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Showing posts from March, 2015

The Girl From Ipanema

My son Daniel is fond of saying that nothing really matters in this world besides music and food.  He explains that these two things alone bring great, reliable, and unmitigated pleasure and can transform our state of mind.  Recently I was in New York City, the hustle-and-bustle capital of our country, and found myself completely caught up in all of it.  I can’t remember exactly where I was at the time, but in the midst of all the chaos and the technology I heard the Frank Sinatra rendition of “The Girl From Ipanema,” and I began to melt.  The singing, the musical score, and mostly the tempo of the song returned me to a period that maybe I had touched only in my youngest years, and maybe not even then but just read about or saw in the movies.  Listening to it I imagined a slower time, when people gazed into each other’s eyes longer or just daydreamed while looking at nature rather than taking any pause as a cue to look down at their smartphone.   I felt the humanness and even the rom…

Human Nature and Contrarianism

As I wandered through the neighborhood farmer’s market this morning with my wife I passed by this most incredible stand serving sublime French pastries.  People were literally making orgasmic sounds as they bit into some of the offerings.  It took great willpower, and the firm hand of my wife, for me to pass up the opportunity to ingest one.  This moment left me with the observation that humans are designed or even hardwired to seek and to treasure comfort.  We love to eat things with sugar and white flour, to lie on our sofa and watch a ball game or a movie or a silly reality TV show. We seem to naturally seek to avoid risk, or even hard work, and crave security, safety, and comfort.  Passing up sugar and white flour laden foods or going to the gym or for a hard run or bike ride is considered a sacrifice, connoting an opportunity for joy passed up.  Taking career risk and doing something entrepreneurial is mostly shunned in favor of finding a stable job.

The Power of Smiles

If you have read my past blogs you have found a consistent trend of me searching for ideas of improving things. Implicit in that is a drumbeat of criticism about how things are today, and if you didn't know me well you might believe that I'm the ultimate pessimist or cynic.  This is far from the truth, yet it is correct that I see in the world many things that can be improved upon, and too often this manifests itself in critical thinking and blogging.  In weeks past, as I have sat to write, I found myself searching for something positive to write about, something sunny and optimistic rather than critical or gloomy.  Last week I found that something positive.

Freedom Means Being Free to Lose

One of the worst things about the crash of 2008 is that an entire generation has learned that failure and loss is unacceptable in the financial marketplace.  Failure was not permitted as institutions were propped up with taxpayer money and given new life.  Many homeowners who had mortgaged their properties and could not live up to their commitments were allowed to remain in their homes with debts rearranged and restructured.

Politics is a Tough Subject

I recently hosted a dinner party with some new friends.  It was a great evening and we all connected so well on many levels.  At the end of the evening one of our guests steered the discussion towards presidential politics and then things somehow became awkward and heated.  I was asked if I would be interested in supporting a specific candidate and I replied that I have a generally unfavorable view of most politicians and have a policy of only supporting friends and those that I know personally, or people whose specific agendas I understand.  I continued that I believe that we citizens have for too long turned over control to leaders who never lay down specific agendas for helping our society, and are thus completely unaccountable in office.  Perhaps I made a few poor choices of words inasmuch as this is a passionate subject for me, however, the theme of my message was entirely non-partisan.  In fact, knowing that my guest was a committed liberal Democrat, during the course of our exc…