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Inspirational Quotes

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I just printed this, nurkerool.  That is awesome.


Thank you.  I read this in a "Reader's Digest" when I was in college.  I showed it to Mom and Dad, who then incorporated it into their wills and later, living wills.  BTW, a subscription to the Reader's Digest is one of the very best gifts you can give to a youngster who's a reader.  I developed an early interest in EVERYTHING from the articles therein.


From a Dear Abby Column (about 1995):


Dear Readers: I recently learned from Bruce B. Conway, president of The Living Bank, that Robert N. Test died last fall. Test was one of the pioneers in promoting organ and tissue donations.


In 1976, he wrote an essay titled "To Remember Me." It was first published in The Cincinnati Post and later in Ann Landers' column and mine, as well as in Reader's Digest.


Some years ago, I met Robert Test and was surprised to find a shy, middle-aged man who seemed embarrassed by all of the attention he was getting for a "little essay." He said he had written it during his lunch break. He told me he had only a high school education and wrote "for the fun of it."

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Here's some awesome quotes that will make you think...


"If we went to a Halloween party dressed as Batman and Robin, I'd go as Robin. That's how much you mean to me..." -Chazz: (to Jimmy's voice mail)


"I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floatin' around accidental-like on a breeze. But I, I think maybe it's both." -Forest Gump


My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." -Forest Gump


"While I resepct the Judeo-Christian ethic, as well as the eastern philosophies and of course, teachings of Muhammed, I find that organized religion has corrupted those beliefs to justify countless atrocities throughout history. Were I to attend church, I would be a hypocrite." -Steven Hyde from That 70s' Show





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Here are some of my own quotes and qutes from my characters in my stories.


"God puts people into other peoples' lives for a reason." -me


"...Crap. I'm not thinking strait. Oh my God, what if I dreamt this whole thing? What if I have been in a comma since a little kid, and dreamed up a life and this current situation in this said life? What if I'm someone else's thought? I don't exist. What the Hell am I thinking?" -me waking up with a high fever one morning


"I know what you know, and you know what I know. BUT, you don't know that I know what you know, and I dont know that you know what I know. So, how do we know?" -me


"What if there were no hypothetical situations?" -me


"Everyone has a photographic memory, but some don't have the film or are unable to get it developed." -me


"I cannot say. I barely knew my mother, so I have not a clue onto what sort of grief I should be feeling." -Countess Angelique François (one of my characters on her feelings towards her mother's death. For some reason I really like this quote.)


"....I have no time for this. I'm working on my Naughty List, if you know what I mean." -Cornelius Shparshtick, Santa's evil twin brother


"When I looke back on my life, the women who are always flocking towards me, the grand parties I attend to, all the money I have, and being able to sign the Declaration of Independence will never compare to the moment I got struck by lightning." Benjamin Franklin who appeared in one of my stories.

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From one Neitzsche fan to another;


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Yeah...., that one hits home too....., I had forgotten about that one.

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“We are all strangers in a strange land, longing for home, but not quite knowing what or where home is. We glimpse it sometimes in our dreams, or as we turn a corner, and suddenly there is a strange, sweet familiarity that vanishes almost as soon as it comes…” ~Madeleine L’Engle

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“Grief teaches the steadiest minds to waver.” ~Sophocles


“The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart.” ~Saint Jerome

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

    Friedrich Nietzsche

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

    Friedrich Nietzsche

The more of his thoughts I read the more I see how much my views and Nietzsche's are alike

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The individual has always had to struggle


It especially applies to lone winter campers.  When you tell people you backpack and camp in the winter, they are sure you are crazy.  I'm just glad the wife enjoys it too.  Haven't had to camp alone in almost 30 years.  But the lessons remain.

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“There is an alchemy in sorrow. It can be transmuted into wisdom, which, if it does not bring joy, can yet bring happiness.” ~Pearl Buck


And to be human is to know sorrow ~Nurker


“Scars are stories, history written on the body.” ~Kathryn Harrison


“God will not look you over for medals, degrees, or diplomas, but for scars”

Elbert Hubbard


“He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.”

Elbert Hubbard

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“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.” ~Mary Pickford


“Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.” ~Jean Kerr


"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." ~E. M. Forster

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Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.

~John Muir

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Young love is a flame; very pretty, often very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep-burning, unquenchable.

~Henry Ward Beecher

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"nonesense..., I've got them right where I want them.., surrounded from the inside"


   Jerry Shriver, SOG recon team leader, 1969, when surrounded by N.V.A. in Cambodia....., he survived and was decorated for that mission


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Hummm it sounds more like Walt Whitman there Nuker.


