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What I've Learned...
January 17, 2007 5:01 AM   Subscribe

What I've Learned: Al Green, Alex Trebek, Alyssa Milano, Andy Grove, Arianna Huffington, Arny Freytag, Arthur Miller, Bill O'Reilly, Billy Bob Thornton, Bobby Bowden, Burt Reynolds, Carroll Shelby, Charles Townes, Christie Brinkley, Christopher Reeve, Clive Davis, Conrad Dobler, Curt Gowdy, Dan Rather, David Bowie, David Brown, Don Rickles, Edward Teller, Even Knievel, Faye Dunaway, Forest Whitaker, Garry Shandling, Gene Simmons, Haley Joel Osment, Heather Locklear, Homer Simpson, Hugh Hefner, Hunter Clemons, J. Craig Venter, 1=8991">Jack Bauer, Jaime Pressly, James Caan, James Watson, Jeff Bezos, Jim Willett, Jimmy Dean, Joe Frazier, John Kenneth Galbraith, John McCain, JR Simplot, Julia Child, Katie Couric, Keith Richards, Kirk Douglas, Lou Reed, Lucinda Williams, Mark Burnett, Mia Farrow, Michael Wright, Muhammad Ali, Neil Young, Ozzy Osbourne, Pamela Anderson, Peter O'Toole, Phil Spector, Philip Johnson, Ray Charles, Red Auerbach, Richard Branson, Richard Petty, Rip Torn, Robert Altman, Robert DeNiro, Robert Evans, Rod Steiger, Rodney Dangerfield, Roseanne, Roy Jones Jr., Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Kimmel, Siegfried and Roy, Suge Knight, Tom Petty, Tommy Franks, Walter Cronkite. [Slightly More Inside]
posted by NotMyselfRightNow (59 comments total) 102 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously mentioned on MeFi in 2003 by euphorb.

Some personal favorite quotes:

Homer Simpson: "When someone tells you your butt is on fire, you should take them at their word."

1=899">Jack Bauer: "If I say "dammit," either something bad just happened, something bad is about to happen, or I'm going to do something drastic."

Dan Rather: "I saw a quote recently that I believe in: "News is what somebody somewhere doesn't want you to know. All the rest is advertising."

Tommy Franks: "My grandchildren call me Pooh."

Roy (of Siegried and Roy): "Wear the cape; never let the cape wear you."

Burt Reynolds: "I was number one five years in a row at the box office. But what's really stunning is that no one until me had ever gone from number one to number thirty-eight in one year."

Don't miss the Hunter Clemons one, it's great. He's just some random 11 year old from North Carolina. "Once a teacher tried to force me to do something I didn't want to do and then walked away. I got angry, and the teacher turned around just as I was doing a movement that showed I was angry. You never think they're gonna turn around just at that moment." So true...
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:01 AM on January 17, 2007


Tommy Franks:
I guess it sounds bold, but I really don't have a big fear. There can be an expectation of a public servant to say, "Well, my greatest fear would be failure in the mission." I don't have that. Because we won't fail in this mission.
Unsurprisingly, this is five years old.
posted by matteo at 5:17 AM on January 17, 2007


I am shocked that Alex Trebek swears.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 5:22 AM on January 17, 2007


Look at you. The chains you had on. Now they're gold. Al Green
posted by unSane at 5:23 AM on January 17, 2007


I am shocked that Alex Trebek swears.

That's only because Sean Connery keeps nailing his wife.
posted by psmealey at 5:30 AM on January 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


See also Wisdom to Grow On if you'd like to read more nifty celeb wisdom and advice whilst sitting on the can...
posted by twsf at 5:38 AM on January 17, 2007


David Bowie still rocks my world after all these years:

The depressing realization in this age of dumbing down is that the questions have moved from "Was Nietzsche right about God?" to "How big was his dick?"
posted by psmealey at 5:42 AM on January 17, 2007 [6 favorites]


Forrest Whitaker:

One of my greatest lessons in life came from my mom. When I told her I didn't want to go to church, she said, "You don't have to go to church, but you have to go somewhere. You have to believe in something."


Mark Burnett has some really interesting ones.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:50 AM on January 17, 2007


Ozzy's was appropriately incoherent.
posted by The Straightener at 5:51 AM on January 17, 2007


Rodney Dangerfield:

The only normal people are the ones you don't know too well.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:06 AM on January 17, 2007


I find the concept amusing that Bill O'Reilly has learned anything
posted by curtm at 6:07 AM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Phil Spector: "First, I'd like to know what God sees when he takes LSD. And second, I'd like to know what you say to God when he sneezes."

So does anybody else expect dude to call on Steven Wright as an expert witness?
posted by joe lisboa at 6:13 AM on January 17, 2007


"The apathy in America is probably even scarier than the administration."

