December 07, 2015

“Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!”

On December 7, 1941 — which President Franklin D. Roosevelt would memorably name “a date which will live in infamy” on the following day — hundreds of Japanese warplanes made a deadly surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

When the crew of the heavy cruiser USS New Orleans rushed on deck they saw devastation all around them.

Not far away, a huge cloud of smoke was rising from the battleship USS Arizona and it was sinking.

Beyond the Arizona, the USS Oklahoma was rolling over. Sailors were jumping from its sides.

Another nearby battleship, the USS West Virginia, was badly damaged and sagging amidships.

The New Orleans was docked for repairs when the attack occurred. As usual during repairs, the ship’s electricity was temporarily coming through a power cable from the shore.

Soon after they came on deck, the crew began firing the cruiser’s guns at Japanese planes.

But when they needed more ammunition they discovered that the power cable to shore had been cut, making the electric ammunition hoist inoperable.

Undeterred, the men formed lines and began carrying the heavy shells to the guns by hand. As they did, ship chaplain Lieutenant Howell M. Forgy walked along the deck encouraging them, shouting “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!”

The Japanese pilots eventually flew away after sinking nine U.S. ships and damaging 21 others. Their attack killed 2,350 Americans, including 1,177 sailors on the USS Arizona.

The next day, America officially entered World War II.

In the months that followed, word spread about the memorable line shouted by a chaplain during the Pearl Harbor attack.

In some stories about the quote, the chaplain was unnamed.

In others, including a widely-read article in the

November 2, 1942 issue of LIFE magazine, he was identified as Captain W.A. Maguire — a senior Navy chaplain who outranked Forgy and was on a dock in Pearl Harbor that day.

According to the Life article, Maguire said he didn’t actually remember if he had shouted “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!” But he didn’t deny it.

Stories about the incident inspired American songwriter Frank Loesser to write a patriotic song that used “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!” as the title and chorus.

Loesser’s song was published in 1942, recorded by several artists and quickly became popular. The version by Kay Kyser and his band reached #1 on the pop singles chart in January 1943.

The LIFE article and the popularity of the song led the crew of the USS New Orleans to urge Chaplain Forgy to come forward and set the record straight about the fact that it was he — not Maguire — who said the now famous words.

At first, Forgy demurred, but eventually his shipmates persuaded him.

The officers of the USS New Orleans arranged a meeting with the press and the real story of this famous World War II quotation was finally revealed.

Chaplain Forgy made it through the war, returned to a civilian ministry and died in Glendora, California, in January 1972. His famous quote lives on.

In case you’ve never seen them, here are the lyrics of the song Forgy’s quote inspired, which opens with the chorus:

      Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition
      Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition
      Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition
      And we'll all stay free

      Praise the Lord and swing into position
      Can't afford to be a politician
      Praise the Lord, we're all between perdition
      And the deep blue sea

      Yes, the sky pilot said it, you gotta give him credit
      For a son of a gun of a gunner was he

      Shouting, 'Praise the Lord, we're on a mighty mission
      All aboard, we ain't a-goin' fishin'
      Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition
      And we'll all stay free'


*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading…

November 25, 2015

Queen Elizabeth’s “Annus Horribilis” and it’s ancestor, the “Annus Mirabilis”…

On November 24, 1992, Elizabeth II gave a speech in London to mark the 40th anniversary of her Accession as Queen of England and “the Commonwealth realms.”

The speech immediately became famous for her reference to the year 1992 as an “Annus Horribilis” — which means “horrible year” in Latin.

“1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure,” the Queen said. “In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an ‘Annus Horribilis.’ I suspect that I am not alone in thinking it so.”

There’s no doubt that the year 1992 was an unusually unpleasant one for Elizabeth and England’s Royal Family.

In March, it was announced that the Queen’s second son, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, would separate from his wife, Duchess Sarah Ferguson.

In April, her daughter Princess Anne divorced Captain Mark Phillips.

In May, the publication of the bombshell book Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words made it clear that the marriage between Elizabeth’s oldest son, Prince Charles, and Diana, “The People’s Princess,” was also on the rocks.

The book revealed that Charles had been having an affair with his old girlfriend, Camilla Parker-Bowles (who later became his second wife). It also disclosed how miserably unhappy Diana was with Charles and the way she had been treated by other members of the Royal Family.

