Whole Foods didn’t have the mezcal I like


You can call that the ultimate #firstworldproblem.  But I bet not being able to find your favorite alcohol is a relatable problem in every nation on Earth, among every race* and at every level of wealth and poverty.

* how many races are there?  is this a useful way to categorize people?  was it ever?  (was thinking the other day about “Asian/Pacific Islander.”  Are a Tongan and a Han Chinese in Beijing any more related than a white guy from Dublin and a black man from Senegal? )


Saigon Central

Nick’s photo of Saigon Central Post Office

My high school bud Nick has a blog, similar minimalist layout style to this one and the OG master Bookbinderlocal455.

A lot of posts are his photos from Asia.

But there are also several posts about investing that I found so interesting I read them several times and sent them to others.  Here’s a few samples.

From this post, “The Brooklyn Investor: The Greatest Investment Book Ever Written“:

“Any time you extend your bankroll so far that if you lost, it would really distress you, you probably will lose.  It’s tough to play your best under that much pressure.”

This is exactly what Joel Greenblatt said in an essay soon after the financial crisis.  He was talking about how many people thought the error in their investment was that they didn’t foresee the crisis and so didn’t sell stocks before the collapse.  Greenblatt insisted that this couldn’t be done anyway and that the real error was that these people simply owned too much stocks.  If you own so much stock that a 50% decline is going to scare you and make you sell out at precisely the wrong moment (and as Greenblatt says, and Brunson says in this book, you are almost guaranteed to sell out at the bottom), then you owned too much stock to begin with.  Greenblatt said the mistake wasn’t that they didn’t sell before the crisis, but that they sold in panic at the bottom.  This was the error. So the key defense against inevitable (and unpredictable) bear markets is to not extend yourself so much that it will distress you when the markets do fall (and they will).  Buffett says that if it would upset you if a stock you bought declined by 50%, then you simply shouldn’t be investing in stocks.  As I like to say all the time, more money is probably lost every year in trying to avoid losing money in the stock market than actual losses in the stock market! via The Brooklyn Investor: The Greatest Investment Book Ever Written.

Profoundly interesting quote.  Sub out the word “your bankroll” for, say, “yourself” and does it apply to other situations, like championship tennis?

Thought “What are questions?” was also a great post, on the great Clay Christensen

So was “Everybody Gets What They Want,” a cold-eyed suggestion about whether people are subconsciously manifesting / The Secret-ing themselves:

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Check it out.  Nick also found some good old photos of Boston:

Kid Lost and then found

Kid lost, and then found from Crime/Police: Miscellaneous

Also, you can enjoy this:

The Tain


Had a couple spare minutes last night while I was waiting for some wood glue to set so I took down my copy of the Tain.

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That’s pretty cool.  How about this?

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Things go south for her:

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There’s definitely some cuts I might suggest.  Do we need this?:

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But there’s also some great detail:

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“Two thirds more.”  That precision and detail!  Can’t help but think the Tain guys are having a little fun with us.

Live Great Debates Tonight

UCB Guys!  Really excited about tonight’s Great Debates Live at the UCB on Sunset.  If you’re in LA hope you’re considering coming, last I checked there were 14 tickets left.  The UCB’s doing us a huge solid by letting us perform there, would be great to sell it out. We’ve got some great fun planned, special guests.  Little Esther is gonna warm up the crowd: Little Esther

You can buy a ticket for five bucks right here:


But before we can all have fun together, I do have to just dispense with an unpleasant sort of cloud that’s hanging over this event. The rumor that so-called “Debater X” is planning some kind of mischief for tonight’s live Great Debates event is just that — a rumor.  This is a guy who won’t even reveal his face, let alone his name, so how he acquired any credibility at all is beyond me.  The best theory I heard — by best I mean most amusing in its ridiculous — is that Debater X is a famous athlete.  HIGHLY doubt it.  Just doesn’t fit the psychology here.

Debater X

Please. The lamest thing about Anonymous is that they saw this and were like “COOL LOOK!”

What “Debater X” is is something much simpler.  He’s a troll.  Trolls are all too common in the anonymous world of the Internet, where you can hide behind your avatar and fire darts from the safety of a desk covered in crinkled Chipotle wrappers. So, do not worry about Debater X, just grab a ticket, come on out, show’s at 8:30pm, enjoy yourself!

There are no coincidences.

Lifting this wholesale from Tyler Cowen:

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E. L. Doctorow


You once told me that the most difficult thing for a writer to write was a simple household note to someone coming to collect the laundry, or instructions to a cook.


What I was thinking of was a note I had to write to the teacher when one of my children missed a day of school. It was my daughter, Caroline, who was then in the second or third grade. I was having my breakfast one morning when she appeared with her lunch box, her rain slicker, and everything, and she said, “I need an absence note for the teacher and the bus is coming in a few minutes.” She gave me a pad and a pencil; even as a child she was very thoughtful. So I wrote down the date and I started, Dear Mrs. So-and-so, my daughter Caroline . . . and then I thought, No, that’s not right, obviously it’s my daughter Caroline. I tore that sheet off, and started again. Yesterday, my child . . . No, that wasn’t right either. Too much like a deposition. This went on until I heard a horn blowing outside. The child was in a state of panic. There was a pile of crumpled pages on the floor, and my wife was saying, “I can’t believe this. I can’t believe this.” She took the pad and pencil and dashed something off. I had been trying to write the perfect absence note. It was a very illuminating experience. Writing is immensely difficult. The short forms especially.

from here of course.

The only Doctorow I read is this one, which is great:

Billy Bathgate

I also read the beginning of this one:


Billy Bathgate has a lot of sexy stuff in it that I really appreciated at the time (16?).  Both books start with one guy violently taking the woman of another guy as the other guy is more or less forced to watch.  It’s pretty primal and intense shit.  Welcome To Hard Times was even a little too much for me.


Well, it can be anything. It can be a voice, an image; it can be a deep moment of personal desperation. For instance, with Ragtime I was so desperate to write something, I was facing the wall of my study in my house in New Rochelle and so I started to write about the wall. That’s the kind of day we sometimes have, as writers. Then I wrote about the house that was attached to the wall. It was built in 1906, you see, so I thought about the era and what Broadview Avenue looked like then: trolley cars ran along the avenue down at the bottom of the hill; people wore white clothes in the summer to stay cool. Teddy Roosevelt was President. One thing led to another and that’s the way that book began: through desperation to those few images. With Loon Lake, in contrast, it was just a very strong sense of place, a heightened emotion when I found myself in the Adirondacks after many, many years of being away . . . and all this came to a point when I saw a sign, a road sign: Loon Lake. So it can be anything.

How about:


For describing J. P. Morgan, for an example, did you spend a great deal of time in libraries?


The main research for Morgan was looking at the great photograph of him by Edward Steichen.

Google Image Search “Morgan by Edward Steichen”:

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Good one from cuz

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