Who, Muir or Beecher?


I think it may be one of the reasons that we don't deal with death very well as a culture because we are so separated from it.  Usually the person goes to the hospital and we next see them as sleeping.  In the old days, and sometimes today, when the death occurs in the home, it is much more immediate.


Beecher's quote fits right in to what Tess' and my relationship has evolved to over the years.

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Read after "Nights in White Satin"


(Credit where credit is due: Graeme Edge of "The Moody Blues":)


Breathe deep the gathering gloom,

Watch lights fade from every room.

Bedsitter people look back and lament,

Another day's useless energy spent.

Impassioned lovers wrestle as one,

Lonely man cries for love and has none.

New mother picks up and suckles her son,

Senior citizens wish they were young.


Cold hearted orb that rules the night

Removes the colors from our sight.

Red is grey and yellow white,

But we decide which is right.

And which is an illusion?

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"Live Laugh Love" - seen this in one of Dave's geocaching videos. I thought it was a pretty cool 3 word advice :)

Life always finds a way to answer the questions we ask ourselves. (me from my own experience). I think it goes with the: "Be careful what you wish, cause it may come true". Well I say: be careful what you ask, cause you just might get the answer.

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"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive." 


-- Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution [1787]

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This is a bit long for an inspirational quote, but I think it might sum up what it means to survive.


Modesty Blaise

Girl Walking: The Real Modesty Blaise

by  Peter O'Donnell


Those who know Peter O'Donnell's resourceful heroine Modesty Blaise and her

lethal associate Willie Garvin only through the camped-up Joseph Losey movie

are missing a real treat in his brilliantly plotted, strikingly

characterised novels, a world away from the jaded spoof of the movie.

Similarly, in the long-running comic strip in the Evening Standard,

O'Donnell has been able to sustain a level of invention and intelligence all

too rare in the thriller genre. Crime Time has made several efforts to catch

up with one of its heroes, and here, exclusively (as Souvenir Press reissues

the first novel, Modesty Blaise) is O'Donnell's own account of how he came

across the real Modesty...



In 1942 I was an NCO in charge of a mobile radio detachment in what was then

called Persia. We were working to a widely spread line of observation posts

whose task was to give warning if German forces began to move down through

the Caucasus to seize the oilfields of the Middle East.


This didn't happen, but what did come trickling down between the Black Sea

and Caspian was a scattering of refugees from the Balkan countries keeping

ahead of the German thrust into Russia. Some were in small family groups,

some were alone. All had the simple aim of reaching what they hoped would be

the safety of British-controlled territory. This was by no means a flood of

refugees. It's a very long way from the Balkans to the Caucasus, and I think

many failed to make it.


Our radio truck stood close to a shallow stream that wound its way through

low hills. The terrain was a mixture of sand, gravel and broken rock,

offering little sustenance for any plant life. The nearest village was five

miles away, where our small stream joined a larger tributary. Camouflage

nets were spread over the truck, as much to offer a scrap of shade in the

intense heat as to deceive any enemy aircraft - which in fact never

appeared. Rations and water were delivered to us every four days from

somewhere to our rear (I never knew where) and consisted mainly of bread,

biscuits, tinned goats milk butter, jam, bully beef, and a tinned meat and

veg stew called McConnochie's. I don't know what I'd think of McConnochie's

today, but at that time we thought highly of it.


The army didn't go in for luncheon, and we were having our midday dinner one

day, sitting below the spread camouflage netting, when a small figure

appeared wearing a thin sunbleached shirt that fell to just below her knees.

On her head she carried a small bundle wrapped in a piece of blanket, and

something hung on her chest from a cord looped about her neck. It was

difficult to make out what this was, for she was still 20 yards away when

she saw us and stopped short, looking at our group carefully as if assessing



We called out to her in what we hoped was a reassuring way, and was

certainly in a mixture of accents, for the detachment consisted of a Scot, a

Geordie, a Cockney and me (three radio operators and a driver mechanic).

After a moment or two, the little girl looked up and down the stream,

perhaps seeking a better spot, but then moved to a strip of shade thrown by

the bluff and set her bundle on the ground. I was very curious about her

because although her hair was black and she was deeply tanned, she didn't

seem to be to be an Arab child. This was hard to define, but she was simply

not quite like the many Arab children we had seen during our time in Persia

and Iraq. I told Jock to heat another tin of McConnochie's, and as the four

of us talked, I found we all had the same feeling - that this child might

well be one of the long term refugees from the Balkan country who had lost

whatever group or family she had been with. If this was so, the loss was

surely not recent, for the little girl was very much in charge of herself,

clearly used to being alone, wary but not afraid, and with no expectation of

help from anybody.


