Quotes

My Favorites These Days

  • [Podcasts are viral in a good sense]. My podcast is the type of virus that you sign up for once and then you have it forever. It’s like herpes. And they want it to be Ebola. Ebola gets eradicated. Ebola doesn’t spread far. I’d rather be herpes. — Roman Mars, Allusionist Podcast on Going Viral at 12:30
  • Money is like gas in the car—you need to pay attention or you’ll end up on the side of the road—but a successful business or a well-lived life is not a tour of gas stations. — Tim O’Reilly, WTF?: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us (p. 352)
  • We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters. — Peter Thiel. This was originally from the Founders Fund Manifesto but was taken out. Thiel’s article The End of the Future does a good job of explaining this philosophy.
  • A Rabbi, a priest and a minister walk into a bar and the bartender says, “We don’t tell jokes like that in 2018 anymore.” — My friend Joe Tieg
  • The Movie 2001 today: “Open the pod bay doors, Hal.” “I’m sorry, Dave. I didn’t understand the question.” “Open the pod bay doors, Hal.” “I have a list of eBay results about pod doors, Dave.” — The Economist on the current state of voice recognition technology

Coronavirus Quotes

  • Today I worked from home, ran 10 miles, homeschooled my kids, cleaned the house, made a delicious dinner, and got my kids to bed early. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you lie. — Mommy Owl on Twitter (Added 4/13/2020)
  • Look, I fully support banning travel from Europe to prevent the spread of infectious disease. I just think it’s 528 years too late. — Rebecca Nagle, Cherokee Writer (3/12/2020)
  • We don’t like to watch the Price is Right. The beginning is great when they guess the prices, play the games and spin the wheel. But we don’t like the end where Andrew Cuomo talks about the Coronavirus. — My kids
  • We are no longer “Working from Home.” We are now “Sleeping at the Office.” — Heard at a Toastmasters meeting
  • Switching jobs these days is like playing musical chairs when the music stops. — Jason Woleslagle
  • All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. — The opening line to Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.

Added 2022

  • If a nerd is someone whose every word and deed are predicated on the belief that appearing smart is more important than getting laid, then They Might Be Giants are, in fact, nerds: their music doesn’t sell sex; it sells smart-kid whimsy. Arty, melodic, and well wrought in a formal way, it bristles with wordplay and musical ideas. — The New Yorker Profie, “Urban Legends” by Michael Azerad. August 12, 2002.
  • It seems like they are trying to sell sausages by describing in detail how they make sausages.

Added 2021

  • I think of these psychologists as the quiet, ragtag troop of Cheerleaders for Low Self-Worth. Their pom-poms are droopy. They whisper when they cheer. Be HUMBLE. Be BLUE! Who’s the best? NOT YOU! — Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life, when talking about psychologists who were against the unmitigated promotion of self esteem
  • “There are several different frameworks one could use to get a handle on the indeterminate vs. determinate question. The math version is calculus vs. statistics. In a determinate world, calculus dominates. You can calculate specific things precisely and deterministically. When you send a rocket to the moon, you have to calculate precisely where it is at all times. It’s not like some iterative startup where you launch the rocket and figure things out step by step. Do you make it to the moon? To Jupiter? Do you just get lost in space? There were lots of companies in the ’90s that had launch parties but no landing parties.
    “But the indeterminate future is somehow one in which probability and statistics are the dominant modality for making sense of the world. Bell curves and random walks define what the future is going to look like. The standard pedagogical argument is that high schools should get rid of calculus and replace it with statistics, which is really important and actually useful. There has been a powerful shift toward the idea that statistical ways of thinking are going to drive the future.” — PETER THIEL from (The Hard Thing About Hard Things)
  • The new is often hard to accept; it can seem ugly or coarse. It is only seldom seen as beautiful. “I do not think of art as Consolation. I think of it as Creation. I think of it as an energetic space that begets energetic space,” wrote Jeanette Winterson, who in another context observed, “The most conservative and least interested person will probably tell you that he or she likes Constable. But would our stalwart have liked Constable in 1824 when he exhibited at the Paris Salon and caused a riot? . . . To the average eye, now, Constable is a pretty landscape painter, not a revolutionary who daubed bright color against bright color ungraded by chiaroscuro. We have had 150 years to get used to the man who turned his back on the studio picture, took his easel outdoors and painted in the rapture of light. It is easy to copy Constable. It was not easy to be Constable.” — Paul Goldberger in Why Architecture Matters
  • I’d learned one very simple trick: say yes. Simply say yes. Like Joseph E. Levine, on “The Producers,” said, “The curly-haired guy—he’s funny looking. Fire him.” He wanted me to fire Gene Wilder. And I said, “Yes, he’s gone. I’m firing him.” I never did. But he forgot. After the screening of “Blazing Saddles,” the head of Warner Bros. threw me into the manager’s office, gave me a legal pad and a pencil, and gave me maybe twenty notes. He would have changed “Blazing Saddles” from a daring, funny, crazy picture to a stultified, dull, dusty old Western. He said, “No farting.” I said, “It’s out.”
    He said, “You can’t punch a horse.” I said, “You’ll never see it again.” I kept saying, “You’re absolutely right. It’s out!” Then, when he left, I crumpled up all his notes, and I tossed it in the wastepaper basket. And John Calley, who was running [production at] Warner Bros. at the time, said, “Good filing.” That was the end of it. You say yes, and you never do it.
    Don’t fight them. Don’t waste your time struggling with them and trying to make sense to them. They’ll never understand. — Mel Brooks from The New Yorker.

