Zuihitsu, 2023-05

  • Freedom over money.
  • Human problems require human solutions.
  • Many cultures gnaw on the bones of cheap hate and discord.
  • Building and addressing problems as they arise is superior to talking.
  • Express what you feel. Anything about others is projection.
  • A scabbard makes its sword neither good nor bad.
  • Remember to remember.
  • What is your story, cosmology to you, the person?
  • Orient, then create your own map/story.
  • Some people’s good thoughts are lost in poor expression.
  • The shouting, wounds, and blood were in plain view, the cause was hidden: fortune ruled the rest.
  • Love without purpose, and do not hate without reason.—Aesop
  • Life is a series of bets, and sometimes, things don’t work out and the consequences can only be endured.
  • He who is deaf, blind and silent will live a hundred years in peace.—Sicilian proverb
  • Friendships transform your character and there is no greater sign of a difference in character than in choosing different friends.
  • Being able to sustain effort over time is a superpower.
  • We learn by suffering.
  • Take your best guess and put in a stop loss in at 10%.
  • Listen to the bomb throwers. They are more often right than not.
  • Ecstatic cults don’t scale and generally don’t survive their leader.
  • Moral panics are always and everywhere stupid.
  • Culture replaces authentic feeling with words.
  • Where there is language, there is disagreement.
  • Letting go of an old idea is better than grasping onto a new one.
  • Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.—Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Fanaticism is a monster that pretends to be the child of religion.—Voltaire
  • Find the closed doors inside of you.
  • Regard any answer as a hostile act.
  • All ideas are new to someone at some time.
  • …to underestimate one’s self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one’s own powers.—Sherlock Holmes
  • A lack of education is the mother of all suffering.
  • Liberal arts are the subjects worth studying by free people.
  • You must fight for what you believe to be right while never losing your sense of humor or your sense of proportion.—Neil Gaiman
  • There is no hack subject, only hack approaches.
  • Don’t speak badly of a friend, an enemy or yourself.
  • Don’t be arrogant when you are lucky or wretched when you’re not.
  • Ambition required the tongue to mask what is in the heart.
  • Persevere beyond competence.
  • Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.—T.S. Eliot
  • The defender only needs to survive. The attacker has to win.
  • Performance is not competence.
  • Knowledge speaks. Wisdom listens.
  • Exploitation demands make-believe.
  • Most people are trading in the marketplace of passions.
  • Eternal truths are always hypothetical.—Bertrand Russell
  • The primary purpose of regulation is it protects politically influential businesses, workers, and other constituencies from the disruptions of growth.
  • Simplicity comes at the end.
  • Burn the junk your past selves left behind.
  • What then should we say, considering that there is great utility in both silence and in speaking?—Sallust
  • Whoever trusts a dishonest man to keep him safe, Discovers ruin where he thought he would find aid.

Zuihitsu, 2023-04

  • Data over narrative.
  • Authoritative without being authoritarian.
  • Don’t be a push-over.
  • Any fool can know. The point is to understand.—Albert Einstein
  • Look for the slope not the Y intercept.
  • Doing leads to becoming.
  • Panic and overreaction—the late response of fools.
  • We are what we do/make.
  • People with full lives tend not to pass judgment on the lives of others.
  • Choose your feelings as you would a weapon.
  • Constraints can be invisible.
  • A life deeply lived connects to truth beyond itself.

Zuihitsu, 2023-03

Technically, zuihitsu are longer reflections than what I tend to collect. But, the general idea is right. Here’s this month’s installment. If you want the complete set, please download the fortune file.

  • The right way is the hard way.
  • Reimagine our world and create the conditions for human flourishing, which would necessarily involve self-determination, mutual aid and freedom from governments, markets, or ideologies dictating what an individual’s or group’s life can be.
  • More awareness, more choices.
  • Behavior is a combination of someone’s: past experiences, ability to self regulate, and their core beliefs.
  • You get what you tolerate.
  • The Gruen effect is when an intentionally confusing layout makes you forget the reason you came to a store to shop.
  • …sometimes paranoia’s just having all the facts.—William S. Burroughs
  • Marginal improvement or create something new. These rarely overlap.
  • The world is full of people whose vision of the future is an idealized past.
  • If a lion could talk we would not understand him.—Ludwig Wittgenstein, in his Philosophical Investigations
  • Connecting is better than protecting.
  • The first draft of history is emotional, inaccurate and conflicted.
  • No meaning without mythology.
  • A focus on accumulation destroys the social fabric.
  • People are a living composite of everyone they have ever loved.
  • Play is the soil from which healthy adults are grown and sustained.
  • Get in early and get out sooner.
  • Competition brings out the best in products, and the worst in people.
  • For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.—George Seaton
  • Wherever the wind blows, so too will my thoughts and feelings take me.
  • Speech is silver but silence is golden.
  • Use time as a filter.

