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Odds & Ends: January 20, 2023

The Struggle to Be Interesting is Real. A cultural anthropologist explores how “expressive individualism” has only intensified in the past few decades. We’re all just trying to be interesting and that often takes a lot of time and money. “And so, being interesting is all about being able to narrate some aspect of our existence as distinctive, elevated, and more thoughtful than (almost) everyone else in our weak social network (office, extended family on Thanksgiving, casual friends).” 

Vintage Blast Pre-Workout. This has been my and Kate’s go-to pre-workout for years now. Offers a solid, sustained, non-jittery energy boost. Sugar-free and all natural, it doesn’t have the cloying, artificial taste of most pre-workout supplements. I think Blueberry Lemonade is the best flavor. A little of my allegiance may also be due to the fact that I kind of look like the guy on the package.

Issawi’s Laws of Social Motion. I don’t remember how I came into possession of this obscure book from the 1970s written by a historian and economist specializing in the Middle East. It’s full of pithy insights about life, money, and geopolitics, like:

“One is tempted to say ‘We don’t know’ when one really should be saying ‘I don’t know.'”

“When we call others dogmatic, what we really object to is their holding dogmas that are different from our own.”

“Problems increase in geometric ratio, solutions in arithmetic ratio.”

It’s a good, high-brow toilet book. Copies are hard to find on Amazon. Maybe I’ll put together a post of my favorites so more people can see them.

Imploding the Mirage. The Killers are my favorite band and 2020’s Imploding the Mirage is my favorite album. I still haven’t gotten tired of it. Great for working out or for long road trips through the desert. All the songs are great, but here are my absolute favorites: “Lightning Fields,” “Dying Breed,” “Fire in Bone.”

Quote of the Week:

Every man is a divinity in disguise, a god playing the fool. It seems as if heaven had sent its insane angels into our world as to an asylum. And here they will break out into their native music, and utter at intervals the words they have heard in heaven; then the mad fit returns, and they mope and wallow like dogs!

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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