A book recently landed on my desk that immediately caught my attention because it combines two things I love: 1) dogs and 2) morsels of wisdom.
All I needed to see was the close-up photograph of a bulldog puppy's face accompanied by a quote -- "I'm in shape. Round's a shape" -- and I was hooked.
I'm a collector of quotes. I love to find ones that strike me as witty, wise or quirky, but I don't like to keep them to myself. For years I have included them in the Current and Design Notes columns I compile for The Buffalo News -- whether it's Andy Rooney yammering on about Thanksgiving being too close to Christmas, Fran Lebowitz making noise about sticky kids or legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland expounding on taste.
"I believe we all need a splash of bad taste. No taste is what I'm against," is one of her classics.
Once I share them, I tend not to forget them. Some of them, anyway, or at least the gist of them.
When I pull a pile of rumpled sheets from the clothes dryer, I recall this line from the late Erma Bombeck: "I consider ironed sheets a health hazard."
When I hear myself rattling off dinner options in my own kitchen, I remember Fran Lebowitz's warning: "Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he's buying."
And, when planning a holiday table, I find myself chanting the late interior decorator Elsie de Wolfe's famous words: "Plates should be hot, hot, hot; glasses cold, cold, cold, and table decorations low, low, low."
With the holidays approaching, quotes like these seem especially appropriate.
Consider these words from TV dad Homer Simpson: "Remember as far as anyone knows, we're a nice normal family."
Or this word on parties from Andy Rooney: "The best thing that can happen to enliven a party is some petty calamity, or, at least, a small, unexpected event."
And this famous line from W. Somerset Maugham: "At a dinner party one should eat wisely but not too well, and talk well but not too wisely."
In the newly arrived book I mentioned, -- "Dog Food" by Judith Adler and Paul Coughlin (Rodale, $14.95) -- readers can chuckle at this quote from Lisa Claymen: "Some say the glass is half empty, some say the glass is half full. I say, 'Are you going to drink that?' "
Or this anonymous one: "If at first you don't succeed, order pizza."
To get you in the holiday spirit, here are a few others to ponder -- on topics that are especially popular this time of year:
On traveling: "Did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone?" (Erma Bombeck).
On parties: "At every party there are two kinds of people -- those who want to go home and those who don't. The trouble is, they are usually married to each other" (Ann Landers).
On housecleaning: "Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing" (Phyllis Diller).
On leftovers: "The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for 30 years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found" (Calvin Trillin).
On hobbies: "Hobbies of any kind are boring except to people who have the same hobby" (humorist Dave Barry).
On getting dressed: "I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn't itch" (Gilda Radner).
On family time: "There's no such thing as fun for the whole family" (Jerry Seinfeld).
And, another from the late Erma Bombeck: "Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare. They are consumed in 12 minutes. Halftimes take 12 minutes. This is not coincidence."