Friday Findings 10/27/17

Happy Friday everyone!

What’s on my mind?

Catalonia Declares Independence! Shortly after Catalonia formally declared independence, Madrid fired the government, dissolved the regional parliament and ordered new elections, escalating the biggest political crisis for Spain in decades.

As an outside observer, I sympathize with the people of Catalonia who feel that the Madrid-centric government takes more than it provides to the region and views them as second class citizens. I also think that people are taking the Barcelona/Real Madrid rivalry too far…

Anyway now, how will the EU deal with Catalonia? What happens to visas and passports for EU citizens working in Catalonia? Who now represents the voices of those who don’t want to “leave” Spain? I have a feeling that things are about to get a lot worse before they get better.


What I’m listening to/watching/reading

“Mindset” by Carol Dweck. I’m 64 pages in – this book is topically fascinating and reads like a page turner, not a graduate level dissertation.


From Amazon: 

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.
In this edition, Dweck offers new insights into her now famous and broadly embraced concept. She introduces a phenomenon she calls false growth mindset and guides people toward adopting a deeper, truer growth mindset. She also expands the mindset concept beyond the individual, applying it to the cultures of groups and organizations. With the right mindset, you can motivate those you lead, teach, and love—to transform their lives and your own.


My Photo of the Week

Special of the day: Tuna Collar @ Au Pied De Cochon Montreal.

This tantalizing plate features the tuna collar of a 465lb Bluefin Tuna and a ponzu sauce made with bone broth from the spine of the fish. More importantly, there is akami and chutoro nigiri, foie gras & peanut butter nigiri w/ bonito flakes, eel nigiri, and tuna tartare with creme fraiche and sturgeon caviar. Also, the “foil” is edible silver. Life is grand!



Great Recent Purchase


Bogle Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon ($11). I appreciate wine at all price points, and I’ve been buying multiple bottles of this one lately. It’s a great value, has a bold mouthy flavor profile and finishes quite smoothly.


What’s Biggie Smalls up to?


His first play date and sleepover party with Carol! Thanks to Carlos and Ellyn for taking care of these two souls while Drea and I were out of town =)

Friday Findings 10/20/17

Happy Friday my dear readers,

The Yankees are ONE victory away from the World Series- LET’S GO YANKEES!

What’s On My Mind: I’ve been a long time fan of the Total War Series for PC, and the latest game, Warhammer 2 is no exception. Post launch, a new campaign has been added free of charge for owners of Warhammer 1+2 called the “Mortal Empires” campaign. I’m excited to play this mega-campaign featuring all the legendary lords from both games, which will offer increased racial and play-style diversity. Here is the campaign map!


What I’m reading/watching/listening to: Jocko Willink‘s new book: “Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual” We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, and I’m working hard to improve myself physically and mentally with guidance and inspiration from Jocko Willink. His life’s work and living principles are a north star for me, and I hope you guys can take in even just an ounce of his wisdom. I’m certain that listening to his podcast and reading this book will improve your ability to negotiate business, relationships and life.


My Photo of the Week:


Drea crushes some delicious BBQ Chicken Feet at Jing Fong Restaurant during Saturday Dim Sum in Chinatown, NYC ❤

Great Recent Purchase: Nespresso Essenza Mini (Ruby Red) I picked up this wonderful compact little espresso maker in the Nespresso Soho NYC store over the past weekend for only $105 (30% off $149.99 price). I think it’s listed for higher online but the $150 price should be obtainable if you guys look online. It makes amazing espressos (1.35oz), americanos and lungos (double sized espressos) for less than $1/capsule, and it’s a great bit of affordable luxury to kick off your day. It takes less than 10 seconds to heat up and start serving, so I’ve saved quite a bit of time as well.

nespresso essenza mini red

What’s Biggie Smalls Up To? Happy Howl-o-ween!


Jordan Peterson – On Social Justice And Truth

Good afternoon my dear readers,

I want to share with you all an amazing podcast interview between Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson, a Canadian clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. Jordan Peterson made the news this year for his “controversial” critiques against political correctness, postmodernism feminism, category bashing (e.g. white privilege) and outrage over cultural appropriation.

