On People:
Generally speaking, it wasn’t in Grandma Ethel’s nature to trust people. She viewed everyone who came into her little gift shop in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, as a potential customer and a potential thief—and not necessarily in that order. Often, after browsers had left the store, she’d scan the shelves convinced they’d stolen a china Madonna or a crystal kitty.

Not surprisingly, given the amoral state of humankind, even Grandma’s innate pessimism underestimated the potential for thievery. Once, when she was in the stockroom, a customer made off with her solid bronze cash register, a pre-electronic machine as heavy as a bank vault. Despite her girth, flat feet, and advanced age, Grandma took off after the slow-moving criminal and forced him to turn over his prize. The startled thief was lucky—Grandma merely pressed charges. She had threatened to break his neck.

"The more I see of men, the more I like dogs."
—Madame De Staël (1766-1817)

"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man."
—Mark Twain (1835-1910)

"Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so."
—Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former."
—Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

"Only the mediocre are always at their best."
—Jean Giraudoux (1882-1944

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