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PAPERWORK: Sharing thoughts for those thinking about great thoughts

I have a thought. A great thought.

In fact I have many great thoughts. And, book in hand, I am ready to share.

I can’t remember the book rummage where I found this gem, but being a book addict I grabbed it.

How could I resist a book titled “The New Dictionary of Thoughts ... A Cyclopedia of Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, Both Ancient and Modern, Alphabetically Arranged by Subject.”

Now that’s a title. (The “new” part dates to 1966 and the book has been expanded since its origin in 1891.)

Lots of pages full of lots of quotes and a special section that reveals the origin of familiar phrases.

Now stay with me. Even if you are not a word nerd like me, you have to enjoy bits of history trivia like this:

“When angry, count to ten before you speak.” — Jefferson.

“Birds of a feather flock together.” — Aristotle.

“As busy as bees.” — Chaucer.

You get it. Stuff like that. But there are 750 pages of thoughts that go deeper.

Go ahead. Pick a subject. Politics? Yeah, that’s timely.

“How a minority, reaching majority, seizing authority, hates a minority.” — L.H.Robbins.

“People vote their resentment, not their appreciation. The average man does not vote for anything, but against something.”— William Bennett Munro.

Yes ... there’s positive: “Politics is a profession; a serious, complicated and, in its true sense, a noble one.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower.

How about a feel-good subject? Like love.

“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.” — Goethe.

“We owe to the Middle Ages the two worst inventions of humanity — romantic love and gunpowder.” — André Maurois.

“By the time you swear you’re his, shivering and sighing, and he vows his passion is infinite, undying — lady, make a note of this: one of you is lying.” — Dorothy Parker.

OK, a bit twisted, but funny, yes? But I will offer this balance:

“The treasures of the deep are not so precious as are the concealed comforts of a man locked up in a woman’s love.” — Thomas Middleton.

How about some diet advice?

“In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eats twice as much as nature requires.” — Benjamin Franklin.

That covers that. How about old age?

“As I approve of a youth that has something of the old man in him, so I am no less pleased with an old man that has something of the youth. He that follows this rule, may be old in body, but can never be so in mind.” — Cicero.

Mmmmm. I like that one.

How about this — something we all should be monitoring these days ... anger.

“Act nothing in a furious passion. It’s putting to sea in a storm.” — Thomas Fuller.

OK, these are personal. Had to check out ... authorship.

“No author is so poor that he cannot be of some service, if only as a witness of his time.” — Claude Fauchet.

“Writers are the main landmarks of the past.”— Edward Bulwer.

And on writing ... “Any man who will look into his heart and honestly writes what he sees there, will find plenty of readers.” — Ed Howe.

Thanks. Now I feel better.

Hey ... I’ve got thousands more, but you get the idea. I’m not the only one who loves to collect quotes.

And I should admit that when I have a great thought to share, I often am borrowing from another.

So it’s appropriate to end with this ... about quotations:

“Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it. “ — Emerson.

Or a little phrase started by English writer John Heywood in 1546.

“All is well that ends well.”

LONNY CAIN, of Ottawa, is the retired managing editor of The Times. Email to or mail The Times, 110 W. Jefferson St., Ottawa, IL 61350.

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