In August, the Sun tabloid newspaper ran a story about the “Squidgygate” tapes — intimate conversations between Diana and former EastEnders actor James Gilbey (who called Diana by the affectionate nickname “Squidgy”).

Also in August, The Daily Mirror tabloid published photos of Duchess Sarah, topless, having her toes sucked by American financial tycoon John Bryan.

In September, the Sun revealed that Princess Diana may have had an affair with British Army officer James Hewitt.

In early November, The Daily Mirror revealed the “Camillagate” tapes: secretly recorded phone conversations between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles in which Charles said (among other embarrassing things) that he wanted to be Camilla’s tampon.

Then, on November 20, just four days before Queen Elizabeth’s speech, a fire broke out in Windsor Castle, the official Royal residence in London, destroying historic sections of the building.

Given all this, the Queen’s choice of the words “Annus Horribilis” is understandable. And, the fire at Windsor Castle made the phrase oddly ironic.

“Annus Horribilis” is a twist on an older phrase made famous by the British poet John Dryden.

In 1667, Dryden published a poem titled “Annus Mirabilis,” meaning “a year of miracles” (or marvels, or wonders) in Latin.

Dryden’s poem described several historic events that occurred in 1666.

First, it recounts a series of English victories in battles with the Dutch.

Then it talks about the Great Fire of London in September 1666. Although large areas of London were burned, the Great Fire was stopped before it destroyed the entire city.

Dryden took these events as signs that God had performed miracles to save England from destruction and looked fondly on the expansion of the British Empire — thus making 1666 an “Annus Mirabilis” in his view.

I don’t know if Queen Elizabeth’s description of 1992 as an “Annus Horribilis” a few days after the Windsor Castle fire was purposefully ironic. If so, I’d say she has a very dry sense of humor indeed.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading…

November 18, 2015

“Your eyes are full of hate, Forty-one.” ... In Ben-Hur, that's good.

Screenwriter, playwright and novelist Gore Vidal is linked to two famous quotations about whipping.

One is a funny quip about the old form of corporal punishment called “birching” (whipping someone with a bundle of birch tree rods):

       “I’m all for bringing back the birch, but only between consenting adults.”

This quote appears in many books of quotations and on many websites, generally without any source.

The Yale Book of Quotations has traced it to an article published in the UK Sunday Times Magazine on September 16, 1973.

The other quote about whipping Vidal is linked to is in the epic film Ben-Hur, which premiered in New York City on November 18, 1959.

Official credit for the screenplay of Ben-Hur was given to veteran screenwriter Karl Tunberg.

However, at the request of the film’s director, William Wyler, several other writers did extensive but uncredited rewriting, including Vidal and the famous playwrights Maxwell Anderson and Christopher Fry.

A quote in Ben-Hur that's often cited by movie buffs and books is from a scene in the galley of a Roman warship.

At this point in the film Judah Ben-Hur, played by Charlton Heston, is galley slave.

He's chained there with dozens of other sweating, near-naked men who row the ship.

The Roman naval commander Quintus Arrius, played by British actor Jack Hawkins, comes down into the galley to inspect the slaves.

He asks Heston, who he calls by his seat number – Forty-one – how long he’d been “in service.” 

Heston glares at Hawkins and says with a clear tone of hatred that he’d served a month less a day on the current ship and three years in others.

Hawkins seems to ignore Heston’s tone and walks on.

Suddenly, he turns around and lashes Heston on the back with the multi-stranded whip he’s carrying. (Called a flagrum in Latin.)

Heston rears up and looks menacingly at Hawkins. Hawkins looks down at him coolly and remarks: “You have the spirit to fight back, but the good sense to control it.”

Then he says:

“Your eyes are full of hate, Forty-one. That's good. Hate keeps a man alive. It gives him strength.”

It’s not certain that Gore Vidal was the writer who contributed those famous words to the script.

It could have been Tunberg, Anderson or Fry.

However, given Gore’s sexual preference (he was openly gay long before it was as acceptable as it is today), and given his oft-quoted quip about mutual birch lashings by consenting adults, Gore seems like he might have a special flair for writing a scene that included sweaty, scantily-clad men and a whip.

In fact, Gore claimed to have purposely put a homosexual subtext into the movie's script in its depiction of the relationship between Ben-Hur and Messala, played by Stephen Boyd.

