Saturday Morning Links

1. Ever heard of the Lofoten Islands? Me neither. But I’d guess you’ve seen commercials or pictures of this place. Lofoten is in Norway and inside the Arctic Circle, and they are a small archipelago surrounded by these huge mountains. I think there’s a Volkswagon commercial or something that shows how you can get around on these islands.

Photo by Ivan Bertona on Unsplash

2. I always hear that clock of mine ticking away when I write these things, but this is definitely one of those dreams of mine, to hike the Sentiero Italia (Trail Italy), 7,000 kilometers across the entire country of Italy and it looks absolutely amazing. I also love the mountains of Italy, especially in the northern region. I realize I can’t hike for 3 months to accomplish this, but I could take a week at one point.

3. It’s time we think about death, especially if you haven’t already. I’ve mentioned this a lot, but being an estate planning attorney, I’ve thought quite a bit about death, it actually is a huge part of my life because I deal with people dying all of the time. Outside Online’s Michael Easter writes about his trip to Bhutan:

“You Americans are usually ignorant,” he said, using a word often seen as an insult in the United States, but that by definition means “lacking awareness.” In Bhutan and other Buddhist countries, “ignorance” is the rough English translation of “Avidyā.” That’s a Sanskrit word that means having a misunderstanding of the true nature of your reality and the truth of your impermanence. “Most Americans are unaware of how good you have it, and so many of you are miserable and chasing the wrong things.

“You act like life is fulfilling a checklist. ‘I need to get a good wife or husband, then I get a good car, then I get a good house, then I get a promotion, then I get a better car and a better house and I make a name for myself and then …’” he rattled off more accomplishments that fulfill the American Dream. “But this plan will never materialize perfectly. And even if it does, then what? You don’t settle, you add more items to the checklist. It is the nature of desire to get one thing and immediately want the next thing, and this cycle of accomplishment and acquisitions won’t necessarily make you happy—if you have ten pairs of shoes you want 11 pairs.”

The problem with this checklist of things (which I’m completely guilty of as well) is that we’re always filling our lives with things, things to do or things in general and that’s maybe not contemplative for a fulfilled life. I know for me, the further I get away from that idea, the better my life seems to be, or the more appreciative my life seems. And Easter further explores this idea that death is a cliff that we’re all headed towards, no matter who you are, and facing that reality is a good thing.

4. I totally had crushes on the girls from “A Different World” and I am almost positive that I may have been one of the few people that I grew up with that had that thought and I am sure I never expressed that to anyone. That was appointment television for me and via Vanity Fair, an oral history of that show brings back a handful of memories. The other thing that this introduced to me was the idea of a historically black college, something I had no idea about and am not even sure that this was something that was intended, but it certainly registered in my brain. I also wanted Dwayne Wayne’s glasses.

5. Via Eater’s Kieran Dahl, she visits Monowi, Nebraska, a one-person and one-restaurant town (yes, 87-year old Elsie Eiler lives there and has a restaurant). I remember growing up and in my town I felt like there was only one restaurant option, Moon’s Cafe, where it was basically a cafeteria style restaurant. Moon’s is still there in my town and there are now more restaurants. I also tend to think that my parents never ate out and when we did, it was 7 of us so a place like Moon’s where there was hardly ever anyone there, made it easy. My town also always had a Dairy Queen, so that sort of counts too, but for whatever reason we never ate there.

Saturday Morning Links

1. Ever heard of Na Pali? Me neither. It’s part of the coast of Kauai in Hawaii. According to the state park website, the “pali” are cliffs that run along the coastline. Breathtaking to say the least.

2. This Twitter thread about Bulgarian soccer is a terrific look at what soccer means to communities. And you get to look at Bulgaria, a place that you probably hardly ever think about.

3. I can’t say that I was a huge Charles Grodin fan, but knew that he was really talented and funny. I had no idea that he wrote this first person account of his one-night affair with Miss Piggy. The writing is terrific.

4. From Outside Online’s Brendan Leonard, a pictorial on the type of people that run laps in parking lots in order to have a round number of miles is: a) “That’s the dumbest fucking thing ever”; b) “oh, I do that too”; c) (both of the above). I do this all of the time and relate to Leonard on a handful of levels.

