Mantis Speaks

A compendium of assorted quotes from my sardonic pal Jack Mantis.

You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket.

—John Adams

So, John, is that a poet in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

—Jack Mantis

Assorted remarks (some of which originally appeared on my laws page):

  • Most people are in favor of freedom of speech—for themselves and other correct thinkers.
  • Lesbian chic? Oh, it’s just a phrase the country is going through.
  • Why do they call it “MacOS”? Because the name “CheeriOS” had already been trademarked by a breakfast cereal company.
  • Moderation in some things.
  • Competence is always rewarded with more work.
  • Some try to forget the past; others, to repeat it.
  • If it ain’t on the web, it ain’t worth knowing. If it is on the web, it probably still ain’t worth knowing.
  • To someone with a hammer, everything looks like a nail; to someone with a gun, everything looks like a target.
  • My tendency to exaggerate problems is the single most important issue facing humanity today.
  • The optimist says the moon is half-full; the pessimist says it’s half-empty.
  • ‎Second-guessing yourself is for amateurs. I can usually fourth-guess myself, and once I got up to fifth.
  • We’d better get to work—that wheel isn’t going to reinvent itself.
  • No tasks are urgent if you procrastinate long enough. If it’s still urgent, then you haven’t procrastinated long enough.

Quotes from specific works follow.

A couple of items from The Patriotic Mantis:

  • I’d rather stand on my feet than kneel on my knees.
  • Be careful what you vote for; you might get it.

From The Chaotic Mantis:

  • If they were serious about this “Chaos Theory” thing, they would call it something like “hroToaCyhes.”
  • If Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder” were written today, it would be called “The Butterfly Effect.”
  • Just one random number? Not random enough. Generate a hundred of them, and average them.

A couple of items from My Thoughts Are Deeper Than Yours, Jack:

  • Urinals are a comforting sight—they let you know that you haven’t stumbled into the wrong bathroom. Unless you’re a woman, of course.
  • Everyone is the hero of their own life story. Except me. In my life story, I’m the villain.

Lines from The Mantis Family:

  • Having children is hereditary. If your parents didn’t, chances are you won’t either.
  • Gray hair is hereditary; you get it from your kids.
  • Mantis’s First Law of Babies: No plan survives contact with a baby.

Two bits from The Mantis Dictionary:

Device for turning an electronic signal into noise.
The art of saying “You’ve got your head up your ass” as politely as possible.

Some of Jack’s capsule summaries of movies can be found on my Mantis at the Movies page. He did something similar with books, in Books I Never Read. Just one example from that:

L...My Name Is Legion
Roger Zelazny contributes this 12th installment in the bestselling A...My Name Is Alice series.

Finally, an excerpt from Mantis on Software appeared in my blog in 2005.