Alyssa's not just cute, she's perceptive.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:25 AM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


And on the Tommy Franks note, with Alyssa Milano:
General Franks? And I said, "I have to be honest with you. I'm freaking out a little bit right now. I just need to know that we're going to be okay." And he said, "Little darlin', I guarantee you this: We've got more bullets than they got assholes." Not quite the answer I was looking for.
posted by Chuckles at 6:27 AM on January 17, 2007


You know, I'm generally not a fan of threads where everybody just reprints their favorite quote from a link, so forgive my hypocrisy, but this Carol Shelby quote just made my day:

I brought some Tuli cattle over from Rhodesia. Print Rhodesia, will you, instead of Zimbabwe? Because that guy Mugabe is an asshole.
posted by saladin at 6:28 AM on January 17, 2007


And second, I'd like to know what you say to God when he sneezes.

Gesundheit!
posted by kirkaracha at 6:32 AM on January 17, 2007


Metafilter: I'm the vanilla Shaquille O'Neal.
posted by cowbellemoo at 6:33 AM on January 17, 2007


Alex Trebek:

"I don't gamble, because winning a hundred dollars doesn't give me great pleasure. But losing a hundred dollars pisses me off."
posted by Optamystic at 6:40 AM on January 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hehe, Siegried and Roy.
posted by Glow Bucket at 6:45 AM on January 17, 2007


After Alyssa (damn you crash!), I read Alex Trebek, and then Siedfried and Roy.. As I was reading the latter, I was thinking about the contrasts, are there really people like these two?
Siegfried: To make others believe what you want them to believe, you must first believe it yourself.

Roy: Every night when I'm onstage, all the things I'm doing are for real. They are not illusions but facts, and that is how I execute them. Whether I fly through the air or battle a fire-breathing dragon or sit on a white tiger--that is my reality. If we are living our imagination, we are the greatest.
I'm not sure if they really exist, but I know they think they do.

Alex Trebeck:
"If you can't be in awe of Mother Nature, there's something wrong with you."
That seems like something essential about being in the reality based community, or not. If you live in reality, you get to sounding pretty pessimistic sometimes, but that is just the sound.
posted by Chuckles at 6:47 AM on January 17, 2007


OCD. Look into it. I'm just sayin'.
posted by Ynoxas at 6:50 AM on January 17, 2007


Stomach turning, Tommy Franks:
Freedom is not free.

One of the things I believe fervently was said probably 175 years ago by Clausewitz: In battle, outcomes are determined by this trinity. You have to have a decision by the state. You have to have military capacity to get the work done. And you have to have the will of the people. In my lifetime, I have not seen the enduring confluence of those three things until post-9/11.
posted by Chuckles at 6:59 AM on January 17, 2007


Tommy Franks seems like the ultimate neocon soldier. Thank goodness that's rare and thank goodness he's gone.
posted by psmealey at 7:06 AM on January 17, 2007


Siegfried: To make others believe what you want them to believe, you must first believe it yourself.

As an amateur magician, I would back this statement up as literally true. Of course, you know the mechanism of the trick in the back of your mind but you are telling yourself the cover story. If I make small objects vanish when I'm drunk, I sometimes forget where they really are (which occasionally results in embarrassing droppage as I relax that concealing hand...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:26 AM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Intresting quote from suge knight:

You can't have it both ways on the death penalty. You can't say you believe in God and then go for an eye for an eye. I don't think you should kill a guy like McVeigh. Somebody who kills a lot of kids like he did, he just wants to get it over with. So what you do is you put him in prison for the rest of his life, and you put him on the main line, and you let the real convicts make him suffer.
posted by delmoi at 7:40 AM on January 17, 2007


Alex Trebek: In military college, they teach you how to make your bed so you can bounce a silver dollar off it. I made my bed perfectly and the guy came in and said, "Oh, this is really good. Who did this?" I did this, sir! "That's really good. What's your name?" Trebek, sir! "Has anybody torn up your bed yet?" No, sir! So he tore up my bed. Jesus, what the hell's going on here? What kinda crap is this? In the military they say, We're gonna break down your spirit in order to rebuild it. Don't give me that bullshit. I can take an order without you behaving like a jerk.

No, no. It's because you didn't say "What is Trebek, sir!"
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:54 AM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Dan Rather one (despite an annoying editing mistake in the question about what he learned from his parents) is awesome.

Overall, great post.
posted by JHarris at 7:54 AM on January 17, 2007


Oh, the story about Eisenhower and Patton, in the Cronkite one, is even more awesome.
posted by JHarris at 7:57 AM on January 17, 2007


Rip Torn: I used to be friends with Miles Davis. He didn't like many folks. I lived across the street from him. He would call me up sometimes—"I got some fish I wanna cook up for ya." I went up there, and he was on a couch, looking out the window. He was just rapt. I said, "What're you watching, Miles?" He said, "The traffic. Where are all these motherfuckers goin'?"
posted by horsemuth at 8:00 AM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I read these first in every issue of Esquire I get. I really liked James Watson's [last living co-discoverer of the sequencing of DNA] in the January 2007 issue. It's really interesting to read some of his feelings on the future of DNA research.

Great post, these things are great reads.
posted by Verdandi at 8:07 AM on January 17, 2007


Garry Shandling's turned out a lot more thoughtful and profound than I would've guessed:

I had a car accident when I was twenty-seven in which I was nearly killed. I had a vivid near-death experience that involved a voice asking, "Do you want to continue leading Garry Shandling's life?" Without thinking, I said, "Yes." Since then, I've been stuck living in the physical world while knowing, without a doubt, that there's something much more meaningful within it all. That realization is what drives my life and work.

Nice guys finish first. If you don't know that, then you don't know where the finish line is.

posted by gompa at 8:23 AM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also this, from Philip Johnson, should be Modernism's epitaph:

Don't build a glass house if you're worried about saving money on heating.
posted by gompa at 8:26 AM on January 17, 2007


David Bowie still rocks my world after all these years:

The phrase "confront a corpse" has left me with perhaps a slightly different mental image than the one I suspect he intended.

Awesome post though.
posted by vbfg at 8:29 AM on January 17, 2007


Pamela Anderson: My breasts have a career, I'm just tagging along.

Hehe.
posted by elendil71 at 8:30 AM on January 17, 2007


If only more people belive what Kirk Douglas believes:
Muslims follow Muhammad to reach God. Christians follow Jesus. Jews follow Moses. But it's all the same God.
posted by nielm at 8:33 AM on January 17, 2007


I can't decide on a favorite to quote.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:43 AM on January 17, 2007


I love the Bowie anecdote about meeting "Lou Reed".
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:14 AM on January 17, 2007


While I love this one from Trebek,

You go to the Rockies and you stand there and you're looking up, saying, "Yep, that's impressive." And then you go to the Himalayas and you're like, "Oh, shit!"


there are just too many good ones to select a favorite.
posted by JaredSeth at 9:18 AM on January 17, 2007


"I can't decide on a favorite to quote."

I'm just gonna go with the whole Rip Torn section.
posted by MikeMc at 9:43 AM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, wonderful post! Thanks! It's fascinating, inspiring and deeply informative reading what people have valued learning.
posted by nickyskye at 10:03 AM on January 17, 2007


NMNR, For fuck-sake, you really don't want me to get any "real" work accomplished today, do YOU?
posted by winks007 at 10:06 AM on January 17, 2007


Hmm, lotsa love for Trebek here. I like this one of his:
Don't tell me what you believe in. I'll observe how you behave and I will make my own determination.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:09 AM on January 17, 2007


Lets see, 47,586 members. There has to be a small percentage of that number with something thought-provoking to say. Since most of us are not superstars, what we have learned might be good enough to not be considered tripe. Might be a best-seller. **waves folding money over head**.
posted by winks007 at 10:15 AM on January 17, 2007


NMNR, For fuck-sake, you really don't want me to get any "real" work accomplished today, do YOU?
posted by winks007


Yeah, one of my coworkers (and a MeFite) has said that to me a few times today...
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 10:36 AM on January 17, 2007


Billionaire J.R. SimplotWP on politics:
I never choose sides in politics. That's bullshit. I have to get along with whoever gets in.
posted by cenoxo at 10:42 AM on January 17, 2007


This is great! I've only glanced through Esquire when I've taken my son to the barbershop, so I wasn't familiar with this feature, but now I'm addicted to reading these and I've bookmarked the Esquire site... Thanks, NotMyselfRightNow!
posted by amyms at 10:47 AM on January 17, 2007


I find the concept amusing that Bill O'Reilly has learned anything

Couldn't help myself, had to check . . .

You will never teach your kid anything more important than discipline.

A best moment? You get into the sappy birth-of-the-daughter moment . . . and I'm not gonna quantify my life that way.


Turns out, he hasn't learned much. You'd think someone as self-important as O'Reilly might at least try to fake profundity, but nope. Just 23 concise paragraphs of hate-laced and utterly contemptible horseshit. Maybe the only reason we cling to the idea of a real eternal Hell is because people like him must surely be held accountable somewhere, sometime, for what they are.
posted by gompa at 12:47 PM on January 17, 2007


Keith Richards borrows pot from his kids. Jumping jehozaphat.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:13 PM on January 17, 2007


Indeed, we are in another Vietnam. Almost play by play. It's a terrible mistake that we're in Iraq, and it's a terrible mistake to insist on staying there. - Walter Cronkite

The most trusted man in America indeed. Someone who dedicated his ENTIRE life to telling us what we should know. A man who knew that there was a significant portion of the population who, if he didn't tell them about something, noone else would. A man who covered 3 wars, including the one George Bush dodged.