Messala is a Roman. Ben-Hur is a Jew (who later becomes a Christian). They both grew up in Jerusalem in wealthy households and were close childhood friends. Messala left to pursue a career as a soldier. Years later he is sent back to Jerusalem as a commander of the Roman troops stationed in the city.

When Ben-Hur and Messala see each other again for the first time in years, it's a happy and warm reunion.

Gore recalled discussing the nature of their friendship with director William Wyler in an interview in the excellent 1996 documentary The Celluloid Closet.

“I said, ‘Well, look, let me try something. Let’s say that these two guys when they were 15 or 16...they had been lovers and now they’re meeting again and the Roman wants to start it up...Willie stared at me, face grey. And, I said, ‘I’ll never use the word; there will be nothing overt, but it will be perfectly clear that Messala is in love with Ben-Hur.’ Willie said, ‘Gore, this is Ben-Hur, A Tale of the Christ I think is the subtitle,’ he said, rather vaguely, looking around. And Willie finally said, ‘Well, it's certainly better than what we've got. We'll try it.’”

Wyler later denied this conversation with Gore ever took place.

Either way, once you know about the anecdote, it’s hard to not to think of it when you watch the scene in Ben-Hur when the two childhood friends see each other again after years apart and give each other a long, warm hug.

Of course, as the plot progresses Ben-Hur and Messala become arch enemies. They have their final showdown in the famed chariot race near the end of the movie. In that sequence of scenes, the whipping is done to the horses.

Most viewers of the movie may not give it any thought. But I see it as a reflection of mankind's age-old cruelty to animals, especially knowing that nearly 100 horses died during the shooting of the movie.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading and viewing…

November 11, 2015

How “God Bless America” created a musical duel between Woody Guthrie and Irving Berlin

In 1917, during World War I, American songwriter Irving Berlin was drafted into the U.S. Army.

He was already a successful songwriter at that point, known for huge hits like “Alexander's Ragtime Band” (1911) and “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody” (1915).

Berlin was stationed at Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York. Not long after he arrived, an officer asked if he’d be willing to write a musical show for the soldiers at the base to perform.

Berlin agreed and composed a set of songs for a musical he called Yip-Yip-Yaphank.

He wrote at least eight songs for the show. They included “Oh, How I Hate To Get Up in the Morning,” which later became a hugely popular hit, and several now-forgotten songs, like “Mandy” (a minstrel-style song performed by soldiers in drag and blackface).

One notable song Berlin wrote for Yip-Yip-Yaphank that didn’t make it into the show was titled “God Bless America.” 

Before the musical was performed in July 1918, Berlin decided “God Bless America” was “too solemn.” So, he cut it from the song list, stored his written copy away and forgot about it for twenty years.

Then, in 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s attempt to appease Adolf Hitler and prevent a second world war ended up bringing the song to light.

Irving Berlin happened to be in London when Chamberlain announced that he and Hitler had signed the “Anglo-German Pact of Friendship,” or “Munich Agreement.” That pact permitted Nazi Germany to annex the part of Czechoslovakia called Sudetenland in return for Hitler’s supposed promise to refrain from any further land grabs and remain at peace with other European countries.

Chamberlain optimistically proclaimed that the agreement had secured “peace for our time.”

Chamberlain’s remark inspired Berlin. He told a friend he wanted to write “a great peace song,” a patriotic song that celebrated America at peace.

After a couple of false starts, Berlin recalled his abandoned song from Yip-Yip-Yaphank. He made some edits to the lyrics and ended up with the song as we know it today. It starts with these familiar lines:

       “God bless America,
       Land that I love,
       Stand beside her and guide her
       Through the night with a light from above.
       From the mountains to the prairies,
       To the oceans white with foam,
       God bless America,
       My home sweet home.”

Berlin gave his patriotic “peace song” to renowned American singer Kate Smith for its initial unveiling.

She debuted it on her popular radio show on November 11, 1938 — the 20th anniversary of Armistice Day, the commemoration of the peace agreement that ended World War I.

Ultimately (and infamously) Chamberlain’s attempt to appease Hitler failed to prevent World War II.

However, “God Bless America” quickly became a major hit, a signature song for Smith and the unofficial American national anthem.

It also rubbed activist-folksinger Woody Guthrie the wrong way.

Irving Berlin and Kate Smith were rich and famous celebrities.

Woody Guthrie was a vocal advocate for low-income Americans and was a poor man himself. He knew from first-hand experience that life in America wasn’t so sweet for most people in late 1930s — the height of the Great Depression.

