January 8: Humor

January 8

One problem with gazing too frequently into the past is that we may turn around to find the future has run out on us.
~Michael Cibenko

A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.
~Sidney J. Harris

Don’t panic!
~Arthur C. Clarke, when asked “If you could tell people one thing, just one thing, what would that be?” [from interview published in The Futurist, July-Aug 2008]

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January 8: L’Epitaphe Villon: Ballade Des Pendus

L’Epitaphe Villon: Ballade Des Pendus

(Villon’s Epitaph: Ballad of the Hanged Men)


My brothers who live after us,

Don’t harden your hearts against us too,

If you have mercy now on us,

God may have mercy upon you.


Five, six, you see us, hung out to view.

When the flesh that nourished us well

Is eaten piecemeal, ah, see it swell,

And we, the bones, are dust and gall,

Let no one make fun of our ill,

But pray that God absolves us all.


No need, if we cry out to you, brothers,

To show disdain, if we’re in suspense

For justice’s sake. How few of the others

Are men equipped with common sense.


Pray for us, now beyond violence,

To the Son of the Virgin Mary,

So of grace to us she’s not chary,

Shields us from Hell’s lightning fall.

We’re dead: the souls let no man harry,

But pray that God absolves us all.


The rain has soaked us, washed us: skies

Of hot suns blacken us, scorch us: crows

And magpies have gouged out our eyes,

Plucked at our beards and our eyebrows.


There’s never a moment’s rest allowed:

Now here, now there, the changing breeze

Swings us, as it wishes, ceaselessly,

Beaks pricking us more than a cobbler’s awl.


So don’t you join our fraternity,


But pray that God absolves us all.

Prince Jesus, who has all sovereignty,

Preserve us from Hell’s mastery.


We’ve no business down there at all.

Men, you’ve no time for mockery.

But pray to God to absolve us all.


(Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2004 All Rights Reserved
This work may be freely reproduced, stored, and transmitted, electronically or otherwise, for any non-commercial purpose.)

January 8: “This Side of Calvin” by Phyllis McGinley

“This Side of Calvin” by Phyllis McGinley

The Reverend Dr. Harcourt, folk agree,
Nodding their heads in solid satisfaction,
Is just the man for this community.
Tall, young, urbane, but capable of action,
He pleases where he serves. He marshals out
The younger crowd, lacks trace of clerical unction,
Cheers the Kiwanis and the Eagle Scout,
Is popular at every public function,

And in the pulpit eloquently speaks
On divers matters with both wit and clarity:
Art, Education, God, the Early Greeks,
Psychiatry, Saint Paul, true Christian charity,
Vestry repairs that shortly must begin—
All things but Sin. He seldom mentions Sin.

January 8: Humor

January 8



Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.

~Jonathan Swift, Essay on the Faculties of the Mind


The law will never make a man free; it is men who have got to make the law free.

~Henry David Thoreau


Henry David Thoreau



Only Lawyers and mental defectives are automatically exempt from jury duty.

~George Bernard Shaw