American Author, Storyteller, Humorist, Essayist and Radio Personality, Creator of Radio’s "A Prairie Home Companion"
"They would not be smart enough to pour piss out of their boots, if the instructions were written on the sole."
"This is a great country, and it wasn't made so by angry people. We have a sacred duty to bequeath it to our grandchildren in better shape than however we found it. We have a long way to go and we're not getting any younger. Dante said that the hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in time of crisis remain neutral, so I have spoken my piece, and thank you, dear reader. It's a beautiful world, rain or shine, and there is more to life than winning."
"This is Democratic bedrock: we don't let people lie in the ditch and drive past and pretend not to see them dying. Here on the frozen tundra of Minnesota, if your neighbor's car won't start, you put on your parka and get the jumper cables out and deliver the Sacred Spark that starts their car. Everybody knows this. The logical extension of this spirit is social welfare and the myriad government programs with long dry names all very uninteresting to you until you suddenly need one..."
"To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through. What else will do except faith in such a cynical, corrupt time? When the country goes temporarily to the dogs, cats must learn to be circumspect, walk on fences, sleep in trees, and have faith that all this woofing is not the last word. What is the last word, then? Gentleness is everywhere in daily life, a sign that faith rules through ordinary things: through cooking and small talk, through storytelling, making love, fishing, tending animals and sweet corn and flowers, through sports, music and books, raising kids — all the places where the gravy soaks in and grace shines through. Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people."
"To many Americans, whose only knowledge of the North Star State is that it is intensely cold and populated by Swedes and Holsteins, it will come as a surprise to wake up one morning in 2004 and read in the newspaper, "Half of U.S. Economy Now in Hands of Minnesota"."
"Travel is the art form available to Everyman. You sit in the coffee shop in a strange city and nobody knows who you are, or cares, and so you shed your checkered past and your motley credentials and you face the day unarmed ... And onward we go and some day in the distant future, we will stop and turn around in astonishment to see all the places we've been and the heroes we were."
"To the cheater, there is no such thing as honesty, and to Republicans the idea of serving the public good is counterfeit on the face of it — they never felt such an urge, and therefore it must not exist."
"We carry adolescence around in our bodies all our lives. We get through the Car Crash Age alive and cruise through our early twenties as cool dudes, wily, dashing, winsome . . . shooting baskets, the breeze, the moon, and then we try to become caring men, good husbands, great fathers, good citizens."
"We come from people who brought us up to believe that life is a struggle, and if you should feel really happy, be patient: this will pass."
"We live a pleasant life shopping at the Food Shoppe ... taking the kids to the Weinery- Beanery... and eating bran flakes ... and then, with no warning, we wake up one morning stricken with middle age, full of loneliness, dumb, in pain. Our work is useless, our vocation is lost, and nobody cares about us at all. This is not bearable. In despair, we go do something spectacularly dumb, like run away with Amber the cocktail waitress, and suddenly all the women in our life look at us with unmitigated disgust."
"We want government to stave off lawlessness and war and chaos and economic misery so that we can wholeheartedly enjoy the pure goodness of life."
"We were not allowed to go to movies because they glorified worldliness. People drank in movies. They drank like fish. They smoked cigarettes. They danced. And we did not do those things. I don't think people smoked as much on radio."
"We writers don't really think about whether what we write is good or not. It's too much to worry about. We just put the words down, trying to get them right, operating by some inner sense of pitch and proportion, and from time to time, we stick the stuff in an envelope and ship it to an editor."
"Wealth is what's here on the premises. If I open a cupboard and see, say, thirty cans of tomato sauce and a five-pound bag of rice, I get a little thrill of well-being — much more so than if I take a look at the quarterly dividend report from my mutual fund."
"Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."
"Well, they're taking kids out of the country and sending them over there, National Guard kids and Army Reserve. They're sending kids who are barely prepared for this, and they're sending them over there to kill people, which is a serious thing. And to kill not terrorists, but to kill insurgents. I sort of find myself in agreement, uncomfortably, with Patrick Buchanan, who writes about this in his book, Where The Right Went Wrong. And writes that great powers, the way they skidded off the road, were getting involved in wars. That it's the role of great powers to stay out of wars."
"When it comes to finding available men in Minnesota, the odds are good, but the goods are odd."
"When the country goes temporarily to the dogs, cats must learn to be circumspect, walk on fences, sleep in trees, and have faith that all this woofing is not the last word."
"When you wage war on the public schools, you're attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You're not a conservative, you're a vandal."
"Where I'm from we don't trust paper. Wealth is what's here on the premises. If I open a cupboard and see, say, thirty cans of tomato sauce and a five-pound bag of rice, I get a little thrill of well-being — much more so than if I take a look at the quarterly dividend report from my mutual fund."
"Years ago, manhood was an opportunity for achievement, and now it is a problem to be overcome."
"You don't have to justify a beautiful stroke of good luck. Accept it. Smile and say thank you."
"You taught me to be nice, so nice that now I am so full of niceness, I have no sense of right and wrong, no outrage, no passion."
"You'd learn more about the world by lying on the couch and drinking gin out of a bottle than by watching the news."