First, this is his message to millennials who are looking to change the world: “Change yourself first”

This 3 hour discussion was one of the most elucidating talks I’ve heard in my short life across a span of topics ranging from post-modernism, classic male dominance hierarchies, political correctness, good & evil, the authoritarian left and social justice warriors, kekistan, operating in a world of chaos, finding the meaning in life for men/women, universal basic income, Donald Trump’s lies vs. Hillary Clinton’s lies, PTSD, Freud and Jung and realizing our capacity for evil. 

The following passage(s) resonated most strongly with me, and I’m paraphrasing the conversation in the most coherent way possible. Before I start, I note that I am a cis-gender male who embraces climbing the dominance hierarchy, and all the shit that comes with it. I reject political and social orthodoxy and absolutism from both the left and right when it conflicts with science, intellectualism, and the hard-fought principles of humanism, individualism, and the enlightenment.

Unlike chimps, human females are choosy about their mating partners. Alpha chimps pass on their genes because they dominate and push off lesser chimps. In the 6 million years since humans split from chimps genetically, we have created our own male dominance hierarchy (DH) mediated by FEMALES but chosen by males who push those with power, influence or leadership to the top, who then pass on their genes with the females who select them.

As humans, we are optimized to live in tribes of up to 100 to 250 people (Dunbar’s number). That number is big enough where climbing to the top of the hierarchy feels important, but small enough where it is achievable, compared to the entire world/civilization.

On average, we have twice as many female ancestors than we do males ones because females on average reproduce once, and males on average reproduce twice or not at all. Men are well adapted to both accepting the presence of the hierarchy and learning how to climb it so that he can leave a genetic contribution. Over time, our observation of the evolution of the DH spawns hero mythologies- the hero is the man who kills the snake, who slays the dragon and gets the gold to bring back to the village. He is also mostly likely to find and claim the virgin in this mythology.  The classic male dominance hierarchy is a mechanism that selects heroes and breeds them, and since we tell stories about heroes, the classic dominance hierarchy is as much as cultural and societal narrative as it is a form of genetic and sexual selection. The societal narrative for the description of people as admirable or not admirable evolves into categories from which we derive good and evil – we can then imagine the perfect person. The meta-admirable is a hero, a religious figure, a messiah.

Men compete because women like winners, and hetero males are shamed for that in a post modern society. Post modernists reject the classic male structures because they realize that they can’t compete in this hierarchy. They compete as allies, which is why “male feminists” (a crude catch-all that doesn’t encompass the complexity of modern male/female relationship dynamics) are still seen as “creepy/sneaky”, particularly when they are discriminatory towards classic male behavior.

0:00 – Jordan has been denied a grant for the first time in his academic career
2:15 – When Jordan did a speech at McMaster University
13:00 – The Gender Unicorn
23:50 – Joe asks Jordan if he has any issues with a person who is Transgender
31:15 – Jordan references Jacques Derrida
38:19 – Jordan depicts the ‘power-game’ mentality adopted by post-modernists. Context from 36:40
41:00 – Jordan depicts post-modernists using the principle of the meme as an analogy 46:00 – The capacity for malevolence in people and post-traumatic stress
49:39 – Phallogocentrism and ‘mansplaining’
56:00 – One of the precursors of a genocidal state
1:00:00 – ‘Plos 1’. Context from 57:00
1:14:00 – Special Ops soldiers (Rangers / Seals) who are less likely to experience PTSD due to being pro-active. Context from 1:12:54
1:20:50 – Jordan references psychedelics. Partially contextualizes => 1:23:30 – The male dominance hierarchy
1:27:25 – Societal heroes spawning out of the dominance hierarchy
1:28:45 – Postmodern males climbing the dominance hierarchy
1:31:11 – Kekistan
1:37:14 – Operating in a world of chaos
1:39:55 – Joe tells Jordan they “fucked with the wrong dude”
1:41:30 – Jordan explains why you should clean your room
1:48:00 – Freud and Jung (who is “truly terrifying”) and realizing your capacity for evil 1:50:30 – Jordan tells Joe he is a monster, Joe says he thinks like a demon
1:53:00 – Jordan and Joe legitimize each other
1:54:30 – Why Jordan doesn’t consider himself an intellectual
1:58:10 – Jordan explains one of Northrop Frye’s interpretations regarding the Bible. Context from 1:57:30
2:04:15 – Jordan is trying to (exasperatedly) resurrect the dormant Logos, and it is mostly with men
2:05:10 – Current superhero movies and Polytheism / Marduk the Mesopotamian god 2:07:50 – Jordan talks about why his principles might be reaching more men than women 2:13:15 – Finding meaning / a method Jordan uses with people in his program / men having a purpose vs. women having a purpose
2:17:49 – How Jordan depicts hell to people in his program
2:20:00 – Jordan loses his point while talking about having a meaningful life / Comey gets fired by Trump
2:22:00 – Jordan on suffering being irreducible
2:28:30 – Joe’s story about a friend of his who was addicted to an online game (Everquest: A MMORPG)
2:31:40 – Donald Trump’s lies vs. Hillary Clinton’s lies
2:34:55 – Universal basic income
2:38:20 – The problems with creative people. Context from 2:37:40
2:40:20 – ASAT camouflage
2:47:30 – Jordan talks about his life since attracting unwanted attention from the University
2:52:00 – Jordan suggests that Joe could be the most powerful interviewer on the planet