Added 2020

  • “People waste a lot of time thinking about what the founding fathers would think of today’s issues. Think about if we were asked to have an opinion of what would happen 240 years in the future. We’d wake up and hear, ‘Can you believe that Madam President bin Laden is talking about giving next-gen synths the right to represent their moon pods in Underwater Congress?'” — David Cross, Making America Great Again
  • “We were doing a joke having to do with Toy Story, the last one, Toy Story 3. We were Saying it was a tearjerker, and Jon’s like, “What made it a tearjerker?” So I was telling him the premise of the story: Andy goes off to college and leaves all of his toys behind. Jon says, “I don’t get it, what’s so sad?” And I was like, “Oh my God, you’re Andy and we’re your toys. Holy shit, you insensitive prick!” — Allison Camillo, The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart
  • “I have two passions in my life: one is baseball and the other is opera. Fortunately enough they fall in different seasons-opera is in the winter and baseball in the summer… And people ask me, ‘How can you like both? They are so different.’ And I say, ‘Oh, no, they are both the same thing.'” — Manuel Marquez-Sterling from Ken Burns Baseball
  • Washington Redskins Change Their Name To The D.C. Redskins — The Onion
  • None of ya would change places with me! And I’m rich! That’s how good it is to be white! — Chris Rock
  • So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. — Chris Rock in Vulture.com from November 2014
  • Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities — Voltaire
  • One, two! One, two!
    And through and through
    The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
    He left it dead, and with its head
    He went galumphing back.

    — Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, uses this verse from Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky as his mic check in Netflix’s video game documentary, “High Score.”

Historical Quotes

  • Jesus Christ and General Jackson — What Harry Truman said when he was told to come to the White House for an emergency, before learning that FDR had died. Truman used this exclamation a fair amount
  • What hath God wrought — The first telegraph message that Samuel Morse sent

Some of My Previous Favorites

  • America is a weird country. It’s like I was a waitress somewhere, and now I’m in a movie—a futuristic astronaut cast in a new kind of Wild West picture. [At RISD] I get to make, like, a Space Western — John Maeda, former President of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Fast Company.
  • Listen, we’re all *possibly* Frank Sinatra’s son — Ronan Farrow’s Twitter Post after Mia Farrow hinted that Frank Sinatra might be Ronan’s father
  • When a girl sits down to do math, she might be more likely to say, “I’m not that good at this!” She actually is just as good (on average) as a boy at the math — it’s just that she’s even better at language arts — Make Your Daughter Practice Math. She’ll Thank You Later
  • I try so hard to teach my kids about self-control. And then I get really upset that Trader Joes doesn’t have organic strawberries in January. — Overheard at my kids’ school
  • I don’t have a wife or a daughter so I’m really having trouble comprehending how bad sexism is — Rachel Lacker, a very funny woman from the Yale Record humor magazine
  • A good team does a lot of friendly front-stabbing instead of backstabbing. Issues are resolved by knowing what they are — John Maeda on killing the elephant in the room
  • I’d much rather have a kid with nine fingers than a resourceless kid — Jeff Bezos on letting his kids use power tools
  • The thing that I worry about more is the media’s bias toward fairness. Nobody uses the word lie anymore. Suddenly, everything is “a difference of opinion.” If the entire House Republican caucus were to walk onto the floor one day and say “The Earth is flat,” the headline on the New York Times the next day would read “Democrats and Republicans Can’t Agree on Shape of Earth.” I don’t believe the truth always lies in the middle. I don’t believe there are two sides to every argument. I think the facts are the center. And watching the news abandon the facts in favor of “fairness” is what’s troubling to me. — Interview with Aaron Sorkin. It’s also said by Jeff Daniels (pretty much word for word) in The Newsroom.
  • All might come clear if you could just slip into the bathroom and do a little more Bolivian Marching Powder. Your brain at this moment is composed of brigades of tiny Bolivian soldiers. They are tired and muddy from their long march through the night. There are holes in their boots and they are hungry. They need to be fed. They need the Bolivian Marching Powder. — Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney, 1984