+ 494 We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan
+ 389 Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about. Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan
+ 469 I love the romance of what I do, although because of Isabella, Lady Gaga and Grace Jones, people think I have crazy customers. Sometimes I get more enthusiasm from the housewife who wants a hat and believes in it. Philip Treacy
+ 261 The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. Jane Austen
+ 276 We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan
+ 868 When I arrived in England I thought I knew English. After I'd been here
an hour I realized that I did not understand one word. In the first week I
picked up a tolerable working knowledge of the language and the next seven
years convinced me gradually but thoroughly that I would never know it
really well, let alone perfectly. This is sad. My only consolation being
that nobody speaks English perfectly.
Remember that those five hundred words an average Englishman uses are
far from being the whole vocabulary of the language. You may learn another
five hundred and another five thousand and yet another fifty thousand and
still you may come across a further fifty thousand you have never heard of
before, and nobody else either. If you live here long enough you will find
out to your greatest amazement that the adjective nice is not the only
adjective the language possesses, in spite of the fact that in the first
three years you do not need to learn or use any other adjectives. You can
say that the weather is nice, a restaurant is nice, Mr Soandso is nice, Mrs Soandso's clothes are nice, you had a nice time, and all this will be very
nice. Then you have to decide on your accent. You will have your foreign
accent all right, but many people like to mix it with something else. I knew
a Polish Jew who had a strong Yiddish-Irish accent. People found it
fascinating though slightly exaggerated. The easiest way to give the impression of having a good accent or no foreign accent at all is to hold an unlit pipe in your mouth, to mutter between your teeth and finish all your
sentences with the question: 'isn't it?' People will not understand much,
but they are accustomed to that and they will get a most excellent
I have known quite a number of foreigners who tried hard to acquire an
Oxford accent. The advantage of this is that you give the idea of being
permanently in the company of Oxford dons and lecturers on medieval
numismatics; the disadvantage is that the permanent singing is rather a
strain on your throat and that it is a type of affection that even many
English people find it hard to keep up incessantly. You may fall out of it,
speak naturally, and then where are you? The Mayfair accent can be highly
recommended, too. The advantages of Mayfair English are that it unites the
affected air of the Oxford accent with the uncultured flavour of a
half-educated professional hotel-dancer.
The most successful attempts, however, to put on a highly cultured air
have been made on the polysyllabic lines. Many foreigners who have learnt
Latin and Greek in school discover with amazement and satisfaction that the
English language has absorbed a huge amount of ancient Latin and Greek
expressions, and they realize that
a) it is much easier to learn these expressions than the much simpler
b) that these words as a rule are interminably long and make a simply
superb impression when talking to the greengrocer, the porter and the
insurance agent. Imagine, for instance, that the porter of the block of
flats where you live remarks sharply that you must not put your dustbin out
in front of your door before 7.30 a.m. Should you answer 'Please don't bully
me,' a loud and tiresome argument may follow, and certainly the porter will
be proved right, because you are sure to find a dause in your contract
(small print, of last page) that the porter is always right and you owe
absolute allegiance and unconditional obedience to him. Should you answer,
however, with these words: 1 repudiate your petulant expostulations,' the
argument will be closed at once, the porter will be proud of having such a
highly cultured man in the block, and from that day onwards you may, if you
please, get up at four o'clock in the morning and hang your dustbin out of
the window. But even in Curzon Street society, if you say, for instance,
that you are a tough guy they will consider you a vulgar, irritating and
objectionable person. Should you declare, however, that you are an
inquisitorial and peremptory homo sapiens, they will have no idea what you
mean, but they will feel in their bones that you must be something
wonderful. When you know all the long words it is advisable to start
learning some of the short ones, too. You should be careful when using these
endless words. An acquaintance of mine once was fortunate enough to discover
the most impressive word notalgia for back-ache. Mistakenly, however, he
declared in a large company: 'I have such a nostalgia.' 'Oh, you want to go
home to Nizhne-Novgorod?' asked his most sympathetic hostess. 'Not at all,'
he answered. 'I just cannot sit down.' . Finally, there are two important
points to remember:
1. Do not forget that it is much easier to write in English than to
speak English, because you can write without a foreign accent.
2. In a bus and in other public places it is more advisable to speak
softly in good German than to shout in abominable English.
Anyway, this whole language business is not at all easy. After spending
eight years in this country, the other day I was told by a very kind lady:
'But why do you complain? You really speak a most excellent accent without
the slightest English.'
The Language by George Mikes
+ 317 As you can see, we've had our eye on you for some time now, Mr. Anderson. It seems that you've been living two lives. In one life, you're Thomas A. Anderson, program writer for a respectable software company. You have a Social Security number, you pay your taxes, and you... help your landlady carry out her garbage. The other life is lived in computers, where you go by the hacker alias "Neo" and are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for. One of these lives has a future, and one of them does not. Agent Smith
+ 176 In my own shire, if I was sad
Homely comforters I had:
The earth, because my heart was sore,
Sorrowed for the son she bore;
And standing hills, long to remain,
Shared their short-lived comrade's pain.
And bound for the same bourn as I,
On every road I wandered by,
Trod beside me, close and dear,
The beautiful and death-struck year:
Whether in the woodland brown
I heard the beechnut rustle down,
And saw the purple crocus pale
Flower about the autumn dale;
Or littering far the fields of May
Lady-smocks a-bleaching lay,
And like a skylit water stood
The bluebells in the azured wood.
Yonder, lightening other loads,
The season range the country roads,
But here in London streets I ken
No such helpmates, only men;
And these are not in plight to bear,
If they would, another's care.
They have enough as 'tis: I see
In many an eye that measures me
The mortal sickness of a mind
Too unhappy to be kind.
Undone with misery, all they can
Is to hate their fellow man;
And till they drop they needs must still
Look at you and wish you ill.
A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad
+ 86 Sit like a lady!
+ 111 You know what's really, powerfully sexy? A sense of humour. A taste of adventure. A healthy glow. Hips to grap on to. Openness. Confidence. Humility. Appetite. Intuition... Smart-ass comebacks. Presence. A quick wit. Dirty jokes told to innocence-looking lady... A storyteller. A genius. A doctor. A new mother. A woman who realises how beautiful she is.
+ 111 A Jewish woman from Chelm went to the market one day to buy herring and a loaf of bread. "How much is it?" she asked the storekeeper. "14 cents," answered the storekeeper to the lady. "14! For what?" asked the Jewish lady. "I think it's 11." The storekeeper explained: The herring costs 7 cents, and the loaf of bread costs 7 cents also. So together it comes to 14 cents." "I know different. To the best of my recollection, 7 and 7 is 11." "What are your saying?" "As far as I know, 7 and 7 is 11...I had already had 4 children when my first husband died. When I married a second time, my second husband also had 4 children from his first wife. After getting married, we had 3 children together. So each of us had 7 children, and together we had 11! Obviously, 7 and 7 is 11."