He felt America needed an anthem for those common folk, instead of a mawkish one that seemed to just wave the flag and ignore the economic problems millions of Americans faced.

So, in 1940, Guthrie wrote a song responding to “God Bless America.” He originally titled it “God Blessed America.”

In the original lyrics, he ended each verse with the words “God blessed America for me.”

And the original last verse had a sardonic twist:

       “One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple
       By the Relief Office I saw my people,
       As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering
       If God blessed America for me.”

Over the next few years, Guthrie reworked the lyrics of the song. It still reflected the viewpoint of working class Americans. But he gave it a more positive spin, changed the line used at the end of the verses and retitled it.

Guthrie recorded that version of the song in 1944. You’ll probably recognize it immediately from the first verse:

“This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.”

That’s right. Woody Guthrie’s well-known song “This Land is Your Land” started out as “God Blessed America,” his musical answer to Irving Berlin. And, ironically, it is now almost as famous and iconic as Berlin’s song “God Bless America.”

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook Page.

Related listening and reading…

November 09, 2015

“Business as usual”

It’s not uncommon to see credible sources claim that the phrase “business as usual” was coined by Winston Churchill.

For example, a glossary of World War I words and phrases on the BBC website says: “Business as Usual: Phrase coined by Churchill to suggest how British society should react to the wartime situation.”

Even some history books, such as A History of the World from the 20th to the 21st Century by J.A.S. Grenville, make that claim.

The truth is, Churchill helped popularize the phrase but he didn’t coin it.

It began appearing in newspapers and books as far back as the mid-1700s (as shown by this search using Google Ngram, a research tool that shows the appearance of words or phrases in thousands of digitized books).

The original use was literal. When a store reopened after some unusual event, like a fire, the owner would put up a sign saying “Open for business as usual.” Or, on some unofficial holiday, newspapers might report that banks would be open for business as usual.

Churchill’s use came early in World War I. On August 4, 1914, Great Britain officially that bloody fray by declaring war on Germany. At the time, Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty, a top position in the British Navy.

He and other British military leaders, politicians and businessmen initially assumed that Germany could be defeated quickly with Britain’s existing naval and army forces. Thus, they felt there was no need for a mass recruitment of volunteers or other actions that would disrupt the country’s labor force and economy. Indeed, they argued against any such government “interference” on the home front.

On the day war was declared, British Cabinet Minister David Lloyd George met with a group of bankers and assured them that the policy of the British government was “to enable the traders of this country to carry on business as usual.”

Many prominent businessmen heartily endorsed that policy and began repeating “business as usual” as a slogan.

For example, Henry E.  Morgan, who worked as both an executive for the W.H. Smith publishing company and as an advertising consultant to retail store magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge, used it in a letter to the editor published in the Daily Chronicle on August 11, 1914. Some sources have wrongly credited Morgan with coining the phrase.

Around that time, Selfridge adopted “business as usual” as his catchphrase and he is often credited with coining it. Meanwhile, Harrods department store chain also began using the phrase in newspaper advertisements, leading some sources to credit Harrods with launching the phrase. Soon, other stores and shops began displaying “Business As Usual” signs to show their support for the government’s “non-interference” policy.

Winston Churchill further popularized the phrase by using it a speech he gave on November 9, 1914. As noted by many books of quotations, Churchill said in that speech:

“The British people have taken for themselves this motto – ‘Business carried on as usual during alterations on the map of Europe.’”

This “non-interference” policy was fully embraced by the British government under Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, as David Lloyd George told the bankers in August. Unfortunately, it turned out to be far too optimistic.

By 1915, the UK was forced to recruit hundreds of thousands of volunteers and in 1916 imposed a draft on single men aged 18 to 41. This soon led to serious labor shortages and other disruptions of the economy.

Churchill’s use of “business as usual” during World War I was remembered and repurposed during World War II, when he served as Prime Minister and lead Great Britain in it’s fight against Nazi Germany.

The famed speeches Churchill made during those years are known for their combination of defiance and hope.

In the early 1940s, when German planes were making devastating nightly bombing raids on London, store owners put up homemade notices and signs on their bombed shops that said “Business As Usual.” Like the speeches Churchill gave during World War II, they were a message of both defiance and hope.

In the decades following World War II, the phrase has been used to mean maintaining the status quo, sometimes in a matter of fact way but often with a negative connotation.

