Epigrams in quotes are authored by the people named alongside. Epigrams marked “Pop” are modified popular quips or riddles. The rest are mine, as are all the interpretations and comments. Many of my favourite aphorisms come from Bertrand Russell, quoted here.
A mosquito screen that keeps magpies and pythons out
A mozzie/maggie/python screen that keeps heavy metal, domestic      arguments and performances by four-year-old violinists out
A gadget for sucking up wet hair
Hairless human beings
22. A woman rules the roost (Pop)
This seems to be common, if not normal, in western society. It means the blokes have to make unacceptable compromises, because their brains are wired so differently: generally speaking, their models of reason, honesty, justice, needs, economics, humour etc are completely at variance with the woman's (NB not necessarily better or worse, just different). Even in most Asian and Middle Eastern cultures, where the man unquestionably wears the pants, the woman often takes control of domestic affairs - though usually by devious means - perhaps justifiably, considering her circumstances (See this very important document: Women in an Insecure World. If the link doesn’t work in your browser, copy this url to your address bar: http://www.unicef.org/emerg/files/women_insecure_world.pdf).
23. “If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we       would be so simple that we couldn't.” (G.E. Pugh)
24. No perception without conception
The ability to perceive objects depends on an a priori ability to form concepts.
25. No pain without brain
It’s unlikely that a creature without a conceiving brain could be said to feel pain. (Beware of drawing specific conclusions! While it might seem obvious that human beings feel pain and bacteria don't, scientific studies increasingly suggest that animals quite low down the evolutionary scale both feel pain and have some conceptual abilities.)
26a. “If human beings don't keep excercising their lips ... their brains start working” (Douglas Adams/"Ford Prefect")
26b. “Speaking without thinking is like shooting without aiming" (I was Montgomery's Double)
But how much thinking do you have to do? If you thought long enough you would never speak.
27. “When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When       many people suffer from a delusion it is called Religion”       (Robert M. Pirsig)
27b. "That's called a sense of community, Jones - one goes mad they all go mad" (Midsomer Murders)
28. “Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration - courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and, above all, love of the truth" (H L Mencken)
29. Forgive me, God, so I can go and do it again
Religion, in particular the belief in redemption of sins, undermines personal responsibility and authorises wrongdoing.
30. It’s wrong to eat this, God, so bless it and then it will be all right
This typifies the injustice of religion, the superiority of man’s morality over God’s, and the utter wretchedness and degeneracy of stooping to the latter.
31. Those who believe in nonsense will rarely be believed
If a person tells you that a load of patent nonsense is actually the absolute truth, why should you believe anything else he says?
32. Those who follow their deepest beliefs with clowning will always       be seen as clowns
If a person behaves ridiculously (or even dangerously) in the execution of his beliefs, why should you trust him to act sensibly at other times?
33. Certainty is the mother of devastation
Those who take their beliefs seriously and unconditionally invite disaster.
34. Prattle means battle
The perpetrators of theological nonsense frequently bring conflict and war.
36. A multi-racial society? Fine. A multi-cultural society? Impossible
The most basic aspects of culture form the backbone of society, so mixed cultures cannot peacefully coexist in a single society. One society means one culture (in the deep sense of “culture”).
37. “There’s a different culture at each of the (TV) networks” (Bert Newton)
This is one meaning of “cultural diversity” I think we can all live happily with!
38. What's the difference between the President of the USA and an anchor? -
You tie a rope to an anchor before you throw it overboard (Pop)
While I fully agree with the sentiment behind this little joke, I can think of several other presidents who would make better fish food.
39. “God is conscience. He is even the atheism of the atheist” (Mahatma Ghandi)
This isn’t consistent with some of Ghandi’s other sayings about god, nor with most other people’s notions of god, but it’s not a bad epigram. It gets rid of god, in any of the ordinary senses, and implies that everyone has their own "god" stuck somewhere in their brain.
40. Their plight, the philosopher’s sorrow
The true philosopher cannot afford to ignore the plight of third-world and displaced people.
45. “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
(Diana, Princess of Wales)
I don't support the current concept of marriage - legally it's too weak, ethically too mixed up. What would you make of Diana's plight?
46a. Now, the most annoying word in the English language now is “now”
Have you noticed how many TV presenters begin every other sentence with “now”? The trend began around the turn of the millennium among female presenters, mainly in cooking and DIY programs on one or two channels, but has since spread to the men, all channels, virtually all general interest programs (travel, real estate, gardening etc) and all Australian roving reporters without exception. I find this over-use of the word as irritating as it is pointless. (Most Australian roving reporters are in fact young women who deliver their mainly trite messages in an unbroken monotone. 2013/14 - even some front-desk weather forecast readers have caught the disease.)
