Howdy Traipsteristos,
Did you see Bend in the news this week? Yup, even this bubble of a mountain town has feds in riot gear descending on it.
Our community is still reeling from watching families get ripped apart in our sanctuary city, so I'll save discussions of border security for another day. The question is: why was border patrol in Central Oregon and not securing our borders within their 100-mile border jurisdiction?


This Week's Newsletter:

The (loose) theme this week is people at the top of their game. Be it piano skills I can't fathom, the autobiography of an amazing human, a common practice of people living to 100, or a famed investor's thoughts, it amazes me what people can do.

Van trip to Waldo Lake earlier this week to pedal.
(From Twin Peak looking north at the Sisters.)
Piano Fireworks

My piano infatuation continues, as does my incredulity at the short circuits it causes in my brain. Why is it so much fun though?!


To set the bar for my goals, I Googled “hardest piano songs,” which yielded this gem: piano mixed with visual fireworks.

Back to plinking away... If I practice an hour a day, at 65 I’ll hit 10,000 hours and SURELY play La Companella like this young wizard. I swear he’s just randomly pounding on the keyboard as fast as he can!

Book: I Never Had It Made by Jackie Robinson
In a past life, I thrived on baseball history and knew many of Jackie Robinson’s stats. My admiration cranked up 10x after reading his autobiography, which I highly recommend.


Jackie was a powerful, phenomenal human being and the first Black man to play in the major leagues. His moral compass packed more true north than a crew of Boy Scouts, yet he was able to hold his tongue against ridiculous injustices until he’d proven himself on the field. And while he wasn’t perfect, he could change his mind and admit mistakes (such as supporting Nixon over Kennedy) while staying true to his ideals.


I knew nothing of his far-ranging work after baseball, which he called as important than his exploits on the field. From being a VP at a popular NYC coffee company to supporting the civil rights movement with the NAACP to working with Nelson Rockefeller, Jackie’s voice sang out clearly and strongly at a time in American history that still repeats itself in many ways.

Two Powerful Quotes from the book:

I had to deny my true fighting spirit so that the “noble experiment” (baseball integration) could succeed. When it finally did I could become my own man; many people resented my impatience and honesty. But I never cared about acceptance as much as I cared about respect.


“I’m grateful for all the breaks and honors and opportunities I’ve had, but I always believe I won’t have it made until the humblest black kid in the most remote backwoods of America has it made.”

Ok, ooook, here's a shot of the garden project (previously a lawn) we've cranked on the past few months. Hopefully it helps us live longer!
So You Want to Live to 100...

Since I’m human, I like to reinforce and validate activities in which I invest substantial time. Enter this short article about how gardening is a key ingredient for centenarians (people who live to 100).

Gardening is a key aspect of “Blue Zones,” the areas around the world where people live the longest. A few examples: Okinawa, Japan; Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.


Nature time, exercise, healthy food at your backdoor, and stress reduction all factor into why having a green thumb benefits us. Looks like all these COVID gardens aren’t just a way to pass the time.


If the Blue Zone concept sounds interesting, the book by the same title is solid!

Stock Market Sagacity

Perhaps (like me) you’re wondering how the stock market continues to rally as if there isn’t a pandemic raging away. Millions out of work and stocks at new peaks whaaaaat?
One of the sages helping me understand the disconnect is Howard Marks, the billionaire founder of Oaktree Capital. I’ve read his memos for years and can’t recommend them enough.

With incisive questions coupled to impressible humility, Howard thinks deeply about the forces at play in the financial markets. There’s no horn-tooting, I’m-so-rich-and-smart, just insightful thinking that he shares with the public for free!

Check out his latest memo, Time For Thinking. The postscript about GDP is convoluted, but super interesting. For a less complex entree to Howard's work, listen to his podcast interview with Tim Ferriss.

That's it for this edition. To everyone sending me thoughtful emails and links to your favorite finds, please keep them coming! I love hearing what you're into.
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