Zuihitsu, 2023-02

Technically, zuihitsu are longer reflections than what I tend to collect. But, the general idea is right. Here’s this month’s installment. If you want the complete set, please download the fortune file.

  • It is easier to make a bad habit impossible than to not do the possible.
  • Good thinking requires discomfort.
  • Let your mind wander.
  • Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.—David W. Augsburger
  • Listening is where love begins: listening to ourselves and then to our neighbors.—Fred Rodgers
  • Never offer unsolicited advice. Even solicited, advice is a dangerous gift.
  • A man forgets his good luck the next day, but remembers his bad luck until next year.—E.W. Howe
  • Diplomacy and decisive action go hand in hand.
  • Unless the threat is immediate, observe and analyze.
  • Politics poison everything they touch.
  • Be last to judge and the first to embrace.
  • All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.—Blaise Pascal
  • Don’t give advice, do acknowledge reality.
  • On the utility to signal spectrum, the more the cost, the more signaling.
  • Better tools, better information.
  • The tall poppy gets cut down.
  • Rest is resistance.
  • Focus on making children string over fixing broken men.
  • We all have three voices: the one we think with, the one we speak with, and the one we write with. When you stutter, two of those are always at war.—John Hendrickson
  • Thought is formed in the mouth.—Tristan Tzara
  • Without mercy, there can be no mistakes.
  • Simple solutions in a complex world aren’t solutions.
  • Devalue effort and all that remains is morass.
  • Wonder is the helpmate of learning.
  • The best way to defeat the opposition is to lead it. 
  • Happy or smart. Choose one.
  • Always be willing to change your mind —especially if you’re smart.
  • We decide what to believe by deciding who to believe.
  • No need to separate the art from the artist, if the art is bad.
  • Social constructs, such as gender, race, etc. are picked up from our society. None of us escape them, except with conscious, courageous effort.
  • Peace is the product of clear boundaries.
  • It’s never going to be perfect. Do your best and let it go.
  • Conspiracy theories are the insecure person’s defense against a confusing world with too many competing narratives.
  • Specification is for guidance. Code is source of truth.
  • You don’t need to convince. Just do or be it.
  • I would never die for my beliefs, because I might be wrong.—Bertrand Russell
  • Truth is simple. Complexity is when truth is not understood or is there to obscure it.
  • The 10/10 Rule: it takes a decade to build a platform and another decade for it to reach mass adoption.
  • Fixing things you don’t like is where innovation begins.

Chicken With Green Dumplings

Based on the recipe from Bill Neal’s Southern Cooking. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1985. Pgs. 114, 117-118.


  • 1 chicken weighing 4 pounds (1800 g), poached
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon of pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 12 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 quarts (2 liters) of water

Wash the chicken and drain in colander. Combine the onion. celery and red pepper flakes, bay leaves, thyme salt, peppercorns and water in a stockpot. Bring to boil. Add chicken. Return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 90 minutes. When skin pulls from the joints, you are finished. Pull chicken from broth. Save broth. Wait for chicken to cool. Remove meat from bones.


  • 8 tablespoons of fat, chicken fat or butter
  • 1 cup (118 ml) chopped onion
  • 2 cups (275 ml) chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 9 tablespoons of flour
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 drops of hot sauce (optional)

Heat the fat over medium heat. Add onions. When onions are translucent, add mushrooms. Cook until moisture evaporates, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlice and cook for 2 minutes. Make a roux by adding the flour all at once and stir for continuously for 3 minutes. The flour will turn the color of mushrooms.

Pour in stock and cream. Stir continuously for 15 minutes. Roughly chop the chicken meat, add it to the stock, and cook for 15 more minutes. Season with salt pepper and hot sauce.


  • 1 1/2 cups (244 g) flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 egg well beaten, with enough milk to equal 7/8 of a cup (205 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 tablespoons of chopped scallions

Stir flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together, Make well in center and add egg/milk mixture. If too wet add flour. If too dry, add a few drops of milk. Dough should be sticky but not wet. Fold in herbs and scallions. Drop by the spoonfuls into the broth. Dumplings can be very close together. Cover tightly, annd reduce heat so liquid bubbles but is not boiling. Close and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

To serve, put sauce in the center of a large serving platter and garnish with dumplings. Or, just scoop some in a bowl.

