Category Archives: quotent quotables

Who Said What to Whom?

Starting pretty early on in my 13 years of Jewish Day School education, I had to take Bible quizzes where I confronted the question, “Mi amar l’mi?” which translates roughly to, “Who said what to whom?”  So, like, if the quote was, “Lech l’cha m’artzecha …” (Or, more recognizably, in English, Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you) the answer would be, “God to Abraham.”

Most characters in the Bible sound alike, the way main characters in Woody Allen movies do*, so the test was more about remembering context than about identifying, say, our matriarch Rebecca by her sophisticated use of metaphor.

I think about this old memory test sometimes when I come across great quotes out in the wide world of the Internets. And so I present to you a pop cultural and political version of the old JDS standby: Who Said What to Whom? Except in this case, I think it’s more fun to answer, Who Said What ABOUT Whom? Bonus points for being able to identify the medium from which the quote comes.

No penalty for guessing; you can’t be more wrong than most of the people either being quoted or being spoken about. But no cheating. God, and my aged 2nd grade Hebrew teacher, is watching.

#1) “He was a one-man-band who rarely took advice.”

#2) “Ryan Gosling didn’t get an Academy nomination? There’s some bullshit right there.”

#3) “His actions have made it look like people in Texas are absolute fools. I always thought he was foolish and then the more he talked, the more doubt he removed.”

#4) “By the end of my second term we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American.”

#5) “Crying is one of the great pleasures of moviegoing, but tears can be cheap. … And, yes, you may cry, but when tears are milked as they are here, the truer response should be rage.”


*Which could give you a hint, if you were inclined to take it, about the collator or creator of these stories, but that’s beside the point.

Choice Quotes for a Choice Season

Let’s get some happiness going! Right? It is, after all, the season of joy and giving and stuffing and family and light and gifts and puns — the holly-jolly-days! And if I am not full on in the spirit of things, I may as well pretend!

To get us started, here are some amazing quotes from today’s internets:

“At one point, Mr. Hatch unbuttons his white dress shirt to expose the golden mezuzah necklace he wears every day. Mezuzahs also adorn the doorways of his homes in Washington and Utah. Mr. Hatch keeps a Torah in his Senate office.

“Not a real Torah, but sort of a mock Torah,” he said. {NYT}

Is a mock Torah anything like a mock turtle, or a mock turtleneck? As we ponder, let us read on:

“It makes me sad sometimes, but I don’t care because I try not to think about it. Sometimes your dreams get crushed but you just keep going.” {NYT}

This one is beyond mocking. (Although, ha ha! See what I did there?)

If you can see with those tears in your eyes, check out this Jewish version of Lady Gaga, singing “Bad Shiksa“:

Key takeaway, in case you can’t watch videos at work:
I’m your Bad Shiksa

I want your horah
I kvell for your kiss
I want that scrap of skin you lost at your bris
I want your love
(Love-love-love I want your love)

I’ll dress up jappy, I’ll dress up all frum
I’ll call you Shabbos and pretend I’m your mom
I want your love
I want your love
(Love-love-love I want your love)

You know that I want Jews
(’Cause I’m a trayf bitch baby! )
I’m just a bad, I’m a Bad Shiksa

Beat that, Orrin Hatch.


Can stress make you clumsier? In the last couple days, I’ve dropped things, stumbled, spilled water on a friend, cut myself in a very sensitive region, and nearly gotten hit by a car. The worst incident came at the end of my second interview yesterday. I bid farewell to the nice crowd of people who had been quizzing me, then strode gracefully through the lobby and straight into a glass door.

“Oh!” gasped the three women nearby. “Are you okay?”

I was, luckily. Nothing was broken: not my nose, not the glass. I did however leave a perfect kiss on the door, as though I’d planted it there on purpose.

In general I am not a klutz, because I am neurotic about not hurting myself. Even when I kid, I just sort of knew: Do this, and you could die; and as you don’t want to die ere you become a famous writer, leave ice skating / roller coasters / black diamond slopes to the masses of future unknowns (or future deads). The closest I’ve come to a broken anything is when I twisted my ankle before my debut as Tzeitel in my 7th grade production of Fiddler on the Roof.

My mom took me to the ER, where a nervous young doctor fussed over me for a while and then finally took an x-ray. Several minutes later, he tracked me down in the waiting room and said, “I’m sorry, I messed up. Can we try again?”

The second time was also a flop, and he looked more pale as he asked for a third go-round. But when he came out the last time, he looked like he had just seen the Ghost of Christmas Future and it had told him his fate was to end up a dentist. He gestured for me to follow him to a corner a discreet distance from everyone else.

“You’re not pregnant, are you?” he asked the thirteen-year-old me.

“Um, no,” I said, wondering what the hell the x-ray had shown.

“Phew!” he said, the color flooding back to his cheeks. “Because we would have killed the baby.”

Speaking of both clumsiness and inept professionals, the Daily News reports that an Arkansas state senator named Hedren has made an art of putting his foot in his mouth. First he called Chuck Shumer “that Jew.” Now he’s trying to make things right in the most hilarious way possible:

Defending himself again to the Arkansas News, Hendren went further, saying he didn’t know why the words “that Jew” came out of his mouth. He added that there is a Jewish person he admires — Jesus. He’s also partial to Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman.

quotes quiz!

Here’s a quiz that I saw on the Face and I thought it would be more fun to do it here. Below are 15 quotes from 15 of my favorite movies, and you try to guess which movie each comes from. NO GOOGLING and no using IMDB.

Whoever can guess the most wins a prize of my own devising.

