Quote Origin: I Admire and Crave Competence In Any Field From Adultery to Zoology

H. L. Mencken? Alistair Cooke? Apocryphal? Question for Quote Investigator: A prominent journalist once celebrated the display of competence in any discipline from A to Z by saying something like the following: I admire and crave competence, just simple competence, in any field from adultery to zoology. The statement has been attributed to the famous …

Quote Origin: Behave Like a Duck, Stay Calm On the Surface But Paddle Like Crazy Underneath

Michael Caine? Raymond Clapper? Stephen Tallents? Bing Crosby? Japanese Saying? Anonymous? Question for Quote Investigator: The following memorable advice uses a vivid simile: Behave like a duck—keep calm and serene on the surface but paddle like crazy underneath. British actor Michael Caine has received credit for this saying. Would you please explore the provenance of …

Quote Origin: All Art Is Propaganda

Upton Sinclair? W. E. B. Du Bois? George Orwell? George Bernard Shaw? Ann Petry? Morris Edmund Speare? Richard Hunt? Ludwig Lewisohn? Edmund Wilson? Anonymous? Question for Quote Investigator: Advocates often extoll their visions with strong-willed certainty. Insistent artists are accused of preaching and propagandizing. Yet, this criticism is sometimes provocatively embraced. Here are three assertions: …

Quote Origin: If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade

Elbert Hubbard? Dale Carnegie? Julius Rosenwald? Robert M. Hutchins? Anonymous? Question for Quote Investigator: In the early 1900s the slang expression “handed a lemon” emerged. It referred to experiencing a setback or failure.  The term “lemon” meant  something which was bad, undesirable, or sub-standard. A humorous expression evolved as a counterpoint. Here are two versions: …

Quote Origin: Basically Dogs Think Humans Are Nuts

John Steinbeck? Charley? Apocryphal? Question for Quote Investigator: A U.S. novelist who won a Nobel Prize in Literature apparently once said that “dogs think humans are nuts”, and occasionally dogs display a look of “amazed contempt”. These thoughts have been attributed to John Steinbeck. Would you please help me to find a citation? Reply from …

Quote Origin: There Is No Bad Weather, Only Inappropriate Clothing

Elisabeth Woodbridge? Charlotte V. Gulick? Ranulph Fiennes? Alfred Wainwright? Anonymous? Question for Quote Investigator: With the proper clothing a person is capable of adapting to almost any type of weather. Here is an adage reflecting this attitude: There is no bad weather, only bad clothing. Would you please explore the provenance of this saying? Reply …

Quote Origin: No Such Thing As Bad Weather, But Only Different Kinds of Pleasant Weather

John Ruskin? Ettrick Shepherd? Christopher North? John Wilson? Elisabeth Woodbridge? George Gissing? John Lubbock? Anonymous? Question for Quote Investigator: Cold, wet, and windy weather is often considered unsatisfactory, but several thinkers contend that there is no such thing as bad weather. All weather is pleasant when examined from the appropriate perspective. Precipitation and fluctuating temperatures …

Quote Origin: Time Is the Coin of Your Life. It Is the Only Coin You Have

Carl Sandburg? Ralph McGill? Apocryphal? Question for Quote Investigator: It is too easy to waste time on frivolous, foolish, or self-destructive pursuits. Apparently, a prominent literary figure once equated time to a valuable coin which each person must spend wisely. Would you please help me find the correct phrasing and a citation? Reply from Quote …

Quote Origin: Definition of a Classic—Something That Everybody Wants To Have Read and Nobody Wants To Read

Mark Twain? Caleb Thomas Winchester? Frank Norris? Otto F. Ege? Apocryphal? Question for Quote Investigator: Classic works of literature are sometimes difficult or tedious to read. Apparently, a humorist once said something like the following: (1) Definition of a classic—something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read. (2) A classic is …

Quote Origin: One of the Great Mistakes Is to Judge Policies and Programs by Their Intentions Rather Than Their Results

Milton Friedman? Apocryphal? Question for Quote Investigator: Economic policies are typically promulgated and enacted with high purposes and goals, yet sometimes the results are inadvertently deleterious. A prominent economist once said: One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results. These words have been credited to …