Pass the Olives

A Jumble of Opinions on Living, Thinking, Reading, and Making Things

Category: Quotations

I love quotations. They are in and out of my head, however, so fast that I have to write them down. After reading them a bunch of times, I do remember them. Not exactly but almost. Having a list is reassuring.

Your Ducks in a Row

As long as you have two or fewer, your ducks are always in a row.

The Covert Comic


On the problem of school library visits being limited to 3 books every 2 weeks when each book is finished in a day or two.

What I need are books that can survive me for two weeks.

Carolyn, age 8

To start a movement, you need to nurture the followers. A movement is composed of followers and new followers emulate the followers, not the leader.

The first follower is actually an underestimated form of leadership in itself. The first follower is what transforms a lone nut into a leader.

— Dereck Sivers, TED Talk, How to Start a Movement

I do not mean any disrespect to Oprah. A friend of mine once meant disrespect to Oprah, and all his window treatments turned on him.

Alexandra Petri, Compost, Washington Post, 2011

When deciding what to do next seven-year-old Carolyn asked, “Do I have time to do this before my piano lesson?”

“Your lesson isn’t until 4:00. It’s only 10:00 now.”

“Well, is that enough time?”

I pointed to the clock and explained how the hours passed, the distance between 10:00 and 4:00. “That’s five hours.”

She said, “I know how to tell time and all that on digital and analog clocks, but I don’t comprehend it. What is five hours?”

A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled.

Sir Barnett Cocks (1907-1989)
Clerk of the House of Commons

When my thirteen-year-old daughter complained that her friend was being rude, my ten-year-old son asked, with no trace of irony,

“Then why don’t you just be rude back?”

“Because I’m not going to sink to her level.”

“Why not? You sink to mine all the time.”