Here are five places I have always wanted to visit:
Regularly Posting Since 2000
What if Abbey Road had been a book instead of an album?
How about Exile on Main Street?
The Rockpot is selling packs of gorgeous postcards and prints of just such imaginations. I love the ones for Violator and Brothers in Arms. I love all of them, actually.
They also have theoretical iOS app logos for albums, and prints of chemical diagrams of bands.
h/t to my cousin Laura for the link via Facebook
A Farewell to Arms has never been one of my favorite books, but it does contain what is possibly my favorite line ever written: “The war seemed as far away as the football games of some one else’s college.”
I had no idea but am not surprised in the least to learn that Hemingway penned forty or more alternate endings to his wartime masterpiece before deciding to conclude it the way he did.
I particularly like this version, which was suggested to him by his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald:
The world breaks everyone, and those it does not break it kills.
It kills the very good and very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
h/t to Rich for the link
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
She died on Sunday, August 12, 2012.
Not every month is the same length, though, of course. And should I consider “a month” to be “every four Sundays” or simply “the next 12th on the calendar”? It’s the sort of question she would call to ask me, or I would call to ask her. And we’d laugh and we’d both think it was funny that the other person was always bothered by that sort of thing.
I miss the sound of her voice.
No person who ever lives will ever be as happy to receive a phone call from me as my mother was every single time I called her.
I’ve been reading Gregg Easterbrook for more than fifteen years. He writes the Tuesday Morning Quarterback (TMQ) column for ESPN. (He has also written for Slate and The Atlantic Monthly, and many other publications. And he’s a very good author.) Every Tuesday morning during the NFL season, Easterbrook delivers incredibly detailed analysis of (almost) every game, peppered with news and commentary on science, politics, religion, etc.
Each year he ends the season with the same plea. I’ve always admired it, and so am providing it here:
The stadium lights are turned off, the film rooms have gone dark and the cheerleaders have put their miniskirts away in very small drawers. TMQ folds its tent and steals off into the desert till next season, though will resurface briefly around draft time.
As usual, I recommend you employ the offseason to engage in spiritual growth. Take long walks. Perform volunteer work. Exercise more and eat less. Drink less soda, more tea: green tea is soothing, oolong tea may lower blood pressure. Attend worship services of any faith, bearing in mind Pascal’s wager. Study philosophy and secular ethics: We spend too much time on economics and science, not enough on ethics. Read a book a month. Seriously, you can’t get through a book a month? And real books: history, literary novels. Appreciate the grandeur of nature. Mediate, express gratitude, serve others. Tell the people around you that you love them. Who knows if you will get another chance?
Do these things and you will feel justified in racing back to the remote, the swimsuit calendars and the microbrews when the football artificial universe resumes in the autumn.
Gregg Easterbrook Tuesday Morning Quarterback
About two weeks ago, on January 17th, Dr. Sohail Shayfer told me I was suffering from iliotibial band syndrome. He told me to take a break from running so much, to take two Aleve naproxen sodium tablets every twelve hours for four weeks, and to stretch, stretch, stretch.
I’ve never stretched before or after a run or a workout in my life, so it’s been challenging, but I’ve been doing it. I’ve also been religiously taking my Aleve and waited more than two weeks before running again. Early Wednesday evening I did a quick little three-mile jog around my neighborhood and it felt pretty good. I stretched before and after, too.
Last night — after working all day and going bowling with my wife and son — I realized that I (a) was about 1200 Nike Fuel points short of my daily goal of 4000 and (b) only needed about 1500 points to make January my best month ever. So at about ten o’clock I grabbed the Nike Free 4.0 running shoes that my wife gave me for Christmas and went for a run.
I had a great run, and am happy to report that my knee felt fine the whole time. I’m going to slowly work my way back to a decent half-marathon pace and then see if I think I’ll be able to kick it in this year’s Los Angeles Marathon (on March 17th). And a five-mile run is worth about 2500 Nike Fuel points, so I made my daily goal and crushed my previous best month ever.
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It’s been a little less than four years since I had my body fat percentage accurately calculated at a mobile testing station. Last night I had it done again by Linda of bodyfattest.com outside of a health club in Reseda.