Valentine’s Cookies

Over-the-top chocolate chip, oatmeal cookies.


  • 1 1/2 cups, all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon, baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light (or dark) brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons, vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 sweet shredded coconut, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup, toasted nut of choice, such as pecans or cashews
  • 1 cup, semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup, white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup, toffee chips and/or golden raisins
  • 2 1/2 cups, old-fashioned rolled oats


  • 2 baking sheets
  • parchment paper
  • standing mixer
  • 3 mixing bowls
  • long wooden spoon
  • tablespoon
  • spatula
  • wire rack for cooling
  • air-tight containers


  1. Preheat oven to 350F (177C).
  2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla.
  5. Add eggs and beat until blended, about a minute.
  6. Add flour, 3 tablespoons at a time.
  7. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.
  8. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper, with 1 inch separating them.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes (chewy) to 14 minutes (crisp).
  10. Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removing to oven, then transfer to wire rack.
  11. Once cool, put in an air-tight container.

The Five Love Languages

According to Gary Chapman, the five love languages are:

  1. words of affirmation (compliments)
  2. quality time
  3. receiving gifts
  4. acts of service
  5. physical touch

This book, “The Five Love Languages,” was published 30 years ago. I think it is a good mental model for thinking about relationships, and it probably helps to think of them as a spectrum. It’s not that we don’t employ one or another, but we prefer to use some more than others, some of which may be context dependent.

Personally, I don’t emphasize words of affirmation. I consider that the job of each person to validate themselves. Other people complimenting us should largely not matter. I think looking for outside validation is one of the larger cultural biases that people create. So, this is probably where I am weakest. I can recognize that there can be value in compliments, but I also see them as problematic. I don’t particularly need them, although it is nice to be appreciated.

I probably emphasize “acts of service” the most. Love isn’t a feeling. Or, it is least not just a feeling. Love is a verb. If it doesn’t entail actually doing something different, often putting someone else’s interests above our own, then is it love?

Physical touch is probably second most important. Quality time and gifts follow in the third and fourth spots, respectively. It’s important to give good gifts in situations where they are appropriate. But, a relationship that has a focus on gifts can also be problematic. It’s a physical manifestation of the same kinds of issues as compliments. If it is severe enough it can lead to dependency and transactional relationships.

I haven’t read the book, but I intend to, at some point. When I do, I’ll add some notes to this entry or link to it from this post.

Zuihitsu, 2023-01

Technically, zuihitsu are longer reflections than what I tend to collect. But, the general idea is right. Here’s this month’s installment. If you want the complete set, please download the fortune file.

  • In your closet and your life, subtract whenever you add.
  • When the wrench is on the nut, tighten it.
  • Ask: does it light me up? If no, don’t do it.
  • Every hatred must serve a purpose.
  • Never force, beg or chase.
  • Even a beautiful straightjacket is only going to be worn for special occasions.
  • What’s the focus? Surviving or flourishing.
  • Change is inevitable. The question is whether you accept it, direct it, or resist it.
  • Relationships reveal. What do your say about you?
  • Not everyone can be beautiful. But, everyone can be less ugly.
  • Clarity of purpose drives motivation.
  • Know your worth.
  • Control your emotions.
  • Avoidance is the coward’s burnt bridge.
  • Peace is better than revenge.
  • You do not know what other people feel.
  • The difference between a good and a bad person is their choice of causes.
  • Language that obscures, limits.
  • Skimming the top does not clean the bottom.
  • There is no investment without risk.
  • Be selective who you take advice from, and criticism is a form of advice.
  • Trust your feelings but use your calculator.
  • We all broke our rules for someone.
  • Meaning is often created in hindsight, not in the present.
  • Often one decision implies many others.
  • Standards for evidence are inverse to one’s desire to believe.
  • Actions over words.
  • Altered traits, not altered states.
  • Surround yourself with people with ideas they are working on rather than people that talk about other people.
  • Wrong questions are worse than wrong answers.
  • Dreams make life interesting.
  • Nobody is in control. The world is rudderless.—Alan Moore
  • Choose life-expanding choices over comfort.
  • Ask yourself how this serves your growth.
  • Can I accept the consequences of this choice? If I can, that is true freedom.
  • What would my fully-actualized self do?
  • When in doubt, opt for the natural path over the forced path.
  • Creativity requires “wasted” time.
  • The biggest risk is playing it safe.
  • The narcissism of small differences leads to the most boring conformity.

