at his play.

There are loads of lines from movies that will probably make their way into future movie quotes posts. My favorite movie, A Hard Day’s Night, starring The Beatles and Wilfrid Brambel, could supply an entire post by itself. But that’ll do for this week. The image quotes were created on Quozio.com, by the way.

And that’s your Friday Five for August 7, 2015.

From My Bulletin Board

Saw this on someone’s LiveJournal years ago (I think before the stroke, in fact) and posted it on the bulletin board in my office. I saw it there today and thought, yeah, that’s worth sharing.

It does not matter where you are in life or what your circumstances are, you always have a choice. You may not like the choice. You may have made so many unconscious choices you will have to make some really difficult choices to get to a better place. But you always have a choice.

You are here, in this place, at this time, doing this thing, living this life, because of all the choices you made up to now.

Do you want your life to be different?

Pay attention to what you are choosing.

Penny for your thoughts…?

Ten Inspirational Quotes from Abraham Lincoln


This week, as with last, I’m going to share something that I found online. When I saw it, I thought you would like and appreciate reading yourselves.

This week’s Thursday Ten comes to us from Matt O’Keefe from Lifehack.org: 10 Powerful Things Abraham Lincoln Said That Will Inspire Your Life. The more I learn about this nation’s 16th President, the more impressed I am with him. Enjoy!