Last year was pretty rough on my body; I was under a lot of stress and was depressed about my mom and didn’t do a very good job of keeping myself well. I sort of turned it around in the last quarter, and have done a fair job so far in 2013 of watching what I eat and exercising regularly.
|March 2009||January 2013|
|Weight:||197.0 lbs||194.5 lbs|
|Lean Body mass:||84.70%||84.65%|
|Fat Body mass:||30.1 lbs||29.9 lbs|
|Lean Body mass:||166.9 lbs||164.6 lbs|
In 2009 the little chart I was given pegged my body fat percentage for my age in the “good” range. This year it counts as “healthy”. I’d like to get it down a few more points, but I suppose I can’t complain.
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I’ve been thinking lately that there should be some way to flag others on Facebook to remind yourself to ignore them. Of course you can unfriend people; I’m not talking about that. I’m primarily talking about friends of friends. I kind of like the idea of a scarlet M, for moron.
Frequently I’ll read a comment or link posted by someone I know to be a rational, intelligent person — maybe even someone that was a high school or college classmate and that I know is not a blathering idiot — and there will be a comment by a friend of that friend that causes me to stare at the screen in disbelief. It’s usually about how America is turning into a dictatorship, or how President Obama is a socialist or fascist. (Generally these people do not even remotely understand the definitions of dictatorship, socialism, or fascism.) A scarlet R for racist or X for xenophobe might be better, actually.
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The MacBook Air is the best laptop ever made. There’s really no arguing this point. But when I upgraded from Lion to Mountain Lion, suddenly it started to take for-freaking-ever to wake up when it went to sleep.
Before the upgrade I could reliably open the machine and immediately type my password to start working. Ever since late July, though, I was ripping my hair out waiting fifteen seconds or more — I know, I know: #firstworldproblems — before I could use my computer. The best part of having the SSD was the fact that everything had been instantaneous, and it seemed like a software glitch had ruined my baby.
It was driving me crazy, and nobody else I knew was experiencing the same issue.
And then I stumbled upon “Fixing” Slow Wake for MacBook Pro W/ Retina Display while browsing my stellar.io feed. This guy was having the exact same problem I was! He even described the symptoms the same way I did. And his fix works perfectly. I really can’t tell you how much happier I have been with my laptop since I read that article a few days ago.
One of the (many) cool things Obama has done since he became POTUS is allow anyone to submit a petition to the White House. If you manage to get 25,000 people to sign your petition, you are guaranteed a formal response from the Obama Administration. There are petitions from nutjobs in Texas who want to secede from the United States. There are petitions to deport Piers Morgan back to the United Kingdom. Basically if you can get enough people to sign it, the White House will respond.
So, of course, someone created a petition to try to convince the U.S. government to Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016. And of course the petition managed to garner enough supporters, because there are a lot of Star Wars fans in the United States.
The Official White House Response is amazing. It’s titled “This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For” and includes a note that, “The Administration does not support blowing up planets.”
Paul Shawcross, the Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, goes on to detail some of the incredible things NASA is doing right now, including floating robots (Holy crap!) and the Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office. (C3PO!?!)
I saw a link to this story in my Twitter feed, and then I saw several people linking to it on Facebook, and I chuckled at the title. The Onion has made me smile on such a consistent basis over the years; I seriously hope the people that work there are paid well, because they deserve it. I finally got around to actually reading the article this morning and it made me literally laugh out loud.
As evidence, Simmons pointed to a 2011 University of Maryland study, which found that 98 percent of Americans who own a gorilla have never used them for defense against a home invasion. Simmons also cited widely reported studies confirming that people who keep gorillas in the home are 12 times more likely to have their arms torn off, and children in those households are 19 times more likely to be picked up by the legs and bashed repeatedly into the ground.
I ran another half marathon this morning before work. Add that to the one I ran on New Year’s Day and that gives me a solid 26.2 miles this year. My wife gave me a great pair of Nike running shoes for Christmas. They felt very strange at first — they’re the lightest sneakers I’ve ever owned — but now I love them.