5. This is one of my favorite websites, Cool Tools, and the owner of the site oftentimes gives unsolicited advice and here are 99 bits of unsolicited advice:

• Assume anyone asking for your account information for any reason is guilty of scamming you, unless proven innocent. The way to prove innocence is to call them back, or login to your account using numbers or a website that you provide, not them. Don’t release any identifying information while they are contacting you via phone, message or email. You must control the channel.

• Sustained outrage makes you stupid.

• Be strict with yourself and forgiving of others. The reverse is hell for everyone.

• Your best response to an insult is “You’re probably right.” Often they are.

• The worst evils in history have always been committed by those who truly believed they were combating evil. Beware of combating evil.

• If you can avoid seeking approval of others, your power is limitless.

• When a child asks an endless string of “why?” questions, the smartest reply is, “I don’t know, what do you think?”

• To be wealthy, accumulate all those things that money can’t buy.

• Be the change you wish to see.

• When brainstorming, improvising, jamming with others, you’ll go much further and deeper if you build upon each contribution with a playful “yes — and” example instead of a deflating “no — but” reply.

• Work to become, not to acquire.

• Don’t loan money to a friend unless you are ready to make it a gift.

• On the way to a grand goal, celebrate the smallest victories as if each one were the final goal. No matter where it ends you are victorious.

• Calm is contagious.

• Even a foolish person can still be right about most things. Most conventional wisdom is true.

• Always cut away from yourself.

• Show me your calendar and I will tell you your priorities. Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you where you’re going.

• When hitchhiking, look like the person you want to pick you up.

• Contemplating the weaknesses of others is easy; contemplating the weaknesses in yourself is hard, but it pays a much higher reward.

• Worth repeating: measure twice, cut once.

• Your passion in life should fit you exactly; but your purpose in life should exceed you. Work for something much larger than yourself.

• If you can’t tell what you desperately need, it’s probably sleep.

• When playing Monopoly, spend all you have to buy, barter, or trade for the Orange properties. Don’t bother with Utilities.

• If you borrow something, try to return it in better shape than you received it. Clean it, sharpen it, fill it up.

• Even in the tropics it gets colder at night than you think. Pack warmly.

• To quiet a crowd or a drunk, just whisper.

• Writing down one thing you are grateful for each day is the cheapest possible therapy ever.

• When someone tells you something is wrong, they’re usually right. When someone tells you how to fix it, they’re usually wrong.

• If you think you saw a mouse, you did. And, if there is one, there are more.

• Money is overrated. Truly new things rarely need an abundance of money. If that was so, billionaires would have a monopoly on inventing new things, and they don’t. Instead almost all breakthroughs are made by those who lack money, because they are forced to rely on their passion, persistence and ingenuity to figure out new ways. Being poor is an advantage in innovation.

• Ignore what others may be thinking of you, because they aren’t.

• Avoid hitting the snooze button. That’s just training you to oversleep.

• Always say less than necessary.

• You are given the gift of life in order to discover what your gift *in* life is. You will complete your mission when you figure out what your mission is. This is not a paradox. This is the way.

• Don’t treat people as bad as they are. Treat them as good as you are.

Saturday morning Links

1. Ever heard of Maroon Bells? Me neither. Well, maybe you have. The Maroon Bells are near Aspen, both fourteeners, and this shot, the one in the header, is one of the more photographed shots of the Maroon Bells peaks. It’s so popular, that I think that you have to make reservations if you intend on visiting by vehicle, but I’m not sure. Seems like a good hike would be the way to go.

Photo by Joshua Woroniecki on Unsplash

2. Ever heard of Zoroastrianism? Me neither, but it is one of the world’s oldest continually practiced religions, known for the prophet Zoraster, who is both good and evil, predicted ultimately that good would win over evil, and essentially dates back to the 5th century, BCE, which is insane that there’s a religion out there that I’ve never heard of that’s so old. There’s only around 110,000 Zoroastrians who are still living and I think you have to be born into it. The text of the religion is found in the Avesta. The religion is still mainly practiced in Indiana, Iran, and a small number in North America.

The core teachings?

