"How could there be unbroken eggs under a toppled nest?"

This supposed quote is a Chinese idiom. It means that when a group suffers, all individuals belonging to that group will also suffer.

The idiom has a rather sad origin story. When the scholar-official Kong Rong spoke ill of the warlord Cao Cao in 208 CE, he was arrested and later executed on such charges as, among others, "plotting a rebellion", "slandering the imperial court" and "disrespecting court protocol." Kong Rong had two children. When they heard their father had been arrested, others urged them to escape, but they answered "How could there be unbroken eggs under a toppled nest?" They were not wrong; Kong Rong's entire family was executed on Cao Cao's orders.


"The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable."

H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956), an American journalist, essayist, and satirist. He is particularly famous for his mocking coverage of the Scopes Trial where a high school teacher was convicted for teaching human evolution in a Tennessee public school. Mencken nicknamed it “The Monkey Trial.”


"Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter."

U.S. President James A. Garfield, with some truly presidential advice.

Schubert Was A Ridiculously Prolific Composer


"[Leopold von] Sonnleithner reports that ‘at Fräulein Fröhlich’s request, Franz Grillparzer had written for the occasion the beautiful poem Ständchen, and this she gave to Schubert, asking him to set it to music as a serenade for her sister Josefine (mezzo-soprano) and women’s chorus. Schubert took the poem, went into an alcove by the window, read it through carefully a few times and then said with a smile, “I’ve got it already, it’s done, and it’s going to be quite good.”‘ [Joseph von] Spaun tells of the composition of the Erlkönig. He and [Johann] Mayrhofer visited Schubert and found him reading the poem. ‘He paced up and down several times with the book, suddenly he sat down, and in no time at all (just as quickly as you can write) there was the glorious ballad finished on the paper. We ran with it to the Seminary, for there was no piano at Schubert’s, and there, on the very same evening, the Erlkönig was sung and enthusiastically received.'"

From Harold Schonberg’s "Lives of the Great Composers"


"Technology is the reason we get old enough to complain about technology."

Garry Kasparov (1963- ), a Russian chess grandmaster, former world chess champion, writer, and political activist.


"Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail."

Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser (1871-1945), and American novelist and journalist of the naturalist school. His novels often featured main characters who succeeded at their objectives despite a lack of a firm moral code, and literary situations that more closely resemble studies of nature than tales of choice and agency. Dreiser's best known novels include Sister Carrie (1900) and An American Tragedy (1925).


"To be a poet at twenty is to be twenty: to be a poet at forty is to be a poet."

Eugène Delacroix, a painter and artist of the French Romantic school (1798 - 1863)


"Idealism increases in direct proportion to one’s distance from the problem."

John Galsworthy, an English novelist and playwright


"Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better."

Harry Truman


"The Irish do not want anyone to wish them well; they want everyone to wish their enemies ill."

Harold Nicolson (1886-1968) British diplomat, author, diarist and politician.

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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