Adage: climate is what on an average we expect, weather is what we actually get (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Wed Jun 13 15:28:58 UTC 2012

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
Behalf Of
> Garson O'Toole
> Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 1:20 AM
> Subject: Adage: climate is what on an average we expect, weather is
what we
> actually get (1902)
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Garson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Adage: climate is what on an average we expect, weather
is what
>               we actually get (1902)
> -
> A climate scientist asked me about a saying attributed to Mark Twain
> and Robert Heinlein:
> The climate is what you expect; the weather is what you get.
> Heinlein did include a version of this aphorism in his 1973 novel
> "Time Enough for Love".

Heinlein and Twain were both from Missouri.  Although they wrote in
different genres, they shared stylistic similarities.  "The Notebooks of
Lazarus Long" (interstitial material in _Time Enough for Love_) were
conscious attempts to generate aphorisms of the type that are so often
attributed to Twain.  Compare:

Heinlein:  "A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no
Twain: "In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then
he made School Boards."

Heinlein: "A "critic" is a man who creates nothing and thereby feels
qualified to judge the work of creative men. There is logic in this; he
is unbiased-he hates all creative, people equally."
Twain: "I believe that the trade of critic, in literature, music, and
the drama, is the most degraded of all trades, and that it has no real
value--certainly no large value...However, let it go. It is the will of
God that we must have critics, and missionaries, and congressmen, and
humorists, and we must bear the burden."

Heinlein: "And another [ingredeint for a happy marriage] --In a family
argument, if it turns out you are right--apologize at once! "
Twain: " Women cannot receive even the most palpably judicious
suggestion without arguing it; that is, married women."

Heinlein: "Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax
collectors--and miss. "
Twain: "How often we recall, with regret, that Napoleon once shot at a
magazine editor and missed him and killed a publisher. But we remember
with charity, that his intentions were good."

Heinlein: "History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that
has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong
enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most
people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to
derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it. "
Twain: "Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He
is the only animal that has the True Religion--several of them. He is
the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat
if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in
trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and
heaven....The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they
are going to be left out in the Hereafter. I wonder why? It seems
questionable taste."

Heinlein: "Masturbation is cheap, clean, convenient, and free of any
possibility of wrong-doing--and you don't have to go home in the cold.
But it's lonely. "
Twain: " Of all the kinds of sexual intercourse, [Onanism] has least to
recommend it. As an amusement it is too fleeting, as an occupation it is
to wearing; as a public exhibition there is no money in it. It has, in
our last day of progress and improvement, been degraded to brotherhood
with flatulence--among the best bred these two arts are now indulged
only in private--though by consent of the whole company, when only males
are present, it is still permissible, in good society, to remove the
embargo upon the fundamental sigh."

Heinlein put Twain into _Time Enough for Love_ and _To Sail Beyond the

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

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