1. Follow the threefold Path of Asha: Good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. –> I can do these things.
2. Charity is a way to maintain one’s soul being aligned to Asha and to spread happiness. –> Yes, charity is good.
3. The spiritual equality and duty of men and women. –> Yes, equality, totally into that.
4. Being good for the sake of goodness without the hope of reward. –> Yes, I can dig it.

3. This was a fun read. Nautilus’ Jesse Singal wrote about what “grit” isn’t. You know how people talk about “grit” as the undefinable thing where we attack problems, but the problem with “grit” is that it’s really not a way to measure success:

As it turns out, there was never much in the literature to support either of the two ideas that launched grit on its way: that it was more useful than conscientiousness and that it seriously outperformed “traditional” measures of cognitive or, in the context of military training, physical performance. It is difficult to justify Duckworth’s statement that grit “beats the pants” off older, more established measures. Many of the examples she gives consisted of studies in which the predictive usefulness of grit wasn’t compared with its most obvious competitor, conscientiousness, in which grit simply didn’t perform as well as traditional measures, or both.

Which leaves the concept where, exactly? The most comprehensive answer came in the form of a 2017 meta-analysis published by Marcus Crede and his colleagues titled “Much Ado About Grit.”5 Crede is a reform-minded psychologist who has a keen sense of how statistics can be misused to prop up half-baked ideas. He’s made it his mission to critique what he views as questionable findings in his field and has a particularly keen interest in education and workplace performance.

Both grit and conscientiousness seem to be measuring the same underlying concept, argue Crede and his coauthors. Therefore, they suggest, grit’s popularity might be the result of the jangle fallacy in which people believe that two things that are actually the same are different simply because they have different names. That is, if Duckworth had published research showing that conscientiousness can, to a certain extent, predict academic success, other researchers would have rolled their eyes and said, “Of course, we already knew that.” But by presenting a seemingly new concept with a catchy name, Duckworth might have gotten a great deal of mileage out of an idea that had been part of the literature all along (which is not to suggest that this was some sort of intentional obfuscation on her part). NPR reported in 2016 that Duckworth, responding to this critique, said “she would prefer to think of grit as ‘a member of the conscientiousness family,’ but one with independent predictive powers.

4. Eater’s Farley Elliott on the resorts in the middle of Death Valley where summer temperatures reach 130 degrees. I don’t even know how/why this was made hospitable.

5. Me and the lads when we go back into the pubs.

Saturday morning Links

1. Ever heard of Aitutaki? Me neither. It is one of the islands in the Cook Islands chain and is the second most populous of the Cook Islands with about 2,000 people. It’s a bit weird in that the island has an atoll that basically goes around the island like a triangle, and although I’m not a sailor it would seem difficult to get to the populous portion of the island.

Photo by Christoph Burgdorfer on Unsplash

2. The reference to the Cook Islands make me think about the Mutiny on the Bounty and generally speaking, it sounds like it was an absolute shit-show in every possible way, even from the idea for the sailing of the Bounty in the first place. The Bounty was set to sail to to Tahiti to acquire breadfruit, which was to be utilized for the slaves in the Caribbean. In case you are curious, breadfruit is the same thing as jackfruit, which people make vegetarian barbeque.

3. I ran across this quote recently and thought it was terrific.

“Most people don’t grow up. It’s too damn difficult. What happens is most people get older. That’s the truth of it. They honor their credit cards, they find parking spaces, they marry, they have the nerve to have children, but they don’t grow up. Not really. They get older. But to grow up costs the earth, the earth. It means you take responsibility for the time you take up, for the space you occupy. It’s serious business. And you find out what it costs us to love and to lose, to dare and to fail. And maybe even more, to succeed.”

— Maya Angelou

Despite the fact that I’m nearly 50, there are time where I feel as if I haven’t completely grown up, but I feel like I have for the most part. I have invested and realized my cost to the earth, the earth. It is serious business. I know lots of people who just got older, there’s no investment. I do feel like I’ve made that investment and I’ve taken responsibility for the space I occupy.

4. From GQ’s Adam Leith Gollner, the story of Redoine Faid, complete with escapes from prison with a helicopter and so much more.

5. Things I did not think I would ever write, the illegitimate son of Christopher Columbus, Hernando Colon’s lost index of books. This index essentially summarizes books, some of which have been lost over time.