Quote of the Day & Recent Tweets

Today's quote of the day is from this well-written review of a memoir about the author's mother dying:

The literature on dying is rife with measured words, gallantry, sage advice. This is good. But we all harbor an inner 2-year-old: naturally stubborn and easily frightened, with no recourse in the face of unfathomable hurt but to stamp our feet and wail.

Or just cry. The 2-year-old is within us all.


I've stayed prolific on Twitter. Below are some other quotes I've posted there, and below are the fold are the rest of my recent tweets (140 character max) from the past couple months.

  • "Sarah Palin has been tagged and released back into the wild." – Jon Stewart
  • "Wisdom seems to come largely from curing childish qualities, and intelligence largely from cultivating them." – Paul Graham
  • "Mutual understanding and the human touch are in inverse relationship to frequency of encounter and kinship." Yi Tuan: http://cli.gs/DEEygq
  • "Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough." – George Washington Carver   
  • "Many people seem to find it relatively easy to find a state of mind where they can 'honestly' say whatever is in their interest to say." – Robin Hanson
  • "Why is it admirable for scientists to love science and businessmen to love biz, but political candidates must [say they] hate politics?" MK
  • "Because we are also what we've lost" — Amores Perros
  • "Libertarians never die — they just walk off alone…" – David Zetland, from his good reflections of being a postdoc: http://cli.gs/qZYdqL
  • "Even a happy life cannot be w/o a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness." – Carl Jung
  • "The religious people who live the longest are ones who attend services most frequently rather than feel their beliefs most deeply."
  • "The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday." 
  • "Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, when we would move the stars to pity."- Flaubert on writing 
  • "Sincerity with a motive." – essayist Lewis Hyde on the phenom when the emperor declares *himself* to have no clothes.
  • "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." – Mike Tyson, on risk management
  • "Have u heard that it was good to gain the day? I also say it is good to fall, battles r lost in the same spirit in which they r won."
  • "It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust." – ever-wise Samuel Johnson, on trust
  • "Progress is measured by [making] ourselves better than we were in the past rather than by increased proximity to a goal." – Kuhn
  • "Man never really grows up, he just learns how to act in public." – Krishna, commenting on my blog post on true colors emerge in tough times
  • "If you were in a position of authority on September 11, then every day since has been September 12." – Sec State Condi Rice
  • "People are experience-rich and theory-poor. I help people organize / make sense of their experiences." – Malcolm Gladwell
  • "My goals in life: To love, be loved, and never stop learning." – Tim Ferriss. That's pretty damn good. Those are mine, tho I would add happiness.
  • "We will learn an enormous amount in a very short time, quite a bit in the medium term, and absolutely nothing in the long term." On $ crisis
  • "The world is not comprehensible, but it is embraceable." – Martin Buber
  •  “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung
  • "A weakness is any activity that leaves you feeling weaker after you do it." – Marcus Buckingham, one of the few gurus I respect / read
  • "When everyone sees Opportunity; they are only seeing the reflection. True Opportunity appears at the market bottom, not at the top." Peter Rip