Generalizing the 5/10/15 Rule for U.S. Drug Development, Or The Cycle of the New

“U.S. drug development cycle, which he says “always follows the 5/10/15 rule. For the first 5 years, companies hype new drugs; next 5 years all hidden side effects are exposed, leading to black-box warnings and class action lawsuits; in [the] last 5 years, the companies start dissing their own old drug as the patent runs out to begin the hype cycle for their next new drug.” 

-Jane Metclafe, “2023 Predictions-The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.” neo.life. January 2023

This article on 2023 predictions is worth reading in full. However, I particularly found this piece interesting. Ultimately, this is about how incentives drive behavior. So, we might generalize this rule to something like: “Any novel thing goes through a period that focuses on benefits, another period on the risks, then finally becomes the status quo that will be replaced by some other, new thing.”

Zuihitsu, 2022-12

Technically, zuihitsu are longer reflections than what I tend to collect. But, the general idea is right. Here’s this month’s installment. If you want the complete set, please download the fortune file.

  • The first rule of life: don’t be a dickhead.
  • Men only have money the first month of dating, that’s recruitment budget. Never confuse it with operational budget.
  • Travel is a meat thing. Best for those whose meat is still fresh.
  • Emotional abuse: threats, using relationship history or traditiobal roles to avoid responsibility, pressure, ignoring boundaries, guilting, shaming, and getting other people to manipulate on your behalf.
  • Don’t believe the hype!—Public Enemy
  • Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.—Mark Twain
  • …there is no such thing as information-overload; there is just filter failure.—Clay Shirky
  • How might this experience bring out the best in me and help me grow?
  • Life is self-directed.
  • The planning fallacy, is the tendency to underestimate the amount of time needed to complete a future task, due in part to the reliance on overly optimistic performance scenarios.
  • Stop carrying the world on your shoulders. You ain’t got the build for it.
  • People rarely want advice. Most want to be heard. Learn to listen. Don’t try to fix it, change it, or project your own emotions onto it.
  • A question for wants: if I already had it, would I be glad?
  • Everything is possible. But not everything fits budget and timeline.
  • There’s always a tell, the canary in the coal mine, that announces the change. The hard part is recognizing it.
  • Adjudicating hacks allows systems to evolve.
  • …everybody is going to hurt you. You just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.—Bob Marley
  • Do things for love. Love is not earned. Love is either freely given, or it is not love at all.
  • Art is never finished, only abandoned.—Leonardo Da Vinci
  • The more comfortable you become in your own skin, the less you need to manufacture the world around you for comfort.
  • Get smart in secret and get stupid in public.
  • Do the easy bit first.
  • Looking to the past or present is a great way to miss the future.
  • Authentic love is about freedom, not possession.
  • Be the reason someone feels seen, heard, understood, appreciated, supported, and loved.
  • Choose grow over comfort, discipline over procrastination, improving over impressing, and progress over perfection.
  • Thinking stops at certainty.
  • Without nuance, ideas become more simple and more wrong.
  • It is enough for lazy wits to have the appearance of knowing.
  • Face, accept, float, let time pass.
  • Engage in a conspiracy of love with the whole world.
  • Self-directed learning is never boring.
  • The grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and, for children, it’s tiresome always giving them explanations.—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
  • Most beliefs put ideology above evidence.
  • Wisdom is knowing the right thing to do at the right time.
  • Crickets are the orchestra of the stars.
  • Struggle leads to transformation.
  • We are all living off the fat of a dream gone bad.
  • Launch determines orbit.
  • You are not your thoughts or opinions.
  • When I shit job needs to be done, cover all the angles and try not to get shat upon.
  • To own an idea, you have to spend the cognitive time buying it.
  • Stay cautious, stay alive.
  • The overall aim of most thought is tranquillity, not truth.
  • Bees and flies eat different food. No fly can convince a bee to start eating shit.
  • The problem with stereotypes is people never live up to them.
  • Say, or learn to say: I’m sorry. I don’t know. I was wrong. I need help.
  • Lotteries distract from discontent with irrational hope.
  • Day wise, decade foolish.
  • Without agency, every problem is a catastrophe.
  • Speaking without thought is not the same as speaking the truth.
  • Philosophy is question fandom.
  • The path to self-realization is strewn with embracing uncomfortable truths.
  • Addiction is often an expression of anger.
  • Respect leaves room for questions and challenges.
  • Through play, we re-learn how to trust our own eyes and ears and resist those who would command us.
  • It is enough that it is engaging until we are ready to walk away.