15 Political and Pop-Culture Figures From Yesteryear With an Acerbic Sense of Humor

History textbooks could be so much fun, if we let them
15 Political and Pop-Culture Figures From Yesteryear With an Acerbic Sense of Humor

Let Theodore Roosevelt be a lesson to us all: getting shot in the chest in front of a huge crowd is no excuse for losing your sense of humor.

20th Century Writer and Actor Aldo Cammarota’s Foolproof Calendar Reminder

“If you want to be sure that you never forget your wife’s birthday, just try forgetting it once.”

It Appears to Be a Riff on an Old German Saying; Regardless, Mark Twain Hated Cincinnati

“If the world was ending, I would move to Cincinnati, because everything there happens 20 years later.”

‘Silent Cal’ Coolidge Making Good on His Nickname at a Fancy Dinner

Dorothy Parker: Mr. Coolidge, I’ve made a bet against a fellow who said it was impossible to get more than two words out of you.

Calvin Coolidge: You lose.

Abraham Lincoln, When Told That General Grant Was Constantly Pounding Whiskey

“Tell me what brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”

Holy Roman Emperor Charles V Was a Proudly Multilingual Man

“I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men and German to my horse.”

The Last Words of Dominique Bouhours, Essayist, Grammarian and Dedicated Pedant

“I am about to — or I am going to — die. Either expression is correct.”

Attributed to Greek Historian Thucydides

“A collision at sea can ruin your entire day.”

Winston Churchill’s Failson Political Heir Once Had a Benign Growth Removed, Prompting Writer Evelyn Waugh to Say…

“How typical of doctors to find the one part of Randolph’s body which is not malignant and to cut it out.”

Longtime Radio Host Jay Trachman Said, in So Many Words, Pobody’s Nerfect

“Never criticize your spouse’s faults; if it weren’t for them, your mate might have found someone better than you.”

Thomas Edison’s Wisdom Rings True, Whether Properly Quoted or Not

A quote commonly attributed to him is: “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” But a biography from 1910 quotes him as saying: “I have gotten a lot of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work.”

French Governor Count Frontenac to an English Officer, Kicking Off the Battle of Quebec in Style

“I have no reply to make to your general other than from the mouths of my cannons and muskets.”

Phyllis Diller on How to Maintain a Happy Marriage:

“Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.”

From Seneca’s ‘Apocolocyntosis,’ Describing the (Possibly Lightly Editorialized) Last Words of the Emperor Claudius

“The last words he was heard to speak in this world were these. When he had made a great noise with that end of him which talked easiest, he cried out, ‘Oh dear, oh dear! I think I have made a mess of myself.’”

Claudius was poisoned, so it’s possible this is how it went down.

Two Astronauts Played a Goof on Mission Control a Few Days Before Christmas 1956

“We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, probably in polar orbit… Looks like he might be going to re-enter soon… I see a command module and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit.”

Theodore Roosevelt, After Getting Shot in Public

“Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot. But it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose!”

He then pulled his speech out of his pocket: “Fortunately I had my manuscript. So you see I was going to make a long speech, and there is a bullet — there is where the bullet went through — and it probably saved me from it going into my heart. The bullet is in me now, so I cannot make a very long speech, but I will try my best.”

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