46b. “Now”: the only word in the English language that never keeps the      same meaning
This might not be absolutely true, but it makes a fascinating point about the meaning of “meaning”. (Of course I'm assuming “now” is used correctly, not in the manner of TV presenters!)
47. “Ay”: a special word used by Aussie politicians, and a few others
whose "sentiment of superiority is based upon their fear of inferiority",       as John Ralston Saul puts it.
In Australia, the only qualification you need to become a politician is to be able to say "Ay", as in "This is ay catastrophe of significant proportions and will have ay considerable impact on the economy, tut tut".
48. 60% of Americans are Creationists. Proof enough that at least 60% of Americans have evolved from primitive apes.
49. Political correctness - a way of hiding inconvenient truths
What avoiding political correctness does not entail! .....
It was with deep sorrow that we heard of the death of your beloved Aunt Matilda. However, we would respectfully point out that our family cat, Archibald the Great, died on the same day, and in similar circumstances.
Your Aunt’s death came as no great surprise, considering that her quaint abode at Grubtown Dockside was a target of unremitting foreign invasion. And her only weapon of defence was a black elastic band with a breaking strength of approximately one kilogram.
Please pass on our condolences to miscellaneous family members, especially her other husband – can’t remember his name – you know, the sweaty bald-headed guy who lives at Fodder Sludge Farm. Not forgetting his twelve amazing children too.
We hope you are feeling fresher and thinner after your recent campaign against smoked pork.
Always thinking of you.
Joan and Harry
PS – should you not wish to keep any of Aunt Matilda’s priceless collection of boudoir antiques, please let us know and we will gladly relieve you of them.
50. Space has eyes, time only ears
Because of its 3-dimensionality, space carries more information than time.
51. An optimist thinks the glass is half full, a pessimist thinks the glass is half empty, but most people are apathetists – they see neither glass nor water and they don’t think at all.
52. Truth before wisdom, wisdom before action
53. "The truth is not overrated." (Big Fat Liar)
54. “Life and wit and inquiry begin just at the point where faith ends.” (Christopher Hitchens)
55. Religion starts with belief, philosophy with doubt, science with curiosity, ethics with concern
56. The Earth is but a speck among trillions of specks. And man - a speck upon a speck (The Man Who Haunted Himself)
The opposite view - and perhaps the only other one that currently makes much sense - is that I own the universe and there are no "real" specks outside myself. Neither view is particularly gracious towards other people.
57. “Diplomacy is one of the most regrettable of necessities”
(Because it implies deceit, subterfuge and unhealthy international relations).
58. "There is a higher law affecting our relation to pines as well as to men. A pine cut down, a dead pine, is no more a pine than a dead human carcass is a man." (Thoreau)
58b. "I am sure my bones would not rest in an English grave, or my clay mix with the earth of that country. I believe the thought would drive me mad on my death-bed could I suppose that any of my friends would be base enough to convey my carcass back to her soil. I would not even feed her worms if I could help it."
When will people begin to understand that a dead body, or whatever remains of it, is not a human being? There's absolutely no point in spending time and money retrieving bodies from overseas, regardless of circumstances, and nothing to recommend the belief that graves are the right place to be commemorating past lives. People are remembered by their works, not their ashes.
59. “Cease, cease! This sort-a has no end.” (Fats Waller)
Like this list of epigrams, most things in life have no real ending. Apart from life itself, we draw things arbitrarily to a close. The quote comes from the end (?) of Fats Waller’s inimitable “Big Chief De Sota” (De Sota has no end!). Here are some related epigrams:
“Too many pieces of music finish too long after the end” (Stravinsky)
“This war, like the next war, is a war to end war” (Lloyd George)
“Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils” (Berlioz)
“In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes” (Franklin)
...to be continued
Footnote (item 42). A very comprehensive answer to the question of the origin of these lines comes from Zendam, a Moderator on the first-rate Quoteland.com website. The gist of this reply is as follows (italicised comments in brackets are mine):
The first line is a variation of the old English proverb "Whan I gaue you an inche, ye took an ell" (John Heywood, Proverbs, pt. ii, ch. 9, dated 1546). [This is actually closer to the preceding line in the Marley song - "Give them an inch they take a yard".]
The second line is close to a phrase from the Hebrew Midrash, Genesis Rabbah, 42, dating from about AD 550: "Once a man, twice a child", but from as long ago as 450 BC we find the lines "An old man is twice a child" from the Fragments of Cratinus. A similar oft-quoted phrase occurs in Shakespeare's Hamlet. [A similar phrase has also been used as the title of a book about the circumstances of John Lennon's death. Like the Beenie Man song, this is post-Marley.]
[Funny how a piece of utterly stupid Aussie trivia can turn into a fascinating time machine. Vive l'Edward de Bono!]