Did you guys enjoy the podcast? What stood out most to you? Let’s discuss!



Neutron Stars Collide = KiloNova!

Happy Monday Readers!

Every day is a new chance to get better, faster, stronger, smarter

Now onto Kilonovas… Check out this NYTimes 4min Video!


After 2 months of speculation, the “media” reported this morning that scientists have observed for the first time a collision between two Neutron Stars, one of the rarest and least studied cosmic phenomena. Fun fact: 1 teaspoon of Neutron star matter weighs as much as Mt. Everest

From the NYTimes, “Such collisions are thought to have profoundly influenced the chemistry of the universe, creating many of the heavier elements in the universe, including all the precious metals like gold, silver, platinum and uranium. Which is to say that the atoms in your wedding band, in the pharaoh’s jewels and the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and still threaten us all were formed in a cosmic gong show that reverberated across the heavens billions of years ago.”


Friday Findings 10/13/17

Happy Friday Readers!

I used to be mildly intrigued about the spookiness of Friday the 13th, but now I’m just excited for the weekend

What’s On My Mind This Week: The highs and lows of sports

This week, the New York Yankees overcame a 2-game deficit and won three in a row to eliminate the Cleveland Indians and advance to the ALCS. Cleveland was the best regular season team in the AL and won 102 games this year, following last year’s World Series appearance. Over the summer, the “Windians” rode an epic 22-game winning streak, the longest in baseball history. By contrast, The 2017 Yankees were a rebuilding project with muted expectations. Hats off to Joe Girardi and the nucleus of young ballplayers (Judge, Sanchez, Severino, et al.) who defied the pundits. We are now 4 wins away from the World Series– go Yankees!

Also this week, the US Men’s Soccer National Team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, losing to Trinidad and Tobago. What an epic fail… this loss is the defining legacy for the current generation of players on the USMNT. Now it’s time to CTRL+ALT+DEL

What I’m reading/watching/listening to:

Residente’s new self-titled album “Residente”. Residente ( René Pérez Joglar) is a rapper, singer, writer, producer, film director, and, with his stepbrother Visitante (Eduardo José Cabra Martínez) co-founder of the award winning rap group Calle 13. They have won 24 Latin Grammys, the most awarded to a single group in Latin music history. Residente possesses a Fine Arts degree and is known for his social and humanitarian work on behalf of UNICEF and Amnesty International (Thx to Drea for the find)

Album Background (Wikipedia)

A few years before the album’s release, Residente took a DNA test that revealed his roots trace back to 10 different locations around the World, including Armenia, Ghana, China and his homeland Puerto Rico. Such diversity inspired him to produce what would later result in a solo album, a documentary and a book released via Fusion Media Group (Univision Communications) under the same common title Residente. He signed a five-year production deal with the label.

The album was written and recorded over the course of two years and saw Residente travel around the world to the places where his roots are, including Siberia, Moscow, China, the Caucasus, France, Spain, England, Armenia, Ossetia in Georgia, Antigua, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Niger, aside from Puerto Rico.

In all those places, he worked with local, mostly amateur or unknown artists, some of which poor or affected by war. Despite this, Residente rejects the idea of it being a world music album because he “wanted to do something new”. All of them will be paid for their royalties. He also said:

“I collaborated with talented artists, artists that the musical industry doesn’t know of because they don’t pay attention to them, artists that make music without expecting something in return, artists whom I share DNA with, just how they shared their stories with me.”