1. “Remember, honey, on your wedding night, it’s all right to say ‘yes.'” Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

2. “I’ve been thinking with my gut since I was fourteen years old, and I’ve come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains.” High Fidelity

3. “What ain’t no country I’ve ever heard of. They speak English in What?” Pulp Fiction

4. “Street slang is an increasingly valid form of expression. Most of the feminine pronouns do have mocking, but not necessarily misogynistic undertones.” Clueless

5. “He owns the police!” Chinatown

6. “Is that your blood?” “Some of it, yeah.” Fight Club

7. “2,000 years of glorious history from Moses to Sandy Koufax — you’re damn right I’m living in the past!” Big Lebowski

8. “Who knows where thoughts come from? They just appear.” Empire Records

9. “You sure have a way with people.” “Well, they’re my species!” Harold & Maude

10. “If you hold back anything, I’ll kill ya. If you bend the truth or I think you’re bending the truth, I’ll kill ya. If you forget anything, I’ll kill ya. In fact, you’re gonna have to work very hard to stay alive.” Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels

11. “In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love — they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” The Third Man

12. “Is butter a carb?” “Yes.” Mean Girls

13. “A faceless man rips off your clothes, and that’s the sex fantasy you’ve been having since you were twelve?” “Well, sometimes I vary it a little.” “Which part?” “What I’m wearing.” WHMS

14. “Technically speaking, the operation is brain damage, but it’s on a par with a night of heavy drinking. Nothing you’ll miss.” ESoTSM

15. “Wallace Beery. Wrestling picture. What do you need, a roadmap?” Barton Fink

BTW, Sorry for that last post, guys. It just kind of slipped out. Maybe it was the product of one of those “runners highs” I’ve heard so much about.

What Not To Say

Did you hear about this hilarious Republican congressman who compared to Obama to Hitler? Yeah, he wishes he hadn’t done that:

Republican Paul Broun is sorry for calling President-elect Barack Obama a ‘Marxist’ and comparing him to Adolph Hitler, the Georgia Congressman said Tuesday.

“I regret putting it that way,” he told WGAC radio in Augusta, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I apologize to anyone who has taken offense at that.”

He also called Obama “liberal.” Since Communists hated liberals, liberals hated Nazis, and Nazis hated Communists, in one breath, Broun has taken history and bent it into an infinity symbol. It would literally make more sense for me to compare Broun to Stalin because they are both from Georgia.

Sarah Palin has me shaking my head in mock-admiration, also:

“But not me personally were those cheers for,” she said to Ms. Van Susteren in an interview shown Monday night on Fox News. “But it was just for the representation of a woman on the ticket, a mom, somebody who loves this country so much, somebody very, very committed to policies that I believe will progress this country in the right direction.”

Dan Savage got a lesson in What Not To Say after he blamed blacks for the passing of Prop 8. Though they did come out en masse for Obama and, while there, pull the lever to ban gay marriage, King Nate Silver has absolved them of any kind of responsibility: there just aren’t enough African-Americans in CA for them to have made a decisive difference. Savage on Colbert last night acknowledged this, shifting his ire to “old people,” who, as he pointed out, “are dying, which is some comfort.” Okay, Dan! You’re getting there!

On the other side of this debate, there are the comments on this topic from The Root that draw from the word of God to give their opinions legitimacy:

just because we accept people for the color of their skin, which is actually something that the Bible teaches us to do, does not mean we should let two people of the same sex get married, which the Bible vividly prohibits. … this country was founded on the principals of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus and to confuse loving thy fellow man with telling him it’s o.k. for him to marry another man is not what this country is supposed to be about.


Interracial marriage should have never been an issue but was an issue with this country but because of prejudice it was. God never condemned interracial marriage but does condemn same sex marriage. I just hope and pray that this country stands for what is right in the site of God. God defines marriage is between a man and a woman, not between two women or two men. When it comes to immoral issues it is wrong. Again interracial marriage is not a moral issues but gay marriage is. Let us understand that there is a difference between the two. If anyone having problem with that person is having a problem with God.

Again with the wrongness. Opponents of intermarriage absolutely thought — and still think — they had Jesus on their side. I mean, Deuteronomy, dude: Deuteronomy 7:3-4: ‘You shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughter to his son, and you shall not take his daughter for your son, for he will cause your child to turn away from after Me and they will worship the gods of others then the L–rd’s wrath will burn against you, and He will destroy you quickly.’

Of course, that’s silly, cuz that Old Testament God is only talking to Jews there and the passage is specifically about religion, not race. He wanted a strictly limited gene pool for His chosen people, possibly because He wasn’t paying attention in high school genetics class, and also because He’s a jealous, overbearing God who likes to make rules. Whatevs.

The judge who ruled in the Loving case in 1958 also said, “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no case for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did intend for the races to mix.”

Sure! And the fact that He gave us Barack Obama shows us that He knows the fabulous results mixing can have.

In short, this is all bullshit. Can’t we just admit that the idea of Group X getting it on with Group Y squicks out Group Z, where Group Z is those who aren’t in on the fun? Let’s leave religion out of it.

anonymous was a witty guy

It is a truth universally acknowledged that no really good quip can go unattributed. Any witty or wise quote with staying power must be tied to some great wit, usually dead, usually Winston Churchill or Oscar Wilde. Sometimes Dorothy Parker benefits from this phenomenon: for a long time, I assumed she was the one who said, “Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker.” (It was Ogden Nash.) What are the odds I’m the only one?

I just learned that that famous flip line about politics, “Anyone who is under 40 and a Conservative has no heart; anyone who is over 40 and a Liberal has no brains,” is an orphan, albeit one as sought after as Little Orphan Annie. People as disparate as Wendell Wilkie, George Bernard Shaw, and Otto Van Bismarck are reported to have coined the phrase.

I would have sworn it was Churchill.