Well, that’s one of the best ledes I’ve ever read
"The way it worked was that they joined the Army because they were starry-eyed or heartbroken or maybe just out of work, and then they were assigned to be in the infantry rather than to something with better odds, like finance or public affairs, and then by chance they were assigned to an infantry division that was about to rotate into the war, and then they were randomly assigned to a combat brigade that included two infantry battalions, one of which was going to a bad place and the other of which was going to a worse place, and then they were assigned to the battalion going to the worse place, and then they were assigned to the company in that battalion which went to the worst place of all."
From David Finkel’s great piece on the traumatized vets of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dear sweet merciful lord, deliver me from these deliriously happy parents, frolicking in paradise, publishing books, competing in triathlons, crafting jewellery, speaking to at-risk youth, painting bird houses, and raving about the new cardio ballet place that gives you an ass like a basketball. Keep me safe from these serene, positive-thinking hipster moms, with their fucking handmade recycled crafts and their mid-century modern furniture and their glowing skin and their optimism and their happy-go-lucky posts about their family’s next trip to a delightful boutique hotel in Bali.
Complexity, as it turns out, is not particularly viral.
The idea of the Creative Person dropping his wisdom down like manna upon the heads of a grateful public is, I venture to say, really dumb.
Maria Bustillos, on point, as usual.
Running may kill you; it may hurt you; it may bore you; it may make you boring. But it can help you from feeling older.
But Mason fails to see why the market behaves the way it does. It is callous, to be sure, but it isn’t stupid. The Street is not unaware of the fact that it has a regimented system that does not reward eccentric behavior. Mason’s lack of prior experience and personality quirks were at odds with Wall Street’s platonic ideal of a public company CEO: a numbers-driven operator who is experienced, polished, reliably predictable and predictably reliable. In other words, not the kind of guy who makes jokey yoga videos in his underwear or who nearly presents he mayor of New York with a pony (a GrouPony, to be exact) as a party favor for an office visit. Certainly not the kind of guy who creates an entire room in his corporate headquarters for an imaginary tenant named Michael whose belongings include an exercise bike that plays Sade when pedaled, Cheerio boxes as décor, and a toilet full of Almond Joy bars. All of which Mason had done.
The presentations that public company CEOs have to make to institutional investors are called “dog and pony shows” for a reason. Wall Street knows some of it is superficial and irrelevant. It recognizes that it’s inconvenient and annoying for the CEO have to trot the company out, brush its hair, decorate it with pretty ribbons and walk it around the stage. The CEO has better things to do, after all. Isn’t the CEO supposed to be building the company?
There’s a freedom in being ignored. Away from the spotlight, Brooklyn developed something that people want, and now they’re coming to take it away. Fortunately, Brooklyn is a large place, larger than “Brooklyn.” As long as there are still Trinidadian doubles shacks in Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights, outside the pickle belt, and Bensonhurst is still Sicilian enough to support Villabate, the greatest pasticceria outside of Sicily itself, I’ll keep hope alive that city life doesn’t have to be a theme park or a plastic desert.
Much is made of genius and talent, but the foundation of any life where you get to realize your ambitions is simply being able to out-last everyone through the tough, crappy times — whether through sheer determination, a strong support network, or simply a lack of options.
Michael Chabon treats dreams like a Hollywood exec treats scripts
"Dreams are effluvia, bodily information, to be shared only with intimates and doctors. At the breakfast table, in my house, an inflexible law compels all recountings of dreams to be compressed into a sentence or, better still, half a sentence, like the paraphrasings of epic films listed in TV Guide: ‘Rogue Samurai saves peasant village.’”
He’s going to pass on anything involving dwarfs, just so you know.