Those of you who’ve been following me for a while — and, really, aren’t you all huge fans of my work? — know that I maintain a quote blog, and have done for quite some time.

In fact, I’ve been a nerd for quotes for about 25 years. I started out collecting things off BBSes and printing them out (on my dot-matrix printer, no less) so I could read them later. In college, I upgraded to a laser printer — or, better, the laser printer in the computer lab — and, over the years, amassed hundreds of pages of quotes.

And then the internet happened. Starting in about 2002 or so, I cribbed some simple JavaScript off another site and put together a program that would spit out a quote from my list of what, over time, became more than 1200. Most of them were about politics, because I used to be a lot more political, but there were some funny ones too. Eventually, all those old blog sites died off, until all that was left was quotes.html, my JS file with all the quotes in it.

In March of 2012, I decided it was time to get all of these quotes off the page and onto the internet, and Quotatious Quotations was born. I queued up a few quotes a day, and until 2013 the site had new content all the time. But things slowed down, and now we’re at one or two quotes per month.

So, if you would, indulge my inner quote-geek and enjoy six of the best quotes (well, really, quote collections) I’ve found in the past four years.


6. Farts, and other butt stuff — Let’s get the ridiculous ones out of the way first.

“There’s no heartbreak without the farts.” –Daniel Scheinert, filmmaker

“Sex is always about two farts and a well-timed pun away from a vaudeville act, and that’s the way it should be.” –Felix Clay, internet columnist

“Somewhere out there, someone is trying to invent a squeeze bottle that doesn’t sound like a fart. That person has no joy in their soul.” –Bart Lieb, editor

“I once wondered if “eschatology” was the study of poop, or maybe future poop.” –Chuck Wendig, author

“That ship came out of the Enterprise’s butt!” –Mark Oshiro, media analyst

“Did I just get you to think about dragons pooping? Then I have succeeded.” –Mark Oshiro, media analyst

Makes you think…

“Someone I’m sure is frantically typing a 40 paragraph blog post about why [Grand Theft Auto V] is terrible because at some point you call a girl a swear, or maybe touch her butt, or maybe meet a really cool and well developed female character who isn’t playable. I hope that person remembers that to even get that far they had to kill something like 50 mid-westerner police officers in a terrible shootout, before the opening credits, and that’s a markedly greater moral sin than butt touching.” –Jim Shepard, game developer

Why is it worse to see a butt or a boob than to kill hundreds of people? This is part of the problem with film violence; PG and PG-13 films don’t have enough blood when people get shot or stabbed, so the audiences for those films don’t understand that violence has real consequences. And then when these kids get their hands on games where there’s blood from shootings or stabbings, they think “awesome!”, not “what am I doing with my life?”

Fun fact: Jim is actually a childhood friend of mine.


5. James Webb — Speaking of childhood friends, James Webb (not the guy the space telescope is named after) is an app developer who I met right around the same time as I met the aforementioned Jim. James posts some pretty insightful stuff on his Facebook. Here is some of it.

“Babies should have an on-board diagnostics port, instead of just the ‘check engine’ scream.”

“There is no theoretical limit to the number of ottomans that can be assigned to a single chair.”

“When a friend has a dog that goes nuts when someone knocks on the door, I like to call them instead to let them know I’ve arrived. But since barking is part of the usual price of admission, it gives me a lovely smug feeling, like I’ve been comped.”

Makes you think…

“People with normal hearing, but who frequently talk loudly, have mediocre ideas. Not the worst ideas, but not good ones, either. They are neither fools nor geniuses. In a chaotic environment, most of us have raised our voices to be heard. In a sea of bad (or no) ideas, a loud one that isn’t awful will be heard, and might be adopted. If we discovered that speaking loudly, and only that, caused people to agree with us, we might be loud all the time.”

I’m pretty sure this is how most politicians approach the world.


4. Simple Insights — This is the last of the intentionally-funny sets of quotes. If you think about it, they’re all simple insights that make life a little more understandable.

“If nobody comes back in time to stop you, how bad of an idea could it possibly be?” –Greg Coleman, photographer

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” –Terry Pratchett, author

“Life can be an obstacle course of a-holes. The challenge comes not in getting through the obstacle course, but rather, not becoming part of it.” –Joey Gilmore, comedian

“When your psychic friend, his mortal enemy, and a dude from the future are all telling you the same thing, you should probably listen to them.” –Honest Trailers

Makes you think…

“There is a difference between something truly awful and something that was handled slightly differently from what you would have preferred.” –Christiana Ellis, author and podcaster

Christiana said this on Twitter, which is the penultimate medium for hyperbole (the ultimate being Facebook — usually the Facebook of that one “friend” from high school who turned out to be an enormous racist), and it holds true. Just because something wasn’t done the way you thought was right doesn’t mean it was done wrong. Think before you speak, and think twice before you hyperbolize.