For example, in 1962, the famed “Port Huron Statement” adopted by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) condemned the typical college campus as “a place of commitment to business-as-usual.”

The following year, the phrase was used in a similar negative way by civil rights leader, Martin Luther King.

In his moving “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963 in Washington D.C., King said of the race riots that had recently swept America’s urban areas:

“Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.”

Today, “business as usual” continues to be used in both a positive and negative sense and as sarcasm, making it an unusually flexible idiomatic expression.

*     *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading and listening…

October 27, 2015

“Not fade away…”

[An updated version of a previous post. Thanks to the readers who emailed corrections to me.]

On October 27, 1957, American Rockabilly and rock music pioneer Buddy Holly and his band the Crickets released their second 45 rpm single, as a follow-up to their first smash hit “Peggy Sue.” This new single featured “Oh Boy” on one side and “Not Fade Away” on the other.

“Not Fade Away” was actually the “B” side of the record. But it eventually became more widely known.

It’s a classic rock ode with a Bo Diddley beat about a guy whose love for a girl is “bigger than a Cadillac” – a love, the guy claims, that’s real and “not fade away.”

Holly was killed in a tragic plane crash a little over a year after “Not Fade Away” was released. (The date of his death, February 3, 1959, was memorably called “the day the music died” by Don McLean in his 1971 hit song “American Pie.”)

Although Holly’s song popularized “not fade away” as a hip phrase, it had been used in literature as far back as the early 1800s.

And, it’s likely a vernacular echo of an earlier phrase found in the King James Version of the Bible: “fadeth not away.”

In I Peter 5, Saint Peter, the apostle of Jesus who is considered to be the first Pope of the Catholic Church, gives some advice to leaders of the growing number of Christian congregations.

Among other things, he tells them they need to take care of their flocks and set good examples for them.

If they do, he explains, they will be rewarded with a crown of glory that won’t fade away when Jesus returns in the Second Coming to take true believers to heaven.

In verse I Peter 5:2-4 of the King James Version of the Bible, Peter’s words are given like this:

     “…Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

Of course, no one says “fadeth not away” nowadays unless they are quoting the Bible.

But the phrase “not fade away” is heard fairly often.

My favorite recent example was its use as the title of an episode of the AMC Network TV show “Fear the Walking Dead.”

And, in the decades since Buddy Holly’s death, the song “Not Fade Away” has certainly not, well, faded away.

It has been covered by many other great musicians and bands, including Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, The Byrds, Tom Petty, James Taylor, Sheryl Crow and the Grateful Dead.

For more background on the song, see the in-depth post about it on the American Songwriter website.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Back in 2009, on the day when I was writing the first draft of this post, I heard that William Safire had died. Safire's “On Language” column in the New York Times Magazine and his many excellent books about the origins of famous quotations and phrases that grew out of it were among the inspirations that led me to create this blog. He was one of the great quote mavens of our time. May his legacy not fade away.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook group.

Related listening and reading…

October 21, 2015

The day Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” made the earth move…

On October 21, 1940,
Ernest Hemingway’s novel For Whom the Bell Tolls was first published by Charles Scribner's Sons.

It’s a classic war story about an American, Robert Jordan, who goes to Spain to fight with anti-Fascist rebels during the Spanish Civil War. Along the way, he falls in love with a rebel girl named Maria.

The title of the novel is taken from a famous line written by British poet John Donne: “...never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” 

Those oft-quoted words are from Donne’s book Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, published in 1624. They come at the end of a passage that includes another famous quote by Donne: “No man is an island.”

Hemingway’s novel For Whom the Bell Tolls was a huge bestseller that generated some famous lines of its own.

The first comes in Chapter 7. As Robert and Maria are about to kiss for the first time, Maria asks the somewhat unbelievably naïve question: “Where do the noses go?”

That quote was immortalized by the immensely popular 1943 film adaptation of the book, in which Ingrid Bergman, as Maria, says it to Gary Cooper, playing Robert Jordan.

In Chapter 13 of the novel, there’s another famous quote: “But did thee feel the earth move?” (Hemingway used “thee” and other antiquated terms of speech in the novel supposedly as a way of translating what was being said in Spanish.)

Jordan poses this question to Maria after they have sex. According to a flowery previous paragraph describing their coupling, it did move for Jordan. He supposedly “felt the earth move out and away from under them.”