  • Boredom is reason a lot of ppl hate their job, break up with gf/bf, and are otherwise unhappy. Very interesting projects / ppl: hard to find
  • In an attempt to focus ourselves to make an important decision, we often overrate the stakes, causing unnecessary stress and add'l paralysis
  • People in the Bay Area seem incapable of wearing a tie / dressing up even if asked. All casual all the time. I'm not complaining!
  • Wow – 1 in 4 women in U.S. have genital herpes, an STD transmitted even when condom is used. Should regular STD tests be mandatory for 18+?
  • Many ppl are unaware that L.A. is the "most diverse human habitation in human history." At Hollywood HS, e.g, 80 languages are spoken.
  • Journalistic terms often confused: "Op/ed": outside contributor. "Column": regular contributor. "Editorial": unsigned article by ed board.
  • Pet peeve: When people overuse "actually" or "in fact" in writing. Those phrases alone do not produce an unexpected/surprising idea.
  • A year ago today I headed into the ultra primitive Amazon jungle in Ecuador. Def want more of those challenging/scary experiences in '09. 🙂
  • Talking slowly all the time: annoying. Pausing before beginning a sentence or between sentences: a probable sign of thoughtfulness.
  • San Francisco Dine About Town is back Jan 15-31: dine at some of the top restaurants for 50% off: http://cli.gs/GnUg82
  • Some degree of self-doubt and re-visiting of old beliefs can stave off "the deep slumber of a decided opinion," as John Stuart Mill put it.
  • Reading through Tribune Company bankruptcy filings which got sent to me I guess since I've freelanced for the LA Times. RIP newspapers.
  • Bumper sticker on car says "Proud Parent of 2007 Rhodes Scholar." Is this a joke?!
  • Today was a "random day" – bunch of calls and mtgs mostly w/ ppl I don't already know. Easier to do this in batches b/c it takes one "mode."
  • Surprised how many students use college email addy (.edu) as primary. They should set up forwards and use a personal one as a catch-all.
  • A pithier version of my last tweet via @norcross: There are lies of commission and lies of omission. Both equally dishonest
  • To *lie* is to knowingly answer a question wrongly. To be *dishonest* is to not volunteer info you are ethically compelled to disclose.
  • Reading the AP English for Dummies test prep bk that contains 1 of my NPR commentaries in the practice section for students to analyze. Ha!
  • Self-understanding, like happiness, is never fully achieved. It's an on-going pursuit and sometimes excessive explicit focus hurts the cause 
  • "Little Miss Sunshine" is as hilarious today as it was two years ago. So many golden lines. 
  • Good late night snack alternatives to PB&J saltines: cottage cheese on cold English muffins, and cheese with pear slices.
  • Christmas Eve tradition: Mexican food for lunch then movie. This year's movie: "Milk."Awesome. Proud to be from San Francisco
  • "What you think, feel and believe matters less than what you DO." Or: "Actions speak louder than words." True. Sometimes depressingly true.
  • "We're not happy until you're unhappy." – What the Northwest Airlines motto should be, according to one friend   
  • Got about a dozen Christmas cards by mail or email today. Lost in the shuffle. Holidays are a terrible time to send updates / cards.
  • Just ran after and narrowly missed a train. There's something very Hollywood about outstretched hands lunging toward closing doors   
  • Just saw movie "Slumdog Millionaire" in Japantown. Great imagery. Nice romance story line ("Kiss me" last line). Accurate intro to India.
  • A Mexican strawberry picker in Bakersfield with an income of $14k and no English was lent every penny he needed to buy a house for $720,000.
  • Since when did Bill Joy (Sun) become Debbie Downer on tech issues? Everything I've read of him lately is negative on the future
  • It is possible — even common — for someone's analysis and *description* to be right, but *prescription* and action items to be wrong.
  • I might be the last person to discover "Where the hell is Matt?" videos. This is awesomely fun and travel-inspiring: http://cli.gs/XBR8H2 
  • More people are interested in "being a writer" than actually writing, "being an intellectual" than actually doing intellectual things.
  • My friend Ramit is giving away $2,500 to someone in their 20's who demonstrates entrepreneurial potential and has a plan: http://bit.ly/KIrF 
  • Even after the auto industry is gone and Mich a wasteland, I'll still listen to and get pumped up by the song "Put Your Hands Up 4 Detroit."
