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Bellissimo’s Bites

Mr. Bellissimo’s favourite quotes, stories etc.

In a world that seems to be less receptive to criticism and expends tremendous energy in its avoidance, it is mindful to remember this passage from Winston Churchill especially in the legal context:

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body: it calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

In today’s ever-increasing legalistic society we are inundated with document after lengthy document to sign and many do so without reading that fine print and then we find:

Nothing makes small print more legible than an accident.

The Wall Street Journal

Or in the immigration context a refusal…

The following passage is as true as it is elusive:

I once got a fortune cookie that said; “To remember is to understand.” I have never forgotten it. A good judge remembers what it was like to be a lawyer. A good editor remembers being a writer. A good parent remembers what it was like to be a child.

Anna Quindlen

To adapt is to succeed, to remain the same is to, well . . .

A naval aviator told me that many pilots have died because they stayed with disabled aircraft. They preferred the familiarity of the cockpit to the unfamiliarity of the parachute, although the cockpit was a death trap. Many people have seen their careers crash because they preferred the familiar and deadly old ways to the risky but rewarding new ways.

Nido R. Qubein

Reliable studies have consistently demonstrated that punishment does not reduce recidivism (repetition of criminal acts) but that certainty of punishment is more important than severity.

People sometime forget that law is static and is moulded, resized and sometimes reshaped depending upon cultural and historical contexts. For example:

“the idea that we could take the words of a statute and pretend that we could divine or discover some transcendent truth is equally foolhardy . . . how can one do this without examining the social and historical context?”

Eagleton in Literary Theory

Whoever hath an absolute authority to interpret any written or spoken laws, it is he who is truly the Lawgiver . . . and not the person who first wrote or spoke them.

Kenneth S. Abraham

For one of the main ingredients of civil liberty, and at the same time one of its greatest blessings, is the protection against individual passion, violence, views, opinions, caprice or well-meant interference – the supremacy of law.

Francis Lieber

How about one on the lighter side, what do you think of this one . . .

Old lawyers never die – they just lose their appeal.

Bob Talbert

This quote has always remained with me when contemplating a public speaking engagement. It is now especially in mind when I prepare legal argument on behalf of my clients…

Public speaking is a little like taking a vacation. It helps to know the right place to stop.

Robert Orben

It is seldom a proffered argument as to the advantages of a free press that it has a major function in keeping the government itself informed as to what the government is doing.

Walter Cronkite

How true is this one-liner in today’s day and age …

He who excuses himself accuses himself.

Gabriel Meurier

The art of advocacy is tied to the notion that “if it takes a lot of words to say what you have in mind, give it more thought.”

Dennis Roth

The next time you are wondering if you should take that extra moment to assist a colleague, a child, an apprentice, a friend, a charity or a cause, consider this …

We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.

Quoted by W.A. Nance in Holiday Inn Magazine

Class never runs scared
Class has a sense of humour
Class never makes excuses
Class is real
If you have class, you have it made. If you do not have class, no matter what else you have it will not make up for it.


No harm, no foul . . . in immigration law, although it helps!

The itch for things – so brilliantly injected by those that make and sell them – is in effect a virus draining the soul of contentment. The good life exists only when you stop wanting a better one. It is the condition of savouring what is, rather than longing for what may be.

Marya Mannes

“Conscience,” said a man, “is a three-cornered thing. In my heart, it stands still when I am good, but when I am bad, it turns around and the corners hurt a lot. If I keep doing wrong, the corners wear off and it does not hurt any more.”

Construction Digest

Giant Step!

In the whole history of law and order, the longest step forward was taken by primitive man when, as if by common consent, the tribe sat down in a circle and allowed one man to speak at a time.

Curtis Bok

No Cause for Alarm!

An Edmonton police officer stopped a very expensive-looking car at a radar trap. The driver jumped out, ripped out his radar detector, threw it on the ground and jumped on the device. “I paid $500 for this damn thing and it doesn’t work” he raged. “I don’t know whether it works or not,” the police officer replied, “I pulled you over for having only one license plate.”

The Edmonton Journal

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