Maria answers Jordan’s question in the affirmative. Later, when one of the rebel leaders asks Maria if something happened between her and Jordan, she says simply: “The earth moved.”

When the novel was published in 1940, the use of the phrase “feel the earth move” was not a yet a humorous reference to enjoyable sex.

But the use of the phrase in both the book and the movie made it familiar enough to make it that – and to give songwriter-singer Carol King the title and refrain of her hit song “I Feel the Earth Move” (1971).

In Chapter 43 of For Whom the Bell Tolls, there’s another oft-quoted line: “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.”

It’s included in many books of quotations and one of its many admirers is Senator John McCain. He used the variation Worth the Fighting For as the title of his autobiographical book published in 2003.

Ironically, McCain’s campaign nemesis, President Barack Obama has named Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls as one of the books that have inspired him.  

I live near Key West, where Ernest Hemingway lived from late 1920s to the late 1930s.

He worked on some of his most famous novels and stories there, including For Whom the Bell Tools, A Farewell To Arms, To Have and Have Not and the short story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.”

Hemingway’s former house in Key West, now the Hemingway Home and Museum, is a big tourist attraction that is famous for the dozens of “polydactyl” (six- and seven-toed) cats that hang out there.

They’re descendants of the polydactyl cats Hemingway had there in the Thirties.

As a Keys resident, I should probably like Ernest Hemingway more than I do. But the truth is his books and stories never really made the earth move for me.

Plus, I’m just not macho enough to appreciate the fine arts of bullfighting, big game hunting and killing beautiful big fish – three of Hemingway’s favorite sports.

Nor do I find it easy to overlook the way he treated his wives, lovers and kids.

But I really like his polydactyl cats.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading…

October 13, 2015

“There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.”

It’s difficult to pigeonhole Teddy Roosevelt.

He was a Republican for most of his political career, including his two terms as President of the United States from 1901 to 1909.

Then, in 1912, he decided the Republican Party had become too cozy with big corporate interests.

So he left the GOP and founded the Progressive Party (nicknamed “the Bull Moose Party” after Roosevelt told reporters he was fit to run for president again and feeling as “strong as a bull moose”).

Some of statements Teddy uttered during his long political career make sound him like a right-wing conservative. Some make him sound like a left-wing liberal.

On October 12, 1915, he gave a controversial speech to the Knights of Columbus in New York City that managed to combine Tea Party-style anti-immigrant rhetoric with comments that FOX News commentators would likely attack as liberal, anti-business and soft on the issue of illegal aliens.

This was the speech that launched the famous and still controversial term “hyphenated American.”

“There is no room in this country,” Roosevelt bellowed, “for hyphenated Americanism…German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans. There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else.”

Those words sound like something Rush Limbaugh or Donald Trump might say.

And, many conservatives would certainly applaud the part of the speech in which Roosevelt said immigrants to the United States should be required to learn English.

They might find it harder to embrace other parts of Roosevelt’s “hyphenated Americans” speech.

Like the part when he said:

“Any discrimination against aliens is a wrong, for it tends to put the immigrant at a disadvantage and to cause him to feel bitterness and resentment during the very years when he should be preparing himself for American citizenship. If an immigrant is not fit to become a citizen, he should not be allowed to come here. If he is fit, he should be given all the rights to earn his own livelihood, and to better himself, that any man can have.”

This speech and others that Roosevelt gave on immigration and immigrants continue to generate controversy.

People on both sides of the current debate over “illegal aliens” have used excerpts from his speeches to support their views.

Ironically, there’s an element of truth to both uses of his quotes — because it’s just as difficult to pigeonhole Teddy Roosevelt today as it was when he was alive.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

NOTE TO HISTORY BUFFS: You can read the story the New York Times published on October 13, 1915 about Roosevelt’s “hyphenated Americans” speech by clicking this link.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading…

Copyrights, Disclaimers & Privacy Policy

Copyright © Subtropic Productions LLC

All original text written for the This Day in Quotes quotations blog is copyrighted by the Subtropic Productions LLC and may not be used without permission, except for short "fair use" excerpts or quotes which, if used, must be attributed to and, if online, must include a link to

To the best of our knowledge, the non-original content posted here is used in a way that is allowed under the fair use doctrine. If you own the copyright to something posted here and believe we may have violated fair use standards, please let us know.

Subtropic Productions LLC and is committed to protecting your privacy. For more details, read this blog's full Privacy Policy.