Sidebar: Simonettisms

Compiled by Teresa Everett March 20, 1991 and added to in 2003

  • “An expert is someone who understands the sources and the magnitudes of the errors in his own work.”
    Submitted by Jim Frew
  • “As the Australians always say, close enough is good enough.”
    Said whenever one had a doubt about how accurately a feature had to be described
    Submitted by D. Valeriano
  • “Getting grants of 16 to 18 thousand dollars saves the necessity of going out to scrub floors, wash dishes, do teaching, et cetera.”
    Said during January 25, 1989, lecture to Geography 200A
    Submitted by Mark Kumler
  • “Tell them Simonett’s hopping mad.”
    “What was it I called you about?”
    “With a telephone, sport, no one on the whole bloody planet is farther away than the end of your arm.”
    “endemically scruffy” (describing Coal Oil Point)
    “a congenital case of the slows”
    “optimizing for self”
    “a flawed human being”
    “a clear sense for the corporate jugular”
    Submitted by Mike Goodchild
  • “If you’re not in it, you can’t win it, mate!”
    Said with a pause and a heavy emphasis on the word “mate!”
    Submitted by Amy Ruggles
  • Reported by Hal Drake of the History Department:
    Hal Drake: “Do you have a lot of pain?”
    David Simonett: “Don’t we all, sport?”
  • “Don’t worry. He won’t cut your balls off.”
    Submitted by Paul Hudak
  • “He is a ditherer of the first magnitude.”
  • “You’ve got to make a commitment, God damn it!”
  • “He has his finger on the pulse of Geography.”
  • “bloody minded”
  • Once upon a time, there was this poor, but ambitious, graduate student. We will call him Marty. Marty needed a job to support himself through the remainder of his Master’s degree program. He had heard of an RA (Research Assistant) position with Dave Simonett and decided to deliver a resume in person. When Marty arrived at Simonett’s office, the professor invited him in, offering to look over his qualifications on the spot. As the zealous student placed a copy of his resume on the desk, he suddenly realized he had produced the resume for a Geog 103 class project and had written as the objective “To boldly go where no man has gone before.” Of course, this was the first item Simonett read. Just as Marty opened his mouth to explain the strange resume objective, Simonett SLAMMED his fist down on the desk and yelled “#@* damn it!” The two stared eye-to-eye over the desk. Marty’s knees began to buckle. Suddenly, Dave added “I like your SPIRIT!” Marty got the job.
  • “He’s a superannuated surfer.”
    “He used to be in the nastiness business.”
    Submitted by Earl Hajic, referring to Earl
  • optimally suboptimizing over a range of options”
    Submitted by J. Allen Jones
  • “Have algorithm, will travel.”
    “blood fatid dingo kidneys”
    Submitted by David Stoms
  • “Well, sport, now you’re a geographer.”
    Submitted by Dave Siegel
  • “Graduate school is a God damn monastic experience.”
    Submitted by R. Dodson
  • “softly, softly, catchee monkey”
    A Chinese saying that Dave used as his version of “Walk softly, and carry a big stick”
    Submitted by Terry Smith, Winter 2003
  • “Dammit! All his geese are swans!”
    Said about a U.S. geographer who wrote only positive evaluations of his students
    Submitted by Reginald Golledge, Fall 2003
  • “If you apply a clustering algorithm, then, by God, you will get — clusters!!”
    Submitted by John Cloud, a 2002 Geography PhD graduate, Fall 2003.
  • “We’re changing the fear of the unknown to the fear of the known.”
    Spoken as he handed out the 40 or so study questions for an upcoming test in Soils
    Submitted by Jay Baggett (BA 1976, MA 1979), who said he has used the phrase himself many times since.