About the album’s general sound, he said “at a sound level it is not the most organic [album he’s ever made], but the most real and precise. All sounds are from those countries, the drums, the voices, anything that sounds comes from that place.”

Parts of the pre and post-production of the album were done at Loisaida Center in New York City. Residente also worked at Electric Lady Studios in West Village.

The album deals with themes such as equality and unity. Though Residente’s initial approach to his trips were mainly musical, he was inspired by his conversations to focus on the subject of race. Despite being produced much before Donald Trump won the 2016 United States presidential elections, Residente admits its themes could relate to the scenario of the time of its release: “I think that… the topic now is even more relevant because of what is happening with Trump and not only Trump, because there’s a lot of racism around the world. […] We all came from the same place, even though we are different, we are equally different”.

Residente intends to release an English language version of the album and has already translated all lyrics with the help of Puerto Rican poet Urayoán Noel, associate professor at New York University. The effort will be put out depending on Residente’s satisfaction with it.

Great (not so) recent purchase:

Nevados Men’s Boomerang II Mid Hiking Boot ($32)

nevados mens boot

Do not overspend on branded hiking boots that can cost up to $200! I got a pair of these boots 3+ years ago and they have served me superbly on my hikes in the northeast. This is not a paid advertisement, and I do not get paid for these links.

My Photo of the Week:


Hiking Mount Mansfield – 4,393 ft (VT) – Sunset Ridge Trail to the “Chin” of the mountain

What’s Biggie Smalls up to?


Chewing on his bone, forever

Friday Findings 10/6/17

To my dear readers,

TGIF! What a sad/crazy week it’s been. If there is any silver lining from the Las Vegas mass shooting, it’s that we are finally talking about legislating “bump stocks” which can turn semis into autos for as little as $99. On Thursday, the NRA endorsed tighter restrictions for these devices. But talk is cheap, let’s get it done. What is a Bump Stock and how does it work? (interactive)

The Coolest thing I saw on RedditGas station worker takes precautionary measures after customer refused to put out his cigarette

What I’m watching/listening to/reading:  Comedian Anthony Jeselnik’s “Thoughts and Prayers” Netflix Special, about how people run to social media after a tragedy and make it about themselves

Great recent purchase: “Faturday” came a day early this week, courtesy of La Bergamote in Chelsea. Located on the corner of 9th Avenue and 20th Street, this Parisian inspired patisserie/bistro has a comfy neighborhood feel and offers an excellent assortment of croissants, pastries and desserts. I think it’s a great spot for a casual breakfast/brunch. I recommend the pain au chocolat, the croissant aux amandes and assortment of fruit tarts. The cappuccino and coffee are well made too.



What’s Biggie Smalls up to? It’s October, and Biggie is ready for Halloween! Even though I can’t reveal his costume yet, I’ve included a preview of how he’s (usually) feeling:


Tim Ferriss – My Brain’s Gateway Drug

My dear readers,

Today I’m introducing a new column on my blog that is dedicated to highlighting the works of unique people across the world who inspire me through their life’s calling. The first of these individuals that I want to share with you all is Tim Ferriss. FYI, I don’t get paid for any endorsements of people or products on my blog – I’m passing the goodwill forward.

Nowadays, I often ask friends and strangers alike in conversation if they’ve ever heard of Tim Ferriss. Most of them say no, which then leads me to give a rambling and inadequate description of a modern day renaissance man who is best described as a jack of all trades and a master of many.

Tim Ferriss is an American author, entrepreneur, self-proclaimed “human guinea pig”, and public speaker. He has written a number of self-help books on the “4-hour” theme, some of which have appeared on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller lists, starting with The 4-Hour Workweek. Ferriss is also an angel investor and an advisor to Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Evernote, and Uber, among other companies.

Over the last few years, he’s dedicated the majority of his time to his radio podcast, which now has exceeded 100 million downloads, and is consistently rated among the best of iTunes for several years running. He is the “Oprah of audio” – in his 2 hour+ conversations, Tim engagingly interviews elite performers across all industries (finance, creative, military, sports, political, etc) and teases out their routines, tactics and mindset to the benefit of his listeners. Over the years, he’s featured Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Foxx, Edward Norton, Tony Robbins, Maria Sharapova, Peter Thiel, Marc Andreessen, Amanda Palmer, Malcolm Gladwell, Vince Vaughn, Rick Rubin, Reid Hoffman, Jocko Willink, Whitney Cummings, Mike Shinoda, and 200+ more.

