Yeah I’m talking business, we talking CIA
I’m talking George Tenet, I seen him the other day
He asked me about my Maybach, think he had the same
Except mine tinted and his might have been rented
You know white people get money, don’t spend it
Or maybe they get money, buy a business
I rather buy 80 gold chains and go ign’ant
I know Spike Lee gone kill me but let me finish
Blame it on the pigment, we living no limits
Them gold Master P ceilings was just a figment
Of our imagination, MTV cribs
Now I’m looking at a crib right next to where TC lives
That’s Tom Cruise, whatever she accuse
He wasn’t really drunk he just had a few brews
Pass the refreshments, a cool, cool beverage
Everything I do need a news crew’s presence
Speedboat swerve, homie watch out for the waves
I’m way too black to burn from sun rays
So I just meditate at the home in Pompeii
About how I could build a new Rome in one day
“Great art is clear thinking about mixed feelings.”
— W.H. Auden
From “Spark,” a book examining the psychological and mental health benefits of exercise:
The one proven way to live longer is to consume fewer calories — at least if you’re a lab rat. In experiments in which rodents eat 30 percent fewer calories, they live up to 40 percent longer than animals allowed to eat as much as they want. “Our control group is really overfed and underexercised,” says neuroscientist Mark Mattson, pointing out that group is “a good match for a lot of the American population.” A study in monkeys that began eighteen years ago in the experimental gerontology lab at the National Institute on Aging suggests the same holds true in primates. And one human trial showed that asthma patients on a restricted diet for two months — three meals one day and only five hundred calories the next — had fewer markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in their blood (and their asthma symptoms improved). This finding supports the theory that imposing mild stress on the cells — in this case depriving them of fuel — makes them more resilient to future challenges and reduces free radicals. “It’s kind of like exercising for an hour every day,” Mattson says. “It’s a mild stress, but as long as there’s a recovery period, it’s good.”
He is cautious about telling people to skip meals, but that’s what he does: no breakfast, a salad for lunch, and a normal dinner, for a total of about two thousand calories. It’s likely that people of normal weight wouldn’t benefit as much, and anyone over fifty should be careful about malnourishment because they’re losing muscle and bone anyway. But if you’re overweight, you’re inflicting damage to your brain.
Three interesting points made by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos in this interview with Charlie Rose. No direct quotes below, all paraphrases.
Be curious. Read widely. Try new things. I think a lot of what people call intelligence just boils down to curiosity.
Say yes to everything. I have a lot of trouble saying no, to an pathological degree — whether to projects or to interviews or to friends. As a result, I attempt a lot and even if most of it fails, I’ve still done something.
Assume nobody else has any idea what they’re doing either. A lot of people refuse to try something because they feel they don’t know enough about it or they assume other people must have already tried everything they could have thought of. Well, few people really have any idea how to do things right and even fewer are to try new things, so usually if you give your best shot at something you’ll do pretty well.
Also, how we go about developing expertise. George Saunders:
When a young person first decides he wants to write, a number of mountains spring up around him, labeled with the names of his heroes.
Hemingway Mountain, let’s say.
He heads up it, armed with his love for Hemingway.
At some point, he starts to get tired. Tired of imitating. Tired of the low-ceiling feeling of trying to express his reality in someone else’s voice. Tired of the way that, by trying to sound and think like someone else, he is falsifying: selling his own experience of life short, omitting things he knows are true, adding in things he knows aren’t.
If he’s lucky enough to realize this, he trudges back down off Hemingway Mountain and starts over again.
Ah, look: Toni Morrison Mountain. That’s more like it.
Rinse, lather, repeat.
Then one day—maybe age has something to do with it, or something difficult happens that brings him to a boil—he snaps. No more imitation. That’s it. Something breaks. He starts sounding … like himself. Or at least he doesn’t sound like anyone else, exactly. A new mountain has appeared; he can actually see it, his name on it.
But wow, is it ever small.
It’s not even really a mountain. It’s like … it’s like a little dung heap or something.
Okay, okay, he thinks and goes over and stands on it.
The work he does there is not the work of his masters. It is less. It is more modest; it is messier. It is small and minor.
But at least it’s his.
He sent the trained dog that is his talent off in search of a fat glorious pheasant, and it brought back the lower half of a Barbie doll.
So be it.
Better than being stalled out forever.
He’ll make a collection of lower halves of Barbie dolls and call that a book.
And the thing is: it is a book. That’s what a book is: a failed attempt that, its failure notwithstanding, is sincere and hard-worked and expunged of as much falseness as he could manage, given his limited abilities, and has thus been imbued with a sort of purity.
Next on my reading list is “To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from Inside the Drug War.” According to this chart, the drug war in Mexico was the second most deadly conflict in the world in 2012. The United States is deeply involved in myriad ways, and the conflict has impacted me personally — my oldest brother, his wife and their family were forced to flee their home in Tijuana when out of the blue one day they received a threatening call demanding money or else. And yet I know almost nothing about the history and causes of the violence. That seems like something to remedy.
Update: I’m about a fifth of the way through ‘To Die in Mexico’ and am not in love. Going to instead try out “El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency.”
Oh how grateful I am for Karina who makes me lunches that look like this and taste even better.