While we talked, she moved knee-deep into the stream, bending to wash her

face and hands and splash the dust from her legs, contriving all the time to

keep an eye on us without seeming to look at us directly. She spent several

minutes in the stream, part of the time bent forward to comb her long hair

with her fingers before tying it at the back of her neck with a scrap of

cloth. When she came out she sat down in the patch of shade, unfastened the

blanket bundle and took out something wrapped in thin cloth. She peeled the

cloth away and began to eat whatever it was - chupatti we thought, but it

was hard to tell with from where we sat.


Jock put the heated stew into a mess tin, put a spoon and some biscuits with

it, filled a mug with the from our char-dixie, and started towards her,

calling something like, "Here you are, lassie, nice bit of grub and a wet."

The girl came to her feet, snatched up her bundle and began to back quickly

away, poised to turn and run. All our Middle East forces had picked up a

handful of the Arab words: Jildi: hurry up; Kem: how much? Felousse: money;

Stanna: wait; Asti: be careful; Mahleesh: never mind; Aywah: yes. So when

the girl prepared to run, Jock stopped dead and we all began to call out

"Stanna, stanna!" And to make what we hoped were reassuring gestures.

There was a low flat rock on the edge of the stream, about the same distance

from us as was the child, and I told Jock to put the mess tin and tea on it.

This he did, then beckoned to her, pointed to the rock, walked back to join

us, and sat down. The girl studied us thoughtfully for perhaps half a

minute, then she put down her bundle and moved slowly to the rock. There she

looked at the stew and the tea uncertainly for a moment or two before

pointing to them, pointing to herself, and saying something in a foreign

language that was clearly a question. The language, we agreed later, was not

Arabic, but we assume that even if this was not her first language, she must

have picked up much the same handful of Arabic words as we had, so we all

called out "Aywah, aywah!" And mimed eating. The girl put her hands together

in front of her chest, bowed her head briefly, then picked up the mess tin,

sat on the rock and began to eat. Again I noticed the object that hung from

the cord round her neck, but was still unable to make out what it was.

She was a skinny little thing, and I thought she would wolf the food down,

but she ate very slowly, seeming to focus on each mouthful, and when she had

eaten most of the solids, she crumbled the biscuits into the gravy to soak

up the last of it. She put down the mess tin and sat gazing at us, at our

truck and at our camp (two two-man bivouacs) in that odd, very focused and

appraising way. Her head turned quickly when the sound of our call sign came

from the radio in the truck. Geordie climbed in to deal with it. He was back

with us by the time the girl had finished drinking her tea. It was then that

she stood up and did something that surprised us, taking the mess tin, spoon

and mug to the stream to wash them up. Wet sand is great for washing-up,

even with cold water; it absorbs all the grease. When this was done, she put

the things back on the rock, repeated her "thank you" gesture, moved back to

the strip of shade and sat down with her back to the bluff.


After about half an hour, during which we went about the usual routines

without approaching her, she got to her feet and began to tie up her blanket

bundle. I called "Stanna" to her and gestured for her to wait, then

collected two tins of McConnochie's from our rations, picked up two of the

empty tins left from our dinner, and added a tin opener. It was standard

practice in our detachment that we each carried a tin-opener, so we could

spare one readily enough.


I moved to the flat rock, knelt down, beckoned to the girl and waited,

displaying the tins and opener with large gestures. After a few minutes she

picked up her bundle and came to within ten paces of me, then said something

that had the inflexion of a question. Indicating that she should watch, I

very slowly demonstrated the use of the opener on the bottom of one of the

empty tins, a performance attended by much merriment and comment from the

detachment. The opener was of the old lever type, and as I worked it in

exaggerated fashion, I kept glancing at the girl. She watched intently, and

now she was closer I could see that the thing hanging from her neck like a

pendant was a short piece of wood with a long nail bound tightly to it with

thin wire, the nail projecting a good two inches from the makeshift haft. It

was a weapon, a crude weapon - and I felt chilled as I wondered what might

have brought home to her the need for some way of defending herself.

When I had finished opening the tin I laid the opener down beside the other

empty tin, made signs for her to copy what I had just done, and to further

insubordinate applause from the detachment, I rejoined them. She moved to

the rock, picked up opener and tin, and looked a question at us, to which we

responded with much encouragement. She set the practice tin on the rock and

tried to force the point of the opener into it as I had shown, but hadn't

quite the strength in her wrist. After two attempts, she picked up a small

rock and used it to hammer the butt of the opener, driving the point



We looked on anxiously now, and I recall Geordie calling something like,

"Watch you don't cut yourself, hinny." We need not have worried. Slowly and

carefully she levered the opener round the edge, then used the point to lift

the lid, raising it on the hinge where the cut met. She held up the tin in

one hand, the opener in the other, and looked at us solemnly. We broke into

happy applause, clapping and calling out to her in our various accents. That

was when she smiled, and to me it seemed you could've lit up a small village

with that smile. I don't recall what we said to each other, but I believe

the whole incident was the best thing to have happened to us for a long



She put down the practice tin, touched the two unopened tins and the opener,

and again asked a question. We called enthusiastic assent with assorted

gestures. She untied her blanket, rearranged some of her worldly possessions

in it, put the two tins and opener carefully away, and re-fastened the

blanket. For a few moments she just stood looking at us, then she put hands

together and spoke several short sentences, which we took to be words of

thanks. We smiled, waved, wished her good luck, told her to take care, etc.,

then watched as she put the bundle on her head and walked away beside the

stream, heading south along the shallow valley. To this day I can see in my

mind's eye the smile she had given us and the sight of that upright little

figure walking like a princess as she moved away from us on those brave

skinny legs.


Twenty years later, in early 1962, I had a call from the Strip Cartoon

Editor of the Express group of newspapers, Bill Aitken. He said he had been

following the strips I wrote for the Daily Mirror and Daily Sketch (Garth,

Romeo Brown, Tug Transom) and he would like me to write a strip for him for

submission to the Daily Express. I asked what kind of strip he had in mind,

and he said "I want the strip you want to write." I agreed to provide a

format, a story, and the first four weeks of script, but said it would be

six months before I could deliver. That's fine, he said. At this time I had

been a freelance writer for some 12 years, with an office in Fleet Street

conveniently situated over the renowned watering hole for hacks and lawyers,

El Vino, and I was now mainly writing strips for national newspapers and

serials for women's magazines (which carried far more fiction in those days

than they do now). So in effect I was working in two different genres, one

featuring macho male heroes and the other featuring romance, though there

was always a strong element of adventure in the stories I wrote for the

women's market. For some time before the call from Bill Aitken, I had been

intrigued by the idea bringing these two genres together by creating a woman

who, though fully feminine, would be as good in combat and action as any

male, if not better. The call from the Express made me decide that the time

to start work on this idea was now.


I let it simmer on the back burner for some weeks, but came very quickly to

the conclusion that you couldn't plausibly create the character I wanted by

taking a girl in, say, her teens and putting her through long and intensive

training in a variety of skills. That would only provide a veneer. My

character would have to have had a childhood of unrelenting struggle, in

which he had been tested to the very core by danger, loneliness, fear and

every kind of hardship, a child with a diamond hard will to survive. There

would have to be far more to the concept than that, but I had no doubt that

this was the essential beginning.


Of course, I had seen this very child 20 years before, and knew she was the

perfect prototype for the character I would eventually call Modesty Blaise.

I began to create a detailed background for her, starting with the idea that

she was a refugee from Hungary whose mother and father had been killed

somewhere between the German and Russian armies during the long flight to

the East. This little girl's memory had been destroyed by the trauma, but

somehow she had survived and had learnt how to continue surviving, as for

more than a year she had made the slow and lonely journey that other

refugees were making.


I decided that once she was south of the Caucasus (where some friendly

soldiers gave her a little food) she would find a companion, perhaps in one

of the refugee camps, forerunners of the Displaced Persons Camps. This

companion would be a Jewish professor from Bucharest, in his middle Fifties,

who spoke five languages and was a brilliant academic but quite hopeless at

surviving on his own. She would take him under her protection, they would

leave the camp, and together they would roam the Middle East from Persia to

Morocco. She would be the provider and protector, he would give her the

education she would crave as essential to her future.


When she is perhaps 17, he dies one night in the desert. She buries him,

weeps for the first time in many years, and moves on towards the nearest big

town, Tangiers. The girl to whom he long ago gave the name Modesty Blaise is

alone again, and what comes next is in the novels.


I am in debt to the child I saw that day in 1942, both for the privilege of

having met her, however briefly, and for her providing the role model for a

character I have now written about for close on 40 years. I still think of

her from time to time, and wonder what became of her. If alive today, she

would have just turned 70. Whatever the length of her days, I can only hope

that she was granted some measure of the reward she deserved for her courage

and spirit. I salute her.

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That belongs to all of us who in one way or another have either walked the same ground that has been traveled by the men's path, or the little girl's path.  I truly appreciate this Nurk.

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