Monday Assorted Links

1. Recent study concludes “There’s No Safe Amount of Alcohol”. The New York Times reports that “the truth is much less newsy and much more measured”. I’ll have a drink to that.

“The population level average of daily drinks is 1.9 for women and 3.2 for men, according to the study.”

That’s worrisome.

2. Women, consider this line of work if you want to be paid the same as men. Great catch phrase, “Equal by nature.”

3A. Why Columbia keeps producing talented cyclists.

3B. Christopher Blevins. One of the U.S.’s most promising cyclists who despite being a student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, digs the humanities, and is down with slam poetry. The philosophy of his junior team. . . “Never forget the fun.”

3C. Kate Courtney. The U.S.’s and now world’s best mountain biker. A Stanford student. We can just call these two “brains on bikes”. Dig this vid of Courtney’s recent World Championship victory. Start at around 1 hour, 46 minutes.

4. Eliud Kipchoge. The GOAT. . . greatest of all time, threw down in Berlin yesterday. Despite those 78 seconds, I stand by my prediction that I will not live long enough to see anyone trim an additional 100 seconds.

5. How much should you spend remodeling a house for maximum profit?

 

What We Get Wrong About Honesty

That it’s mostly telling the truth to others. But being honest with one’s self is a more essential starting point, and because we lack any semblance of objectivity, far more difficult.

None of us are ever completely honest with ourselves. Meaning we are loathe to accept our differences which makes self acceptance a constant struggle.

Case in point. I loved, loved, loved this short essay titled “An Emotional Reunion Between Cello and Cellist”. Russell had me after her opening paragraph:

“On a recent Thursday, Matt Haimovitz, the forty-seven-year-old virtuoso cellist, packed an empty instrument case into the back of his car and drove from his home, in Montreal, to a friend’s apartment on the Upper West Side, where he’d be crashing. The case was for Haimovitz’s rare, multimillion-dollar cello, which he calls Matteo—after Matteo Goffriller, the seventeenth-century Venetian luthier who built it. He had played it for thirty years, until, fifteen months earlier, while giving a lesson to a promising Canadian student, he dropped it, and the cello’s neck snapped. Since then, the instrument had been undergoing extensive repairs by a team of five luthiers at Reed Yeboah Fine Violins, near Columbus Circle. Now the shop had called to say that Matteo was ready for release.”

If I’m honest with myself, I want something resembling what those six people have—Haimovitz and the five luthiers—a singleminded focus on one thing that animates their lives. One thing that gives them an overwhelming purpose for being. Even a little bit of flow.

Put differently, I want to love something the way Haimovitz loves his cello. I am fascinated by people with distinct passions, often wishing I was one of them. It doesn’t matter how esoteric or far removed the passions are from my life; interior design, locomotive trains, the Spanish language; I still look on with envy.

This year I’ll cycle somewhere between 4,500 and 5,000 miles. Friends ride 10,000-12,000. I like cycling, they love it. Some people read a book or more a week. I like reading, they love it. Some commit 60+ hours a week to their jobs because they like their work so much they often loose track of time. I prefer being on sabbatical. Some bloggers have huge readerships in part because they are laser focused on a particular topic. In contrast, the Humble Blog, a reflection of my continuously distracted pea brain, is all over the place.

Hiking Burroughs Mountain Trail last weekend, I listened to my friends excitedly discuss plant nomenclature and geology and wondered, “What’s wrong with me?” By which I meant, “Why aren’t I equally curious? Why am I content not knowing the name of the beautiful flower or understanding how the awe-inspiring landscape was formed? Why aren’t I similarly passionate about labeling and understanding the natural world?”

But then I stop to think that my cycling obsessed friends don’t run and swim. And maybe it’s okay that my interests are more disparate, and therefore, less intensive. Wide-ranging interests enable me to ask more questions, connect with more people, create a relatively diverse and interesting social network.

How fortunate that everyone is wired differently. Maybe the singleminded people of the world, the Haimovitz’s, would tell me sometimes there are downsides to being obsessively focused on one thing.

Maybe I’m okay and you’re okay.

 

Apple Will Get You To Open Your Wallet

Despite the new Apple Watch Series 4’s central features—a built in EKG and “fall detection”—being designed for aging Baby Boomers who may not be able to use it without their grandchildren’s help, the marketing skews young, urban, global, and very creative and good. The bifurcated approach to design and selling is interesting. Go ahead and criticize the high prices for the incremental improvements in hardware, but give Apple’s advertising team credit for continued brilliance.

Paragraph to Ponder

From “The Recovery Threw The Middle Class Under a Benz”.

“Data from the Federal Reserve show that over the last decade and a half, the proportion of family income from wages has dropped from nearly 70 percent to just under 61 percent. It’s an extraordinary shift, driven largely by the investment profits of the very wealthy. In short, the people who possess tradable assets, especially stocks, have enjoyed a recovery that Americans dependent on savings or income from their weekly paycheck have yet to see. Ten years after the financial crisis, getting ahead by going to work every day seems quaint, akin to using the phone book to find a number or renting a video at Blockbuster.”

“Of All The Paths You Take In Life, Make Sure Some Of Them Are Dirt.”

A few friends and I heeded John Muir’s advice this weekend.

Saturday we wondered for a wee bit on the Wonderland Trail where it intersects with the White River. Sunday we went long, looping the Burroughs Mountain Trail from Sunrise. If you’ve never done it, add it to your list. I felt very fortunate to live where we do. And to be alive.

Bonus picture from the niece’s July wedding in Colorado. Taken by Jeanette Byrnes of Jeanette Byrnes photography fame. If you’re looking for a photog, better hire her before she gets too expensive.

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West facing valley

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Peak-a-boo 1

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Peak-a-boo 2

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Peak-a-boo 3

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Meandering meadow which may be snow covered by now

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Purple haze

 

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Best Wife, Dutiful Blogger, Eldest

Is It Any Surprise?

Top officials in the Trump administration are clueless about how best to cope with their boss. Haven’t you been there? Several times likely?

That’s what I find so fascinating about this, nearly every adult working person can relate to some degree. We haven’t wanted to kill our worst bosses like in the 2011 comedy Horrible Bosses, but we’ve desperately wanted them replaced.

And in those situations, we haven’t known what to do either.

We realized quitting wouldn’t accomplish much. So we complained a lot to whomever would listen, but that didn’t accomplish anything either. We’ve tried talking to them about necessary changes to no avail. We’ve conveyed our dismay to their boss with mixed results. That’s the key difference in this workplace. Mattis, Kelly, and the other cabinet members don’t have that option. I feel for Mad Dog, JK, and the others deeply mired in Trump’s swamp of amoral ego.

When it comes to coping with truly dysfunctional bosses, what is the collective wisdom? What should individuals and work groups do first, second, third? What is the academic literature on this? Absent any profound insights, we just end up with anonymous editorials, resignations, and books that offer little guidance on what to do differently the next time.

We can and must do better. Somehow.