- The 4-Hour Body I’m re-reading Timothy Ferriss’ seminal book now — “an uncommon guide to rapid fat loss, incredible sex, and becoming superhuman.” The gist of the book revolves around an extremely low-carb diet and a general sense of observation. Watch — watch closely — your own interactions with the world, and you will become healthier. What was it that Werner Heisenberg said? “The very act of observing disturbs the system.” Indeed. Ferriss also happens to be an excellent writer, someone who can transform heady biological concepts into bite-sized metaphors and stories. That’s crucial. Eat more almonds.
- Lester Bangs There are a few books on my coffee table at the moment, and one of them is Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, the incredible Lester Bangs compendium. There’s an excerpt from 1980’s “All My Friends are Hermits” that I’ve never been able to shake from my mind. It’s about the primordial yearning of passion and love. It’s fucking wild. I’m also partial to “John Coltrane Lives,” which is a drug-fueled odyssey into the land of the saxophone and pure, hot madness. Bangs remains a horrendously underrated writer. Dude had chops.
- Marijuana Policy Project Let’s all, for crissakes, please rally around this reasonable pitch for medical marijuana in Ohio. The Issue 3 thing from last fall was such a cluster, although — even today — I find myself questioning my vote. I shouldn’t be like that. This measure, aiming for the November ballot, would set up the regulated infrastructure that would get medicine to people who need it most by the new year. (There’s now a competing campaign, called Grassroots Ohio or something, and I’m just becoming increasingly wary of the weak-ass politics that surround so many of the state’s most visible marijuana “activists.” Competition in this arena, now, doesn’t seem like a beneficial framework. MPP has a plan. The state and its voters desperately need a plan.)
- Seagull guitars After months with my (unplugged) Strat — a gift from my dad in January 2000, still plays like a miracle — I’m back with my Seagull. It’s a beautiful cedar-top guitar, with a tone that I couldn’t deny when I first bought it. (The Guitar Center tech was selling a mid-level Taylor pretty hard.) I need to get the action lowered, and I’ve been pointed to Guitar Riot for a general set-up.
- Daily meditation I meditated regularly throughout 2009 and into 2010 a bit. Haven’t done much since — until recently, that is. Within the past few weeks, I’ve returned to at least 10 minutes of daily zazen, with additional practice later in the day if I’ve got time. There’s a hell of a lot going on in my world lately — much of it terrific and good — and so that restlessness is there, and it really starts to gnaw at me even with just a 10-min. cap. An English professor at OU (and probably many others) called it “the monkey brain.” It’s a difficult mood to shake.
- “It’s not funny anymore.” I haven’t felt like writing about Donald Trump at all during this shit race, but I’m seeing this phrase a lot after his Super Tuesday wins. Lots of pundits finally ripping their heads out of their asses and conceding that the Trump ascent is a real phenomenon and shouldn’t be taken as the joke that it’s always seemed. For my money? This is the greatest political theater the country has ever seen. And, outside of a cable connection and a DiGiorno, it doesn’t cost a dime to tune in and enjoy the spectacle! I think it’s funny — it’s always been funny, the whole circling-the-drain schtick. Lifting a USA-sized mirror up against the electorate is a very insightful gag, very eye-opening. “President Donald Trump,” though? Still pretty funny. But at that point, there’s a very real eschatological shadow that’ll fall across this country. (Gallows humor, I guess.)
- “Horrible people are getting away with horrible things now.” Just got off the phone with a friend who said this. He was referring to Donald Trump, mostly, but also to some people in his life who he’s totally hung up on. I’m a listener by trade, and I think it’s important to be there for friends who are feeling down about life. In the past year, I had a very good friend open up a few doors of perception in my own mind, and it’s probably best to pay that philosophical assistance forward. I’m not great at that,hence a lot of “Yeah, I don’t know man…” coming from me, in between bouts of what I think might be a helpful perspective on things. There’s a nebulous goal for the next few weeks/months/etc.: Use my capacity for listening to others and, when it can be done fairly, provide concrete thoughts on their station in life. Often, this is done in the form of a question. Socratic dialogue still helps.
- “Our minds and bodies are Ferraris, but we often treat ourselves like Chevys.” There’s a line from another friend this week. Ties back into The 4-Hour Body.
- Alright. Off to the West End to discuss an impending news distribution revolution.