September 12

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Quotes of the day from previous years:

Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true. ~ Niels Bohr
The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition. ~ Carl Sagan
The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of the truth — that error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it has been cured of one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one. ~ H. L. Mencken (born 12 September 1880)
When I came back to my native country, after all the stories about Hitler, I couldn't ride in the front of the bus. I had to go to the back door. I couldn't live where I wanted. I wasn't invited to shake hands with Hitler, but I wasn't invited to the White House to shake hands with the President, either. ~ Jesse Owens (born 12 September 1913)
Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule — and both commonly succeed, and are right... The United States has never developed an aristocracy really disinterested or an intelligentsia really intelligent. Its history is simply a record of vacillations between two gangs of frauds. ~ H. L. Mencken (born 12 September 1880)
If man had more of a sense of humor, things might have turned out differently. ~ Stanisław Lem (born 12 September 1921)
You climb to reach the summit, but once there, discover that all roads lead down. ~ Stanisław Lem
It is fortunate that each generation does not comprehend its own ignorance. We are thus enabled to call our ancestors barbarous. ~ Charles Dudley Warner
The battles that count aren't the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself — the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us — that's where it's at. ~ Jesse Owens
There is something inside us which we don't like to face up to, from which we try to protect ourselves, but which nevertheless remains, since we don't leave Earth in a state of primal innocence. We arrive here as we are in reality, and when the page is turned and that reality is revealed to us — that part of our reality which we would prefer to pass over in silence — then we don't like it any more.
~ Stanisław Lem ~
It all goes so fast, and character makes the difference when it's close.
~ Jesse Owens ~
Each civilization may choose one of two roads to travel, that is, either fret itself to death, or pet itself to death. And in the course of doing one or the other, it eats its way into the Universe, turning cinders and flinders of stars into toilet seats, pegs, gears, cigarette holders and pillowcases, and it does this because, unable to fathom the Universe, it seeks to change that Fathomlessness into Something Fathomable.
~ Stanisław Lem ~
Why assume so glibly that the God who presumably created the universe is still running it? It is certainly perfectly conceivable that He may have finished it and then turned it over to lesser gods to operate. In the same way many human institutions are turned over to grossly inferior men. This is true, for example, of most universities, and of all great newspapers.
~ H. L. Mencken ~
Like it or not, we have placed our destiny in the hands of the experts. A politician is, after all, a kind of expert, if self-styled. Even the fact that competent experts must serve under politicians of mediocre intelligence and little foresight is a problem that we are stuck with, because the experts themselves cannot agree on any major world issue. A logocracy of quarreling experts might be no better than the rule of the mediocrities to which we are subject. The declining intellectual quality of political leadership is the result of the growing complexity of the world. Since no one, be he endowed with the highest wisdom, can grasp it in its entirety, it is those who are least bothered by this who strive for power.
~ Stanisław Lem ~
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
~ H. L. Mencken ~
Truth would quickly cease to be stranger than fiction, once we got as used to it.
~ H. L. Mencken ~
Clarity of thought is a shining point in a vast expanse of unrelieved darkness. Genius is not so much a light as it is a constant awareness of the surrounding gloom, and its typical cowardice is to bathe in its own glow and avoid, as much as possible, looking out beyond its boundary. No matter how much genuine strength it may contain, there is also, inevitably, a considerable part that is only the pretense of that strength.
~ Stanisław Lem ~
He who must be what he is, may curse his fate, but cannot change it; on the other hand, he who can transform himself has no one in the world but himself to blame for his failings, no one but himself to hold responsible for his dissatisfaction.
~ Stanisław Lem ~
It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die.
~ Steve Biko ~
  • proposed by Kalki; in regard to the anniversary of his death.
Man does not create gods, in spite of appearances. The times, the age, impose them on him. Man can serve his age or rebel against it, but the target of his cooperation or rebellion comes to him from outside.
~ Stanisław Lem ~
Cancel me not — for what then shall remain?
Abscissas some mantissas, modules, modes,
A root or two, a torus and a node:
The inverse of my verse, a null domain.
~ Stanisław Lem ~
Rank or add further suggestions…

Quotes by people born this day, already used as QOTD:

  • Explanations exist; they have existed for all times, for there is always an easy solution to every human problems — neat, plausible, and wrong. ~ H. L. Mencken (used on 17 May 2004)
  • One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms. It is not only more effective; it is also vastly more intelligent. ~ H. L. Mencken (used 20 August 2004)
  • Good books tell the truth, even when they're about things that never have been and never will be. They're truthful in a different way. ~ Stanisław Lem (used 29 March 2006)

The Quote of the Day (QOTD) is a prominent feature of the Wikiquote Main Page. Thank you for submitting, reviewing, and ranking suggestions!

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1 : Acceptable – but with no particular desire to see it used.
0 : Not acceptable – not appropriate for use as a quote of the day.
An averaging of the rankings provided to each suggestion produces it’s general ranking in considerations for selection of Quote of the Day. The selections made are usually chosen from the top ranked options existing on the page, but the provision of highly ranked late additions, especially in regard to special events (most commonly in regard to the deaths of famous people, or other major social or physical occurrences), always remain an option for final selections.
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Dalton McGuinty. He's an evil reptilian kitten eater from another planet. (sorry) ~ Ontario Progressive Conservative Party (from a press release, released this day)

  • 3 ~ MosheZadka (Talk) 19:11, 1 August 2005 (UTC)
  • 1. Quite funny but not really very thought-provoking. David | Talk 23:43, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
  • 1 InvisibleSun 00:33, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
  • 1 Zarbon 22:23, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

People say that it was degrading for an Olympic champion to run against a horse, but what was I supposed to do? I had four gold medals, but you can't eat four gold medals. There was no television, no big advertising, no endorsements then. Not for a black man, anyway. ~ Jesse Owens (born 12 September 1913)

  • 3 Kalki 09:42, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
  • 2 InvisibleSun 00:33, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
  • 1 Zarbon 22:23, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Let us celebrate the soil. Most men toil that they may own a piece of it; they measure their success in life by their ability to buy it. ~ Charles Dudley Warner

  • 3 Zarbon 19:27, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
  • 3 InvisibleSun 21:44, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 Kalki 23:58, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

The war of good and evil present in all religions does not always end, in every faith, with the victory of good, but in every one it establishes a clear order of existence. The sacred as well as the profane rests on that universal order... ~ Stanisław Lem

He who has had, has been, but he who hasn't been, has been had. ~ Stanisław Lem

Plentitude, when too plentitudinous, was worst than destitution, for — obviously— what could one do, if there was nothing one could not?. ~ Stanisław Lem

We have wholly abandoned ourselves to the mercy of technological progress. The roles are now reversed: humanity becomes, for technology, a means, an instrument for achieving a goal unknown and unknowable. ~ Stanisław Lem