As children, our parents made up little games to motivate us to complete difficult and mundane tasks.
‘Hop in the car please’ never worked. ‘Race you to the car!’ did. ‘Quiet please’ saw us chatting seconds later. ‘I’ll time you and see if you can stay quiet for 1 hour’ hushed us for half that time.
A few choice words had our 5-year-old selves tackling the simplest of tasks like they were the greatest personal challenges of our lifetime. How so?
If I ran and didn’t Strava, did I even run at all?
‘It pays to be a winner!’
A Navy SEAL officer hurls condescension from the sands of a Southern Californian beach. Across the waves and out to sea, dozens of hopeful young men paddle furiously into the night.
Today’s klass is brought to you by Dead Poets Society via Kendall Jenner.
The other day, thanks to Kendall Jenner’s Instagram feed, I stumbled upon a quote from Dead Poets Society. The quote was a paraphrase of this:
‘So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do.’
In the marketplace of ideas, some goods are Freakshakes™, and others are Coca-Cola Life with a side of ‘The Verdict’. This phenomenon is so in business and in politics. Why? Why do some goods, and some policies, work and others don’t? John Kingdon has a theory.
Yes skiing in Aspen is nice, and July on the Amalfi is lovely darling, but is there anything better than a few weeks spent knocking about by the beach with your family?
Books are like school for adults. And therapy.
Thanks in part to a 6 week trip away, I’ve laughed, sobbed, and aha-momented my way through a good stack of fiction and non-fiction books this year. So I thought I would list my top reads here. So that you can read them too. But also so that future me does not forget about them, as is the raison d’être of this blog.
The best defence against melancholy is curiosity.
That’s a big statement, so I’ll tell you how I got there.
Eat, Pray, Love, Podcast
I’ve been on a bit of a B Grade celebrity novel binge. Now, if that sounds derogatory, it’s not meant to. I like my Australian celebrities B grade. Journalists, authors, media commentators, particularly women, have always enthralled me. Much more so than the A-listers, with their tightly controlled and enigmatic personas. No, I like my celebrities like I like my pantry staples: home brand.
May I ask you a question?
The question is this: Do you think, in general, that people are doing the best they can?
People doing things at Bronte Beach today
Another Saturday night, another essay down the hatch. A politics meets philosophy manifesto that stretched my achingly pragmatic brain far beyond its comfort zone. But philosophical ignorance aside, it’s time to celebrate. Because that submission meant tools down for the year. Schools out. I have my weekends back. And I can confirm that the ‘nothing to do, nowhere to be’ feeling is just as grand as it was in my undergraduate years. (Though I can’t say the same for my manner of celebration.)