1.This article about “How to Be Polite” gives you a useful tip for making small talk with people (ask them what they do, and then say, “Oh, that sounds hard”–no matter what the job is), but it also contains some really nice thoughts about compassion, non-judgment, and Zen-like freedom, too:

People silently struggle from all kinds of terrible things. They suffer from depression, ambition, substance abuse, and pretension. They suffer from family tragedy, Ivy-League educations, and self-loathing. They suffer from failing marriages, physical pain, and publishing. The good thing about politeness is that you can treat these people exactly the same. And then wait to see what happens. You don’t have to have an opinion. You don’t need to make a judgment. I know that doesn’t sound like liberation, because we live and work in an opinion-based economy. But it is. Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life’s riches.

2. Via my brother, here’s a collection of photoshopped children’s book covers: