Famous Sayings #190 — ‘Separate the Wheat from the Chaff’

January 11, 2021

Fifty people showed up for team tryouts, but only 25 of us made the cut. The entire process will separate the wheat from the chaff.

separate the wheat from the chaff, wheat, chaff, Bible, proverb, famous sayings
Image by Couleur from Pixabay

The expression “separate the wheat from the chaff” is one that has been on my mind for a while, but I never thought too deeply about the phrase’s origin besides its obvious connection to agriculture. This expression can apply to people or objects, but it is more often applied to people.


What Does It Mean to ‘Separate the Wheat from the Chaff’?

When someone “separates the wheat from the chaff,” they are determining which items or individuals in a group are good and valuable and which are of lower quality or worthless (The Free Dictionary). To put it nicely, separating the wheat from the chaff means finding people who are serious about a cause or self-improvement, or those who are better equipped to face adversity.

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Famous Sayings #189 — ‘New Year’s Resolution’

Friday, January 1, 2021

Usually, when someone makes a New Year’s Resolution, they promise to lose weight or to break bad habits.

Since today is New Year’s Day 2021, I decided to post this tonight.

Man, 2020 was a doozy. I don’t know what this year will hold, but for some reason, I feel that a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Maybe I am happy that the past year is finally over, but we still have a tough road ahead of us, particularly in terms of this pandemic. With that said, let’s get down to business and resume this Famous Sayings series.

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Famous Sayings #188 — ‘A Few Bad Apples’

July 27, 2020

I think that the police department is a force for good. About 99.9% of police officers are good, but there are a few bad apples mixed in there

The best way to deal with bad apples is to take them out of the group as quickly as possible.

a few bad apples, spoil the bunch, one bad apple spoils the entire barrel, apples, famous sayings
Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay

The first quote above is a generic statement that many Americans have read or heard in some form over the years.

This second quote comes from Henry L. Tischler, who wrote this in the Introduction to Sociology (2011). (I found it on Merriam-Webster.com.)

I’ve never really given such statements like the first quote much thought, and with good reason. But today, the phrase takes on more importance as we have seen many cases of police brutality, especially in the face of law enforcement being questioned and challenged with these protests.

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Famous Sayings #187 — ‘Those Who Make Peaceful Revolution Impossible …’

June 19, 2020

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable, John F Kennedy, JFK, Alliance for Progress, United States, Latin America, protest, violence
President John F. Kennedy made remarks in the White House State Dining Room on the one-year anniversary of the Alliance for Progress. Taken via screenshot. (Video)

I have been thinking about this quote often and it was on my mind even before the start of 2020 and the events that have sparked this period of justifiable protest. What do I think about this quote? Of course, the answer will come after the explanation of what this quote means and why it was first uttered.


Who First Said, ‘Those Who Make Peaceful Revolution Impossible …’

Anyone who uses this quote will tell you that John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, first uttered this line, but they usually don’t tell you when. President Kennedy said this during a speech he made in the State Dining Room of the White House on March 13, 1962 (Wade). Kennedy was addressing Latin American diplomats and discussing the first anniversary of the Alliance for Progress.

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Famous Sayings #186 — ‘Gentle as a Lamb’

May 4, 2020

David may be a big, strong man but he is as gentle as a lamb with children.

gentle as a lamb, lamb, symbolism, famous sayings
Image by Ben Kerckx from Pixabay

I have been irregular with these posts for the past months, but at least this post comes in a consecutive week. Now, this saying is one I like. While this was meant to be posted in 2019, my schedule got a bit hectic, so I skipped it. But “Gentle as a lamb” was easier to research than many of the other famous sayings in this series.

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Famous Sayings #185 — ‘The Shot Heard ‘Round the World’

April 19, 2020

It was the shot heard ‘round the world

the shot heard round the world, Patriots Day, April 19 1775, American Revolution, Revolutionary War, famous sayings, British, colonial militiamen, minutemen
Image by The National Guard via Flickr. United States Government Work.

It’s been a while since I’ve made a Famous Sayings Post — or any post, for that matter ­— but this installment is connected to April 19. In Maine and Massachusetts, today is Patriots’ Day, the anniversary of a very important event in American history (“Patriots’ Day”). If you’re a history buff, you already know what I’m talking about, but let’s review …

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April 19, 2020

It was the shot heard ‘round the world

the shot heard round the world, Patriots Day, April 19 1775, American Revolution, Revolutionary War, famous sayings, British, colonial militiamen, minutemen
Image by The National Guard via Flickr. United States Government Work.

It’s been a while since I’ve made a Famous Sayings Post — or any post, for that matter ­— but this installment is connected to April 19. In Maine and Massachusetts, today is Patriots’ Day, the anniversary of a very important event in American history (“Patriots’ Day”). If you’re a history buff, you already know what I’m talking about, but let’s review …

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Famous Sayings #184 — ‘[Beware the] Ides of March’

March 15, 2020

Beware the ides of March.

Vincenzo Camuccini - La morte di Cesare
Vincenzo Camuccini / Public domain

As I was doing research for this famous phrase, I came across this quote in a subheading for one of my sources:

March 15 is known as the Ides of March, which may vaguely remind you of a high school English class.

Indeed, I first heard of this phrase while I was in high school — in the tenth grade to be exact — and after reading a certain play, the phrase has always stuck with me. Thus, when I realized that March 15 fell on a Sunday this year, I decided that this was the phrase I would be looking at on this date. (Note: As I’m typing this, March 16 is approaching …)

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Famous Sayings #183 — ‘Every Tom, Dick, and Harry’

March 14, 2020

Every Tom, Dick, and Harry believes that he can become rich. If everyone were rich, no one would be.

Three men thinking, one wearing a wristwatch
I’m not sure if these men’s names are Tom, Dick, and Harry, but they’re three guys, so … Image cropped. Original photograph by Szilárd Szabó from Pixabay.

This is an interesting expression to look at because it involves three male names that were once very popular. Thy are still common English names because chances are you have met a Tom, Dick, or Harry in your lifetime if you live in an English-speaking country.

Have you used this expression? I don’t believe I have, but I was introduced to it in my childhood.

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Famous Sayings #182 — ‘Wholeheartedly’

March 7, 2020

I agree wholeheartedly.

wholeheartedly, wholehearted, matters of the heart, famous sayings, 19th century

To get started in March, I decided to look at a term originally intended for February on Valentine’s Day to be exact but since I had already found the sources, why not publish it now? Since the post was originally meant for Valentine’s Day, it, of course, concerns a matter of the heart, so to speak.

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Famous Sayings #181 — ‘Leap Year’

February 29, 2020

Since it’s 2020, this year is a leap year.

I decided to cheat a little bit and use a term that is very pertinent to this year: leap year. While looking up the history of this term, I learned some interesting facts about the Gregorian calendar and the Earth’s revolution around the sun.


What Is a ‘Leap Year’?

Of course, a normal year according to the Gregorian calendar is one that lasts 365 days. A leap year has an extra day and generally comes every four years. The extra day, called a leap day, is February 29.

Our calendar year does not perfectly match up with the tropical year, which is the time it takes the Earth to make a full revolution around the sun. The Tropical year is also referred to as the solar year astronomical year, or an equinoctial year. We need to add a leap year every four years so that our calendar can line up with the Earth’s revolution around the sun, otherwise, we would lose about six hours every year and a total of 24 days in a century (“When Is the Next”).

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