If he came on television and told me the sky had turned purple, I would not even look out the window to double check him.

He's perhaps the only person in the world I could say that about, including friends and family. He is the only "celebrity" that I can think of that I have actual, legitimate respect for.

Having Katie Couric do the CBS Evening News is an embarrassment to his legacy (and that of Rather). It's not because she's a woman, it's because she's Katie Fucking Couric. I saw the second plane hit the tower live on NBC on 9/11, and I turned the station and wouldn't watch NBC until Brokaw got on-air. That day should have put a nail in her broadcasting career. It showed she didn't have what it takes when something actually happens.

gompa: Couldn't agree more. O'Reilly is quite simply a vile human being. And those that listen to even a word he utters are pathetic.
posted by Ynoxas at 1:21 PM on January 17, 2007


winks007, I have a list I keep adding to for just such an occasion... yep, here it is. Mostly stolen, some original, but all true as far as I can tell.

----------------------------------------------------

This too shall pass.

Everything you know is wrong.

The universe is far stranger than you can possibly imagine... but try anyway.

Reality is what doesn't go away when you stop believing in it.

Reality is also what you can get away with.

It is suicidal to confront reality without opening your eyes.

The faster it goes, the more it costs.

Nothing turns out exactly the way you thought it would.

Either you get something done or you get the credit for it, but not both.

TANSTAAFL

The contest is not always to the strong, nor the race to the swift...
but that's the way to bet.

It's all in the timing.

Everything is the same, only different.

80% of everything is crud.

Everyone does what they really want to do.

It takes the same effort to be nice as it does to be unpleasant, but the rewards are far greater.

No matter where you go, there you are.

Everything takes longer and costs more than you thought.

When given a choice between two disagreeable options, choose the one that is harder to do.

You can't push a rope.

We pursue that which retreats from us.

To a three year old with a hammer, everything is a nail.

Good enough is good enough.

Every action or inaction is a cause set in motion.

Love is one of the few things in life that increases the more you give it away.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 1:43 PM on January 17, 2007


I just wish people would love everybody else the way that they love me. It would be a better world. - Muhammad Ali

I can't imagine too many people in the world who could say those words and not immediately need to be knocked down off of whatever imaginary pedestal they've placed themselves on. I met the man once when I was six. He shook my hand, and told me to always obey my parents. Thirty years later, I still think to myself sometimes, "Holy shit! I met Muhammad Ali."

What I learned when I was six: Superman is real, and he's standing right over there, why don't you go over and say hello.

What I learned as an adult: He's not really made of steel,but he's still 46 different kinds of awesome.
posted by billyfleetwood at 2:07 PM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


thanks - nice find!

Mia Farrow -
I sneezed when I was getting my mantra. I have terrible hay fever, and you have to present these flowers. As the Maharishi said my mantra, I sneezed. I said, "Excuse me? I don't think I heard you exactly right." But he would not repeat it. So from that day on, I don't know if I'm doing it right.
posted by vronsky at 3:18 PM on January 17, 2007


Man, Kubrick got Teller right, didn't he?
posted by bonecrusher at 3:28 PM on January 17, 2007


David Bowie still rocks my world after all these years:

The depressing realization in this age of dumbing down is that the questions have moved from "Was Nietzsche right about God?" to "How big was his dick?"


Ha, yeah, like he's so blameless about that...
posted by pleeker at 3:36 PM on January 17, 2007


You'd think someone as self-important as O'Reilly might at least try to fake profundity, but nope. Just 23 concise paragraphs of hate-laced and utterly contemptible horseshit.

O'Reilly is quite simply a vile human being. And those that listen to even a word he utters are pathetic.

I'm hardly a fan, but you two had me expecting David Duke reading Mein Kampf right before an uppidty darkie lynching.

"If you don't care what other people think of you, you can feel comfortable anywhere."

What's so hate-laced about that?

Great post, BTW.
posted by Cyrano at 4:41 PM on January 17, 2007


Ha, yeah, like he's so blameless about that...
I don't know what you mean, but that is the best link ever. I think it confused me.
posted by hypervenom at 4:44 PM on January 17, 2007


You explain things by way of ideas. Why do we have a government that is run by rich trash? Because they've used their money to buy the presidency. Bush is a tool for the people who don't want an inheritance tax. And Frist isn't an innocent bystander, with his own family fortune—hundreds of millions. The piece of shit, I hate him.
posted by popechunk at 5:51 PM on January 17, 2007


Wow, Teller was a bit of a fucker, eh?
posted by beerbajay at 5:20 AM on January 18, 2007


My favorite, from Julia Child:
"Always remember: If you're alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. Who's going to know?"
posted by sporky at 1:15 PM on January 18, 2007


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