In love with the process of writing


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A needull original.

It is one of those days when you are in a strangely good mood in the morning. And you feel the itch to write.

I have recently started listening to “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles on Audible during my office commutes. Amor worked in the investment profession for 20 years before taking to full time writing. This is his second novel. As you keep getting older, you start re-calibrating your dreams. You try to find examples of people who have done it who were in a similar or worse situation than you. It gives you hope. And Amor gives me hope that someday I will be able to write.

I love the entire experience of writing. I like everything about it. The solitude, the rigid chair and desk, the smell of fresh ink on paper and the ink flowing from your fountain pen.

It is pure magic. You are able to communicate your most abstruse thoughts to others by etching out symbols on paper. And your thoughts might survive and be read and understood by someone thousands of years later.

Such a feeling of wonder!

The Ugly Efficiency of Modern Sports


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Somehow the fun in watching sports has waned down for me.

As the sports world continues to float inexorably toward a hedge fund manager’s idea of nirvana, it is becoming increasingly clear that what works in a streamlined utopia of linear efficiency is manifesting itself in aesthetically grotesque displays of actual, you know, sports. The smartest team in the NBA has its players leap into defenders so they can stand and shoot free throws, the chaos and beauty of basketball frozen for a guy to stand by himself in silence. Baseball has lost the action and speed that comes with singles and balls in play in relentless pursuit of home runs and strikeouts. For the second consecutive year, there were more strikeouts than base hits in 2019, and 31.4 percent of all at-bats ended with a strikeout or walk, which means 31.4 percent of all at-bats ended with five-to-ten minutes of buildup for absolutely nothing happening at all. And that is the goal. Even golf has lost most of its romance as players bulk up to bash the ball as far as possible, which every analytical tool at golfers’ disposal tells them is more important than any subtlety on the greens.

The complete article

Will Leitch — Intelligencer

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Baghdadi’s Death Will Make Global Affiliates More Independent


Baghdadi’s death could also lead to an uptick in Islamic State-inspired attacks in the near term, primarily as a reaction to the news that he was killed by U.S. special operations forces. But over the longer term, the death of Baghdadi could have an attenuating effect on the group’s inspirational pull, given the way that Baghdadi specifically resonated with legions of supporters throughout the West and the broader Islamic world. Previous announcements of his death never had this effect, but mostly because these rumors were squashed relatively soon after they spread.

The complete article

Colin P. Clarke — RAND

Is trauma handed down through generations?


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The results are not entirely clear. There are studies which do find negative impacts – that the children of holocaust survivors, for example, can experience emotional problems of their own, difficulties in relationships, in the way they function. Researchers in Northern Ireland concluded that the transmission of trauma to children of victims of the Troubles made them more prone to developing toxic stress in childhood. But some research has ended up in an entirely different place, finding that trauma in a parents’ life can lead to higher resilience in children. And yet more studies have concluded that there is no clear effect whatsoever.

The complete article

Bibi van der Zee — The Guardian

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The Swimming Pool Library


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Interesting and absurd,

“The Swimmer”: a jovial middle-aged Westchester resident named Ned “Neddy” Merrill, gin-drunk in his friend’s backyard, announces his intention to swim home by way of the fifteen private (and one public) pools that punctuate the properties between himself and his Bullet Park mansion. This setting is powerfully Cheeveresque, to the extent that Mad Men—which shook down many of Cheever’s stories for tone and content—located the Drapers’ Ossining residence on Bullet Park Road, a fictional street named for Cheever’s 1969 novel, Bullet Park. In “The Swimmer,” Ned’s impetus seems mostly romantic; a way of leaving the party in style, reassembling the built waterscape into something natural. “He seemed to see, with a cartographer’s eye, that string of swimming pools, that quasi-subterranean stream that curved across the county.” There’s no good reason for Ned to do this, other than the fact that he wants to, and believes he can.

The complete article

Naomi Skwarna — Hazlitt

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Can You Be Happy Without Money?


American Psycho successfully creates our materialist society by using brand names and personal fitness and beauty regimens as brick and mortar to build the plot. Sample this description of Bateman’s morning routine: ‘After I change into Ralph Lauren monogrammed boxer shorts and a Fair Isle sweater and slide into silk polka-dot Enrico Hidolin slippers, I tie a plastic ice pack around my face and commence with the morning’s stretching exercises…Then I squeeze Rembrandt onto a faux-tortoiseshell toothbrush…The shower has a universal all-directional shower head that adjusts within a thirty-inch vertical range. It’s made from Australian gold-black brass and covered with a white enamel finish.’

The complete article

Nandini Nair — OPEN

Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo: The Nobel couple fighting poverty


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Nutrition is a conundrum in developing countries. The couple argue that things that make life less boring are a priority for the poor – a TV set, something special to eat, for example. In one location in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan, where almost no one had a TV, they found the extremely poor spent 14% of their budget on festivals. By contrast, in Nicaragua, where 56% of the poor households in villages had a radio and 21% owned a TV, very few households reported spending anything on festivals.

Their work also suggested governments and international institutions need to completely rethink food policy. Providing more food grains- which most food security programmes do – would often not work and help little for the poor to eat better because the main problem was not calories, but other nutrients.

The complete article

Soutik Biswas — BBC

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