Tag Archives: humor

George Jean Nathan on Patriotism

“Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.”

George Jean Nathan

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Memo to Groucho Viz Television from Goodman Ace

“[Of television) “We call it a medium because nothing’s well done.”

Goodman Ace, in a letter to Groucho Marx

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Devil’s Dictionary: Apologize

“Apologize, vi. To lay the foundation for a future offense.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000. 

The Algonquin Wits: Alexander Woollcott

“Woollcott enjoyed a close relationship with Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and occasionally visited them at the White House. In a letter to Mrs. Roosevelt, the purpose of which was to solicit the First Lady’s hospitality for an approaching vacation, he wrote: ‘I would like to come for a week or so. If you haven’t room for me, there are plenty of other places for me to go. I prefer yours.’”

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

Rotten Rejections: A Confederacy of Dunces

“A southern writer named John Kennedy Toole wrote a comic novel about life in New Orleans called A Confederacy of Dunces. It was so relentlessly rejected by publishers that he killed himself. That was in 1969. His mother refused to give up on the book. She sent it out and got it back, rejected, over and over again. At last she won the patronage of Walker Percy, who got it accepted by the Louisiana State University Press, and in 1980 it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.”

Excerpted from: Barnard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

George Bernard Shaw on Bourgeois Morality

“Bourgeois morality is largely a system of making cheap virtues a cloak of expensive vices.”

George Bernard Shaw

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Oddball Place Names

This list of oddball place names never failed to bring laughter to my classroom when I taught an advisory at an otherwise dismal middle school in the North Bronx.