  • Ad on Facebook for "Newsom for California." What a Governor's race it will be – Newsom, Feinstein, possibly Jerry Brown, Villaragrosa
  • When we feel anxiety-producing emotions, we sometimes say the direct opposite of what we actually feel. (Freud's "reaction formation")
  • Planning is a poor second to complex, self-organizing processes. – Jane Jacobs, paraphrased by Richard Florida
  • There are times in your life when you live each day actively and forge new ground. And other times when you simply let the days pile up.
  • Why do we often say an essay or person is "smart"? When it/the person makes *us* feel smart. We love feeling like we "got it."
  • "People change: a) thru therapy, b) when you quit a long-term addiction, c) someone important to u dies, or d) through good love." – friend
  • The New Yorker profile on Naomi Klein suffers from the mag's over-emphasis on the personal and under-emphasis on the person's *ideas.*
  • Ted Turner was sent to boarding school when he was FOUR years old. Ever since, he's had problems being alone. It figures.
  • Bill Richardson repeated his acceptance speech as Commerce Sec in Spanish after doing it in English. Bilingualism in US: not if but when. 
  • Winner for the most boring newspaper headline ever, according to a New Republic contest few years back: "Worthwhile Canadian Initiative" 
  • Women study abroad more than men 2:1. Fascinating. Why? Risk tolerance? Female biological clock? See: http://cli.gs/Mt2Qdb  
  • I've never believed/understood the logic, "I don't do things drunk that I wouldn't have done sober." I almost always find this not true.
  • Smart is like vanilla ice cream. There are thousands of really smart people. I value eccentricity, weirdness, interestingness. Black swans.
  • Most actively seek positivity and happiness. Another approach is to try to eliminate negativity and things that make you unhappy. 
  • 3 out of 4 home sales in Merced, Calif. are foreclosures. Central Cali is getting massacred.  
  • Anyone else surprised by the huge journalistic platform Henry Blodget seems to have now, after a lifetime ban from the securities industry?  
  • Has there been a more brilliant culinary invention than the bread bowl? How cool is it to eat chili / clam chowder and then eat the bowl?  
  • I feel sorry for the apostrophe. It gets constantly misused and abused by its careless employers.  
  • Until you've been exposed to a higher standard you don't know the higher standard exists.
  • The Economist chart on Larry Summers' strengths and weaknesses: "Brilliant, experienced; ego surplus, sensitivity deficit." Ha!
  • There seems to be no nationwide TSA policy on whether laptops need to come out of case for xray. Some airports yes, others no. Life is hard.
  • Is there a bigger turn-on than seeing a woman on the train carefully studying the leaders / editorials of The Economist?   
  • Lol. Commenter on my blog says "What keeps you busy?" is preferable Q to "What do you do?" in case person is unemployed. (Tough econ times.)
  • To be truly committed to peanut butter is to eat it not just when it's easy (w/ milk, jelly) but when it's hard (sans both).
  • Clothes just out of the dryer feel so good when it hits the skin. Reminds me of when Kramer had sandwich shop heat his pants in their oven.
  • Three of us treked deep into the Bay Area backwoods. Treacherous journey. Hazardous hike. We left as boys. We returned as men.
  • A BlackBerry owner who doesn't play the Bricklayer game on it is the rarest thing I know.
  • Judging a person: Weighing the good that comes from their "best version" versus the pain that comes when they embody their worst self.     
  • Our deal with urban pigeons: they get to live in our universe if they get out of the way of our cars / the street when driving. (Seinfeld)
  • People do change: I've decided I now prefer window seats to aisle on planes w/ 3 seat config. Tks to everyone who's helped me see the light.
  • Is there anything more meditative than listening to rain falling softly outside?
  • 70% of Latin Americans think governments favor the interests of the privileged few. Only 30% think there is equality before the law.
  • Cool site that shows crime logs / "news on your block" for major cities. Dozens of police calls near my address in SF: http://cli.gs/4YYg5W
  • The one airline where checking in online early matters – Southwest – does not email to remind you to check-in 24 hrs before.
  • Fascinated by people who type in lower case / sign their name in lower case in the hopes of seeming more approachable, friendly, or informal
