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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Saturday, June 04, 2005
Phrases That Changed the World
I was working on an entirely different post (which I still hope to have for you in the next day or two), when I got sidetracked by an interesting list I found myself building.

There are some very short phrases that are etched in our minds because of the historical or cultural event they capture, phrases that almost all of us know and that have become immortal because they define an event or a movement that permanently changed the world. When such phrases are spoken or written all of history seems to split into what came before and what came after. Here are some such phrases that come immediately to mind.

I'd love to hear your contributions. What I'm looking for are phrases no longer than several words that are widely recognized and tied to a specific important time in history. If you can, include a link to verify the details.

The Coffeehousers will pick the contribution they find most worthy. We've given up on trying to make coffee come out of your USB port, so the best contribution will win a double espresso out of your speakers.
"What the hell are you doing in the bathroom all day and night? Why don't you get out of there and give someone else a chance?"

Igor (actually he was qoting his father) in Young Frankestein
D-Day: War's over, man. Wormer dropped the big one.
Bluto: Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
Otter: Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he's rolling.
Bluto: And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough...
[thinks hard]
Bluto: the tough get goin'! Who's with me? Let's go!
[runs out, alone; then returns]
Bluto: What the fuck happened to the Delta I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? "Ooh, we're afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble." Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I'm not gonna take this. Wormer, he's a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer...
Otter: Dead! Bluto's right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.
Bluto: We're just the guys to do it.
D-Day: Let's do it.
Bluto: LET'S DO IT!

Animal House

That paragraph has since beenused by untold multitudes to engage in all sorts of mishegahs.
I could include numerous colorful Putinisms, but I doubt they'll sound half as funny in English as they do in Russian...
Nothing truly historical here, more like whimsical.

For some reason, this line comes to mind: "The new phone books are here, the new phone books are here."

(Steve Martin in THE JERK)
"Ask NOT...what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
John Kennedy

"Give me Liberty or give me death."
Patrick Henry

"O say can you see..." Francis Scott Key

"May the Force be with you."
George Lucas
David, Jack and Irina: I'm delighted that we've developed such a robust and loyal peanut gallery. We could spend the rest of the thread quoting from Fletch, but that's not at all what I was going for. For your efforts, you will each find a stale bagel in your floppy drive. Thank you.

Wickwire: Great stuff! That's what I was going after. Thank you.

I'll even buy the Lucas quote, since in many ways, Episode 4 really did make movie history, though the quote I might pick from it is "A long time ago in a galaxy far far away..."

I'll leave the contest going for another day or two...
Torontopearl: Oh, sorry I missed you. Please feel included in my peanut gallery comment above.
I'd be remiss if I didn't include this one, although I could not cite its source, even if you paid me.

"This, too, shall pass."

It is such an all-encompassing statement, applicable to our private lives, our social lives, our family life, our work life.
"I'll be back"

"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

"The British are coming"

No attributions because if you don't know who said them, they clearly aren't that important.
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

"Godspeed, John Glenn."
Mission Control

"Some men see things as they re and say, 'Why?' I dream things that never were and say, 'Why Not?'"
Senator Ted Kennedy, paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw

"Let the word go forth from this time and place, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans."
I'll take Winston Churchill:

"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat."

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
"Let's roll." Todd Beamer
"Low Savings is my last name, Ms. America"--Senior Cardgage.

Oh, I guess you don't want Homestar Runner quotes.
what a fun post! I'll have to check my sources but how about:
"mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall"
"mission accomplished"
I'm telling you
birthing is hard
and dying is mean
so get yourself
a little loving
in between."
-langston hughes
(i think i'll include that in a post tonight, thanks for the inspiration)
A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues.

Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.

The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.

Teddy Roosevelt
Hey Dr. Charles, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad I gave my better half the link to your site, because anyone who thinks of Reagan and W when thinking of quotes must be a great guy!
Hey, I am really hungry and I have yet to see my stale bagel. What is with the unfulfilled promises.

Isn't there a Manhattan Bagel on Westwood Blvd. ;D
Torontopearl: I really have to believe that our regular commenters have been drinking a bit much on this thread. Were the directions so complicated, you guys? [shaking head]

Ball-and-chain: Now we're talking. The Governator. Ronaldus Maximus. Paul Revere. Good stuff!

Wickwire: That was Robert Kennedy, not Ted. I like the quotes though.

Q: Oh, ball-and-chain and I LOVE Churchill. If our fourth child was a boy, we probably would have named her Winston. Really.

Oven: That's great! I was trying to think of a 9/11 quote since that has been such a pivotal moment in our lifetimes. I was trying to think of a GWB quote, but, of course, Mr. Beamer's sentiment captures our response best. Sadly, as a Coffeehouser, you are a judge, not a contestant, so you win nothing.

Psychotoddler: See my response to Torontopearl at the start of this comment. I'm pretty sure we spilled some scotch into the cappuccino today. Can't I do a serious subject now and then? I promise to get back to fart jokes soon. OK?

Dr. Charles: Good stuff! I've never heard of Langston Hughes. A Reagan and a W quote! Really kissing up to the judges, aren't you? Or are you too new to know that we're crazy-right-wingers? Is it possible that you, a young physician blogger, are also conservative? My friends and I started this blog right before the most recent presidential election mostly to vent our political musings. Since then, we've drifted to plenty of other topics. I'm the only doctor here, but how many doctors does a coffeehouse need?

Jack: I like it. I like Teddy Roosevelt, but hadn't heard either of those quotes. The "never hit soft" quote pretty much crystallizes my views on foreign policy.

b&c: Thanks for meeting and greeting the new guests!

Jack: Here you go. Sorry for the wait. We've had some trouble with our cook.

Do the other Coffehousers have a vote for the winner? If not, I'll pick one tomorrow morning.
"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Ben Franklin

"United we stand, divided we fall"
(attributed to Aesop?)

"Chaverim kol yisrael" (liturgy)

(all on the same theme)
Mirty: Nice. Thanks. For those challenged with Hebrew (like me), Chaverim kol yisrael = all the children of Israel are friends. I particularly like that quote because it’s a perfect example of an ideal that is totally at odds with reality. All Jews should be friends, but I know of no group that is as quarrelsome as we.

Well, I’ve thought long and hard. First, I eliminated the other Coffeehousers (ball-and-chain and Oven). Then I eliminated those who didn’t follow instructions in any way. (You know who you are; and I still like you.) So the winner of the best short phrase that captures a specific time in history is…

[drum roll]

Winston Churchill "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." Offered by Q. Q, you may download your double espresso to your monitor here.

I thank everyone for their submissions, even the completely ridiculous ones!
Thank you, Dr. Bean! I had a little trouble sleeping last night — I'm sensitive to caffeine — but the double espresso was prepared to perfection.
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