Here are three of my favorite interviews:

Tim Ferriss & Jocko Willink (The scariest NAVY SEAL alive, and what he taught me)

Tim Ferriss & Cory Booker (Senator from NJ – Street Fights, 10-Day Hunger Strikes, and Creative Problem-Solving)

Tim Ferriss & Ray Dalio (Founder of Bridgewater Associates – The Steve Jobs of Investing)


Recently, Tim published a book called Tools of Titans: which distills morsels of wisdom from his countless radio interviews organized generally along the lines of “health, wealth and wisdom (shoutout to Ben Franklin!)”.


In Tools of Titans, one particular entry on building morning routines resonated with me greatly, and I can say with absolute certainty that it has changed my life for the better. I strongly recommend that you guys check out the full audio explanation here.

In short, if we win the morning, we win the day. Here are 5 things to help us kick start our routines.

  1. Make your bed (countless people have stressed the importance of this)
  2. Meditate (more than 85% of people interviewed on his radio podcast have some type of mindfulness ritual, even if its 10 minutes a day in the morning with Calm or Headspace. I use Calm)
  3. Do 5 to 10 reps of any physical activity (or a quick morning routine to get the blood flowing. Typically I’ll do a combination of burpees, pushups and air squats while I’m boiling water for coffee)
  4. Make some coffee/tea
  5. Write in a journal (TF introduced me to the 5-minute journal which is a short and structured form of writing that helps me prime my brain to more grateful, to see the greatness that exists every day, and to critically assess where I can make things even better. I can’t stress how beneficial this formatted writing exercise has been, from a former frat bro who wouldn’t be caught dead doing something like meditating or journalingproduct-journal-infographic_2160x1166

There are many other positive things to say about Tim Ferriss and his work, but I’m continuously grateful for his content (all free) and for the insightful takeaways from his conversations with high achievers that I admire personally and professionally. If you guys don’t know TF yet, go check out what he has to offer!


The Human Dichotomy of Guns & Violence

Good evening my dear readers,

I’m heartbroken and angry about the mass shooting that occurred during a country music festival concert in Las Vegas last night. 50+ dead, 500+ wounded. Like many of you, I felt (yet again) a sense of helplessness with regards to this latest tragedy, which is being described as the deadliest shooting in recent American history, according to casualties. If we can’t meaningfully change gun laws in the wake of the Newtown School shooting involving little kids, how are the deaths of country music fans going to alter our discussion?

Nevertheless, we cannot give up hope for a safer future for our children. I’m inspired by the humanity and selflessness of first responders and volunteers who worked side by side with medics, escorting victims to safety and offering transportation services for the wounded. Even when this latest tragedy loses timeshare in the news , the family and friends of victims will have to live with the fallout for the rest of their lives. My hope is that the growing number of individuals and communities impacted by gun violence and America’s senseless gun policies will become advocates for change. My generation has had enough, it’s time for us to stand up. (one of my favorite blogs) made a great post today about America’s epidemic with gun violence that I think is worth reading and discussing. Take a look, and let’s continue our dialog here.

(Edit: here is a link to the life stories of some of the victims)

How do we tackle the complex issue of guns and weapons? Since the dawn of mankind, we’ve been warring with ourselves and other species for primacy. I’m a strong supporter of using military force to ensure the survival of our freedoms and democratic values when diplomacy has failed. We can’t and don’t negotiate with psychopaths or brainwashed cults hellbent on child slavery, using humans at meat shields, and those who display an abject disregard for human dignity. At the same time, I don’t think that its a sensible idea to allow civilians access to military grade automatic rifles, whose projectile speeds are exponentially faster than semi-automatic weapons, causing bones to shatter, shrapnel fragments to explode in countless directions, and mass casualties on a scale weapons designed for self defense simply cannot achieve.

I like shooting automatic rifles at a gun range (I get a primal rush of blood to the head that I can’t get anywhere else). But these are tools used to kill others- not to keep us safe, and it’s time for us to limit such easy access to deadly firearms.