  • Giveaways of young writers: excessive self-seriousness and formality, cynicism as cheap way to humor, wordiness, and obv use of a thesaurus.
  • Article about my talk last week says I had "tastefully messy hair." How kind. It's approaching fro-status tks to my inner black man.
  • A first: flight attendent signed off the flight saying "Peace be with you." And also to you, United Airlines. 
  • I aspire for better thought control. Ie, allow thoughts on X, exclude thoughts on Y. I think Buddhism tries to help you do this
  • When no party is willing to express a preference the decision-making process gets thrust into the death spiral of "deferential indecision."   
  • Someone with last name "Babe" just emailed me. That's a first. Wonder what term of endearment her boyfriend uses??
  • Being up on news/current affairs is an important social lubricant. Like it or not, the headlines are a big part of informal chit-chat.   
  • Omaha airport is all Warren Buffet, all the time. Not surprising they're milking all they can from their most famous resident.   
  • "Can you sigh backward?" – clever sentence on the Mariott's smoke-free policy sign
  • Should I write something better/more creative than "all best wishes" when signing lots of books at once? That's been my stock phrase
  • Upon landing, attendent says: "Do us a favor and call your loved ones, tell 'em we got you here safely – and 20 mins early."
  • I still get a shiver of excitement every time I take off in a plane, creep into clouds, shrinking city below. I feel at home when mobile
  • Through overuse, "rockstar" has lost its meaning when referring to an ideal job candidate. E.g., "Rockstar engineer."
  • Joe the Plumber's book is hitting shelves December 1st. That was quick. Can't wait to hear his enlightened vision for a better America!  
  • One in six children in U.S. lives below the poverty line.
  • Reading the Air New Zealand "guide to being stylish in the sky." Eh. When flying my ideal is sweatpants, t-shirt, sandals, and an arm rest.
  • "Holidays On Ice" by the usually-funny David Sedaris didn't do much for me. Listened to it as audiobook the other day. My rec: pass. 
  • Rule of thumb: Be skeptical of things you learned before you could read. E.g., religion.
  • Words “kinesthetically evocative their meaning”: “lick,” “heebie-jeebies,” “chunky,” “blink,” “squeeze,” “foist,” “wonky,” and “wobbly.”
  • Just learned what "oenophilia" means — love of wine. I would love to make all self-identified oenophiles take a blind taste test
  • Premarital cohabitation is "associated with increased risk for divorce and marital distress in the U.S." Surprising. http://cli.gs/3phL3Z
  • People with gender-ambiguous first names should figure out an appropriate way to communicate in email whether they're a Mr. or Ms.   
  • Homeland Security Sec Michael Chertoff at Claremont. Very impressive and well-spoken guy.
  • Just got a nice, long letter and request via snail mail….with no email address or phone to reply. Annoying. Make it easy to respond!
  • Christopher Hitchens at dinner: "Humor and intelligence are correlated almost 1:1." (Ie, funny and smart tend to go together.)
  • What percentage of rock/pop songs are about love / romance? It seems like at least 80%.

8 Responses to Quote of the Day & Recent Tweets

  1. Thao Ly says:

    I’ve been reading your book “My Start Up Life” and I think it’s amazing. It was given to me by a professor [Glenn Violett] at Foothill College. I look forward to meeting you =D

  2. Tyson says:

    I really like the quotes. Have you seen Charlie Rose’s ‘A Memorial of those who died in 2008’ show? The clips are fantastic in it. Plenty of quoting fodder.

  3. Ben Casnocha says:

    Awesome, thanks! See you soon!

  4. Ben Casnocha says:

    No I have not but it sounds interesting.

  5. “My goals in life: To love, be loved, and never stop learning.” – Tim Ferriss. That’s pretty damn good. Those are mine, tho I would add happiness.

    This one made me go yay!

    Maybe happiness comes from adding more goals (eg what the pos. psych. people say), rather than being a goal you can do in & of itself? Seems less concrete than the others.

  6. Krishna says:

    Feel at home when mobile…? That is a bit contrarian. They say a true traveler should never feel at home 🙂

  7. Only 80 languages in Los Angeles? It’s 138 in Queens, NY and 300 in London.

  8. Ben Casnocha says:

    80 languages in a SINGLE HIGH SCHOOL in LA, not all of LA.


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