Thursday August 16, 2012

what you need to succeed – blog

eurozone recession – 3rd quarter – nyt

Rising from a Sea of Salsa Verde

Making salsa verde is very easy. You don’t need a video to show you how, but this video from Saveur is fun to watch anyway. I enjoyed it and it got me thinking about making salsa verde.

Then I saw this quote from a NYT review of the Toucon and the Lion, a gastro pub in the East Village

Duck-confit mofongo is a revamp of the Puerto Rican staple with a hash of taro root, larded with Chinese sausage. It rises from a sea of salsa verde, topped with a fried egg.

Hmm … a sea of salse verde? now I NEED some salsa verde!

Remembering the Clock that Ran Backwards

Many, many years ago, I was invited for cocktails at the Eccentric Club in London. Sadly, the guests that assembled for a bit of boozing were not very eccentric by my standards. But I was grateful that the evening presented me with one rather fond memory. It was of the clock that was mounted behind the bar. What was the big deal? It ran backwards.

You may have already guessed that I have long nurtured an affinity for eccentrics, and you would be right. But I should qualify that comment. The eccentricities that I value emerge from romance – not disdain. There is a huge difference. Eccentric romance connects people to the good life. As it did, for example, for my old friend Julian who decided to become a professional painter after a successful career selling encyclopedias in South Africa, because he adored looking at naked ladies. Eccentric disdain is the polar opposite. It is the rejection of things in order to pump up one’s ego. Like Eliott Templeton from Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge. One must learn to tolerate the ensuing snobbery.

You get a feel for the life style of a romantic eccentric from this story about John Archer and his house.


BTW, if you want to know more about the eccentric clock, here is a link to the story.

The Population of Syria

As I rode home from Tallinn yesterday with some friends, the conversation drifted to what is going on in Syria. We all knew what the media has reported and based on that we speculated about what might happen next. But suddenly we discovered that there was an odd gap in our knowledge. None of us (me included) had any idea of how many people actually live in Syria. What is its population? One guess was 50 million. Another was 5 million. That is a pretty big spread. I guessed that the population is no more than 20 million. And this morning I find out that it is actually 22 million.

It is not a big deal. Or is it? We all felt that we were pretty well informed about Syria before we noticed that we are not well informed at all. We actually only know what we had read. What others have chosen to tell us. We know very little about Syria as a place, its history and its people. This got me wondering how many other big gaps are there in my knowledge of stuff that is important. It also got me wondering how much I rely on others to define for me what is important to know. Hmmm ….

Being a Go to Kind of Guy

We all worry to one extent or another about our futures. Are we getting closer to, or farther away from what we need to have a great life? Sometimes it is hard to tell. And it is especially hard when things suddenly change. That has happened to me more than once. For example, when I left law practice in Philadelphia to come to Estonia for a year (that was back in 1994 and apparently the year isn’t over yet). And when I walked away from the professional legal training center that I had helped create.

Those situations can be rather disorienting. It is less so if you have a core skill that you know you can use no matter what.  That might be anything — but it has to be something that you do really well and that others need. This is really important and because it is so important, I find it a bit odd that among all of the self-help and productivity enhancement writing on the web, I don’t find much chit chat about it.

What do I mean? Well, I bumped into an interesting article yesterday about Amare Stoudemire.  Amare plays for the New York Knicks and is a star. But the Knicks traded for another star – Carmelo Anthony, and the trade forced Stoudemire out of his game. He could no longer thrive on pick and rolls. And his play last year suffered. He no longer had a core skill set to offer his team. So this summer Stoudemire is learning a new core skill – scoring from the low post. Great idea.

But actually, the story is less about Stoudemire than his teacher – one of the great centers of all time, Hakeem Olajuwon. Hakeem knows low post moves like the back of his hand. It is his core skill and he teaches it to a select few great players.

Since retiring in 2002, Olajuwon has become the N.B.A.’s go-to source for players hoping to develop their post skills. LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant have visited the Olajuwon ranch. So have Marcin Gortat and the Lopez twins, Brook and Robin. This month, it’s Stoudemire and Denver’s Javale McGee.

Very cool. Olajuwon may be retired but he still a “go to” kind of guy. So what is your core skill?


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