The only bummer is that my right knee seems to only last about six miles before I start experiencing excruciating pain. As my friend is quick to note, I’m no doctor. But to me it feels like my lateral collateral ligament is what’s causing problems. I can’t tell if it’s simply getting inflamed or if I might have damaged it somehow. Aspirin helps, but I think I’m going to have to see a doctor about it.
There’s a guy in my office who surreptitiously records the absurd things we all say, then sends a company-wide email with his collection to ring in the new year.
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We were always an “open your presents Christmas Eve” family. UPS packages from my dad and Nana Rainy and extended family would start arriving weeks before Christmas, and my sister and I would pester my mom incessantly about opening some early. She would always cave and we’d get to open one each night for a few nights until Christmas Eve. Somehow even though we picked the gifts “at random”, the early ones would inevitably be socks or underwear or other incomprehensibly boring things. I have no idea how my mom managed to do that.
Then on Christmas Eve we’d get to open everything in a mad Dionysian fête of cardboard and wrapping paper.
But first there was dinner, of course. We’d have these insane meals that lasted four and five hours. My 100% Italian grandmother would make 100% Italian lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs and sausage and peppers and onions and fried eggplant and zucchini and a half-dozen pies and cannolis and usually rum balls and wine biscuits and coffee and the telling of many jokes and stories and the church pastor would drop by and that old — ancient — couple from “the old country” would bring a fruit cake and then some other friends from bingo would bring pastries and the whole time my sister and I would be going out of our minds thinking of all the toys we’d circled in the 800-page Sears catalog that came in the mail before Halloween and just wanting everyone to hurry up and wash the dishes and get the hell home so we could open the damn presents.
And we would. We’d get home and mom would let us open our presents. One at a time, each of us respectfully watching the other and when we finished opening all the gifts from New England there would be the finding of more presents behind the tree and behind the couch and under the couch and there was no way — no way in hell — that mom could have afforded all these other presents when we were so broke we often (the three of us) would split a box of macaroni and cheese for dinner or share a chicken breast and a single can of string beans (things I remember from when we lived in Holly Hill and my sister probably doesn’t remember at all but God I remember how small that apartment was) and somehow after we finished opening every box and every wrapped item was gone and we sat there playing with new toys until two or three in the morning and mom playing with us and having just as much fun as we did because she loved toys and games and playing with us more than anything else in life and we finally fell asleep and yes I did fall asleep hugging an X-Wing one year and incredibly, inconceivably, impossibly the next morning there were more presents from Santa and it made no sense it never did because Santa wasn’t real but it didn’t matter there were stockings full of candy and practical items and then the “big” presents that we had even forgotten we really wanted the most and I will never, ever, ever understand — or know — how she did it but, fuck, our mom was a Christmas magician.
And now she’s gone.
It was raining when I got home last night so I was worried I’d have another soaking run, but when I hit the road this morning the sun was rising and the clouds had mostly disappeared. It was pretty brisk — low 60s, I’m guessing — but I ran hard to compensate for the pizza and beer at last night’s office Christmas party and was nice and warm after a mile or two.
Usually I shoot for five miles on Thursdays, but I decided to knock out a 10k today instead. A 10k is just a little less than six and a quarter miles, I learned from my Nike Running app. Bad route-estimating on my part led to me hitting a full seven miles before I made it back to the house, though. (I knew I shouldn’t have added the extra loop into Beverly Hills, but I love seeing all the Hannukah lights competing with the Christmas lights over there.)
Each of these holiday-themed images is 640px x 1136px, which is perfect for an iPhone 5 background.
Okay, so there weren’t icicles on the eaves when I left the house this morning. But 49°F is freezing once you’ve lived in Southern California for over a decade. I’ve also never been able to run in anything but shorts, and I have to stick with something incredibly light — a t-shirt — if I’m going more than five miles or else the weight of my sweat becomes an issue. It took me a solid three miles before I was warm enough that I didn’t care about the temperature.
The sky was insanely gorgeous this morning. Venus and the crescent moon in the shocking clear dawn over the city were phenomenal. The Christmas trees and lights all over Century City and Beverly Hills were sparkling. Even the obese homeless guy that lives in front of the Bank of America on Pico seemed cheerful as he was stacking plastic grocery bags of yellow pages in his shopping cart.
— David Vincent Gagne (@davidgagne) December 10, 2012