Words, Words, Words


Polonius: What do you read, my lord?

Hamlet: Words, words, words.


Remember Hamlet? The play you read in high school. Or was it Macbeth? Let’s say it was Hamlet. Everyone knows and has seen Hamlet. In films or on television, he has been played by many actors (eg, Benedict Cumberpatch (see above), Laurence Olivier, Mel Gibson, Kenneth Branagh, etc.). Hamlet’s reply to Polonius’ question is possibly the second most famous quote from Shakespeare’s play. THE most famous? “To be or not to be”, of course.

Why begin this article with that quote? I love words. A well turned phrase sticks with me. It may be a bit of wisdom, humor, advice, or common sense (which isn’t so common). I keep a running list of my favorites –lucky for you. Here are some of my favorites. I hope one (or more) is memorable.


I can’t make everyone happy. I’m not bacon. (seen on a tee shirt)

So, if we lie to the government, it’s a felony. But if they lie to us, it’s politics. (Bill Murray)

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Humor is the anesthetic of the mind. (Trevor Noah)

When you grow up in Texas, you’re taught you’re a little bit bigger, a little bit better, a little bit tougher, and a little bit smarter than anybody else. It was rough on me when I got out in the world and found out I wasn’t. (Waylon Jennings)

Them that has, gets. And I ain’t got nothin’ yet. (Ray Charles)

Women are only good for 2 things: bringing Life into the world, and making it worthwhile. (old television show: Have Gun, Will Travel)

It’s always darkest before everything turns black. (Mark Shields)

There are only two seasons: Winter and baseball. (Bill Veeck)

I may not be flawless, but you know I have a diamond heart. (Lady Gaga)

Lake Wobegon: Where all the women are strong, all the men good looking, and all the children are above average. (Garrison Keillor)

I don’t care who dies in a movie, as long as the dog lives. (seen on a tee shirt)

A crisis is never a crisis until it’s validated by a disaster. (Rev. William Sloane Coffin, referring to the Vietnam War)

Just because an idea is crazy doesn’t mean it’s wrong. (scientist on Voyager project)

The secret to a long –81 years—marriage: I always let him have my way. (Woman on a television news show)

All wars are fought twice: on the battlefield and in our memory.   (Lynn Novick)

Books: Helping Introverts Avoid Conversation, Since 1454. (Signals.com)

In my defense, I was left unsupervised. (Signals.com)

I’m not arguing: I’m explaining why I’m right. (Signals.com)

In any struggle, the winner is not the one who can inflict the most punishment, but the one who can endure the most punishment. (Vietnam vet)

Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you. (Satchel Paige)

Sorry I’m late…I didn’t want to come. (seen on a tee shirt)

Slavery is woven through our society like a dark thread. (Bill Moyers)

Everything in American history led up to the Civil war or descended from it. (Ken Burns)

If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention. (Game of Thrones)

About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures above...it's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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