Click image to run
It is reopening day in California — and to finally call it summer. It has been a long time since we have been able to do things that can be deemed normal — mundane activities like walking out without a mask and look at each other’s smiles. Or get a cup of coffee at a cafe. I celebrated the comeback from the pandemic — at least in our part of the world — by getting a haircut and a straight razor shave from my favorite barber. It is such a simple thing, and yet the only thing I could think of that could give me such immense joy. I hope this mundane normalcy comes your way — and even if it does, wear a mask in crowded places. I hope you get a jab (or two) soon.
I don’t have any travel plans. I like the cooler confines of San Francisco, which is often wrapped in a blanket of fog, even as the rest of the west burns with record high temperatures. I know it is a brief respite before the wildfire season returns, and we are forced to use masks again. But for now, this is a gift I want to enjoy. And today, I am officially ending the use of the tag, Pandemic Chronicles.
Best news I’ve read in a long time.
Thanks, Om. Always one of the most interesting newsletter emails I receive.
My work desk: iPad Pro w/KeyChron K2 keyboard & Apple TrackPad
On the news, on social media, and in personal communication apps, there seems to seems to be a continuous end-of-the-world vibe. Given that none of us can do much about the way things are going, except self isolating and pay attention to the needs of each others, you get the sense that much of this is misery porn. I can’t help but join writer Dan Samorodinitsky’s plea for “no more coronavirus takes.” What the hell does anyone know? Even the news is just a wash, rinse, and repeat of the same old stuff. Enough already!
For me, today is Day 38 of self-isolation. It is the start of another work week, and I am doing what I would normally do on any given Monday. I get up, go for a walk, come back home, and make a cup of tea before starting in on my list of things I need to do today. I am checking in with some of the founders I work with and figuring out if they need anything. There is a backlog of emails from the weekend, including newsletters that have piled up in my newsletter folder. In many ways, I am going to do exactly what I always do.
My partner Jon Callaghan sent a weekend email to the team, and he shared a slide that posed this question: Who do I want to be during COVID-19? (See Below)
I have emerged from the dark blue zone, and I am now in the growth zone. If anything, after a month of being alone with my thoughts, I have started to make notes about what could possibly be different. I think there is a better-than-good chance that our behaviors change as a result of this pandemic.
In recent days, I have had a series of conversations around the changes with many of my friends, and some shapes have started to emerge. Every time there is a shock to the system, things change — some for better, and some for worse. I am currently creating a ledger and thinking about opportunities, not just for innovation, but for a better humanity.
This dropped into my email box, this morning. A post at Om Malik’s personal website. Professional writer, reflective, subtle photographer – in my mind. A deeply caring human being involved with our species on a global scale. I suggest you spend time wandering through this and other sites he’s part of. He’s a creative voice in more than this; but, it’s how I know him best over the years.
❝ Rossetto Kasper wrote: “What is it with San Marzano tomatoes? Their PR shines; every chef recommends them, but I wonder how many have actually tasted them next to American tomatoes.”
❝ What seems to be the issue with San Marzano tomatoes is widespread fraud. They command a higher price than regular canned tomatoes, and as with any other premium brand, counterfeits follow. Unlike faux Chanel bags, though, you can buy San Marzanos in legit stores, which is why the sheer number of knockoffs is jaw-dropping. In 2011, Edoardo Ruggiero, the president of Consorzio San Marzano, told the small Italian importing company Gustiamo that at maximum 5 percent of tomatoes sold in the U.S. as San Marzanos are real San Marzanos. So according to the guy who oversees the certification of those tomatoes, at least 95 percent of the so-called San Marzanos in the U.S. are fakes…
❝ With all this fraud going on, I wondered if chefs even used San Marzanos…Food writers are working with ingredients that home cooks can easily find at the neighborhood grocery store, where all the San Marzanos are fakes. If you’re at the grocery store, Muir Glen is your best bet. But good chefs don’t shop at the grocery store and test out all sorts of specialty suppliers to find the best possible ingredients available.
RTFA. Learn what’s really available, see what trained chefs use, what good home cooks can use to make a great Italian tomato sauce.
Thanks, Om Malik
Om Malik — Christopher Michel
Reprinted in its entirety from om.co, Om Malik’s blog
Happy birthday, Carl Sagan. Thanks for leaving a legacy and the gift of your writings. In his 1995 book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, noted writer, astronomer and philosopher Sagan noted:
I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…
The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.
It is good that he is not here to see the future, and it is a shame he is not here to tell us about the future. But his birthday should be a reminder of why we need to learn and evolve with science, and not shun it.
h/t Steve Crandall
❝ Humans touch an average of 600 objects a day and the potential for them to help us or bring us joy is huge! The big challenge of design is to create something that, although accessible to all consumers, touches people’s lives and gives them some sense of elevated experience and pleasure and is original. Designers have the power to shape a better, smarter world, to simplify yet inspire every individual, to make well-made and beautiful products accessible to all.
Reblogged from om malik’s fine blog
From Om Malik’s personal blog
A few months ago, Jeff Kenoff got in touch, wondering if I would judge at the EyeTime 2014, a Student Photography Competition in NYC. Unfortunately, due to prior commitments and time constraint I couldn’t do the judging for the event. Some of my friends like John Biggs of Techcrunch, Mark Kawano and Cole Rise, however ended up being judges on the competition.
The talent at the competition was staggering. Just look at some of the photos that are in the winner’s circle and you will know what I mean. EyeTime 2014 is a contest to publicly promote the research, exploration and investigation currently happening amongst today’s emerging talent. For my money, Architecture in Limbo by Ben Tynegate is hauntingly beautiful!
Click this link to wander over to Om’s blog and view his selections
In the first episode of the second season of British television show, The Hour, its protagonist, Freddie Lyon upon returning from America explains why he was intoxicated by the new world:
“Being nobody in a country where everybody thinks they can be somebody…”
That one utterance by a fictional character sums up why every immigrant wants to come to America and that does include me. This is the country where Albert Einstein and Nicola Tesla were somebody. This is the place where Kim Kardashian and Alex Rodriguez are somebody. Kanye West and Steve Jobs, they are somebody. At one point they were nobodies. This quirky, burger munching, frappuccino swigging, football loving, gas-guzzling cross between utopia and Disney Land is a nation of nobodies who are on their way to be somebody.
And that is the beauty of America…
Today, in a ceremony at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, California, I was sworn in along with 1224 others and we became Americans. I am still memorizing the Star Spangled Banner and trying to imprint the oath of allegiance on my heart, but I have always known that I was an American.
Long before I left my parents home, in those hot summer nights when I read American magazines and dreamed of New York, I knew where I belonged. That America was brought alive by pulp fiction and noir writers. America was Michael Jackson. America was Wall Street. America was Tom Wolfe’s Electric Acid Kool Aid Test and his Bonfire of Vanities. America was Bell Labs. It was Bruce Springsteen.
The America I found was a kaleidoscope of all those fictions and many more realities. Random acts of kindness from absolute strangers, failures that taught more than successes, disappointments that taught the meaning of joy, but most importantly the America I found was a place where my mind could finally roam free. It was a place where I learned that tomorrow is another opportunity…
In most places in the world, outsiders like me don’t have that chance. That simple truth is what makes America so special. A chance – to be somebody even if you are nobody. America is a state of mind and I have opted-in!