3. Children and Their Parents — I agonized a bit over a sixth category before finally going with this one, because these are pretty good.

“Children endure so much, so steadfastly, once they learn to abandon hope.” –Kage Baker, author

“Suburban parenting consists mainly of doing volunteer work for people who need it the very least.” –Drew Magary, sportswriter and author

“We ask 18-year-olds to make huge decisions about their career and financial future, when a month ago they had to ask to go to the bathroom” –Adam Kotsko

Makes you think…

“Where is there a parking lot where I can kind-of whip out a boob without too many people seeing?” –Liz Losa, sportswriter

Liz said this on a podcast shortly after her son was born, and it made me mad. Breasts exist for the purpose of feeding children; the fact that the citizenry of the US can’t look at one without thinking ZOMG IT IS SEXYTIMES TIME NOW when a woman nurses her child is sad… and kind of disgusting. The fact that we have to legislate around this, or fight against anti-breastfeeding-freedom legislation, is even more disgusting.


2. Mental Health — I noticed after I put these together that they’re really more about being an introvert, but the last quote isn’t, so I’m just going to stick with “mental health” for now.

“I am a carefully perpetrated illusion. I function as a human being because I have very carefully controlled my environment to manipulate myself into productivity – my social life is carefully orchestrated, my social media is designed to allow me the personal contact I need, my outings brief and preplanned.” –Ferrett Steinmetz, author

“Introverts are collectors of thoughts, and solitude is where the collection is curated and rearranged to make sense of the present and future.” –Laurie Helgoe

“At my best I am a friendly introvert. I love people, but too much human interaction exhausts me.” –Kaci Diane

“No matter how good things are, there will always be solitary nights you spend in your bedroom, in a car, or in a party full of your closest friends when it feels like the walls are caving in.” –Dan Campbell

“There are only so many times that you can utter ‘It does not hurt’ before it begins to hurt even more than the hurt. You become enlightened of the feeling of feeling hurt, which is worse, I am certain, than the existent hurt.” –Jonathan Safran Foer, author

Makes you think…

“Depression is like a bruise that never goes away. A bruise in your mind. You just got to be careful not to touch it where it hurts. It’s always there, though.” –Jeffrey Eugenides

As someone who suffers from dysthymia with a side order of double depression, I know all about this. I’m on medication for it now, but every day, at least once (but usually much more), I poke at my depression to see if the beast will awaken. I don’t want to be depressed — or more depressed than I naturally am — but by the same token I just have to know if it’s possible.

Protip: it usually is.


1. Love — Saved the best for last. Or, at least, the most uplifting.

“Let someone love you just the way you are – as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as unaccomplished as you think you are. To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken, out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room.” –Marc Hack

“I’ve become skeptical of the unwritten rule that just because a boy and girl appear in the same feature, a romance must ensue. Rather, I want to portray a slightly different relationship, one where the two mutually inspire each other to live – if I’m able to, then perhaps I’ll be closer to portraying a true expression of love.” –Hayao Miyazaki, filmmaker

“Before blaming others, think: what’s the one constant in all your failed relationships? It’s that cursed Egyptian amulet. Why do you even have that?” –unknown, but attributed to Jonathan Zerulik

Makes you think…

“A lot of people are deeply invested in keeping other people from loving the things that they love.” –Charlie Jane Anders, author

Couldn’t make it all hearts and flowers, though. The fact that that quote even exists is a sad commentary on humanity as a whole and oppressive cultures (including our own) in particular. And it’s not just about people; it’s about things, too. Growing up, how many of us were afraid to say we liked Star Trek, or a certain band, or D&D, just because we’d be ostracized for it? Casual/passive oppression is still oppression.


Bonus Content!

How about a couple of quotes about quotes, from friends of mine?

“I’m changing the world through smart-ass comments on your Facebook pics and posts. We all make changes where we can.” –Beau Hall, author

“Maybe that’s what society is now… empty pictures and pointless quotes.” –Sabrina Peña Young, musician

I particularly like that last one, especially given that this whole column is full of empty pictures and pointless quotes.

Way to end on a downer, Josh.


Got an idea for a future “Six of the Best” column? Tweet it to me @listener42.

Space travel, steampunk Seattle, superheroes, and more. (But no zombies.) Check out Josh’s collection, The Clockwork Russian and Other Stories, which has been called “intelligent, compelling, and always entertaining” by award-winning author Sean McMullen, and “thought-provoking” by Big Anklevich, editor of the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine. Get your copy today!