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God’s Plan

Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

“Yeah, they wishin’ and wishin’ and wishin’ and wishin’
They wishin’ on me, yuh”

When God’s Plan was released in January this year, it racked up the largest on-demand streaming count in history, breaking Apple’s first-day record upon release with 14 million streams, and breaking Spotify’s single-day streaming record with 4.3 million plays in 24 hours. It’s all working out nicely for Drake.

God's Plan

“God’s plan, God’s plan
I hold back, sometimes I won’t, yuh
I feel good, sometimes I don’t, ayy, don’t
I finessed down Weston Road, ayy, ‘nessed
Might go down a G.O.D., yeah, wait
I go hard on Southside G, yuh, wait
I make sure that north-side eat”


Bourdain on Trump voters

Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

The death by suicide last month of the American chef Anthony Bourdain shocked not just the world of cuisine. Bourdain was a celebrity: he was a TV star, a popular author, sexy, successful and wealthy. But what’s the point of fame if the famous can no longer endure it was the question that did the rounds once the cause of death became known.

Maria Bustillos interviewed Anthony Bourdain earlier this year and their lengthy conversation has done a lot to raise the profile of her new magazine, Popula. There’s a lot to take away from Bourdain Confidential. Here’s a snippet:

“You know, I just spent about ten days in West Virginia. I like them. I liked the Trump voters. They say grace every meal. Coal is gone.

I love them. And anybody who cannot understand how important even the promise of a slight increase in the number of coal jobs is, how important that is to their cellular tissue, their self-image, everything. How grotesque it is, for people to bigfoot in and say we’re all going to move you into solar, and why can’t you people… No!

The contempt and the ridicule which has been heaped on places like West Virginia, which is the heart, demographically, of enemy territory, as far as New York liberals like us are concerned. If we cannot… This is something we fucked up in the Sixties. We were fighting against cops and construction workers… cops and construction workers were exactly who we fucking needed! They were the first to die, in Vietnam. We weren’t gonna!”

Anthony Bourdain


Nike won the World Cup

Monday, 16 July, 2018

When the World Cup reached the quarter-finals stage, we pointed out here on 4 July that the Nike swoosh adorned the chests of Brazil, France, Croatia and England, while Belgium, Russia and Sweden wore the three stripes of Adidas, with the group of eight rounded out by Uruguay, sponsored by Puma. In the end, it was a Nike vs. Nike final yesterday with France the deserving winners over worthy Croatia.

@MuseeLouvre joined the celebrations by kitting out the Mona Lisa with a France top and this tweet: “Félicitations à l’@equipedefrance pour leur victoire à la #CoupeDuMonde2018″. And so say all of us.

Mona Lisa Nike


A Stoic speaks

Sunday, 15 July, 2018

“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own — not of the same blood or birth, but of the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions.” — Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius


Dawes: The Laurel Canyon sound continued

Saturday, 14 July, 2018

In Laurel Canyon by Michael Walker, which was published in 2006, the author described the eponymous place high in the Hollywood Hills as “the slightly seedy, camp-like neighborhood of serpentine one-lane roads, precipitous hills, fragrant eucalyptus trees, and softly crumbling bungalows set down improbably in the middle of Los Angeles.” There, in 1968, something magical happened when Joni Mitchell was in the ‘hood: “So it was that Nash, Stills, and Crosby sat in Mitchell’s living room on Lookout Mountain, in the heart of Laurel Canyon, in the epicenter of L.A.’s nascent rock music industry, and for the first time, began to sing together.”

It’s been said that the Los Angles rock band Dawes are the continuation of the Laurel Canyon sound by new means. The members are Wylie Gelber, Lee Pardini and the brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith. Living in the Future is the first song on their new album, Passwords, which was released last month.

Note: Passwords has been described as an album “for and about the modern age: the relationships that fill it, the politics that divide it, and the small victories and big losses that give it shape.” Dawes are marketing the album with campaign that encourages fans to search for “passwords” posted across the internet. Once a password is found, it can be entered on the band’s site where each part of the password represents a musical note. When entered correctly, these musical notes play bits from Dawes songs and unlock exclusive content, including a Spotify playlist curated by Griffin Goldsmith.


Great get from The Sun

Friday, 13 July, 2018

It’s the lead story on Bloomberg, the BBC, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and lots of other global media outlets. It’s President Donald Trump’s “world exclusive” interview with Tom Newton Dunn of The Sun. This is classic tabloid stuff filled with one-sentence paragraphs that snap, crackle and pop:

In an extraordinary intervention timed to coincide with his UK visit, Mr Trump said Theresa May ignored his advice by opting for a soft Brexit strategy.

And he warned her any attempts to maintain close ties with the EU would make a lucrative US trade deal very unlikely.

Mr Trump said: “If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal.”

The Sun


Shark Day

Thursday, 12 July, 2018

Kazuki Okuda is an illustrator and “2D artist” based in Kyoto. An impressive array of his work can be found on the showcase site Behance, which is owned by Adobe.

Shark


Time Trial in France

Wednesday, 11 July, 2018

When it comes to sport these days, all eyes are on Russia, where the World Cup is approaching its climax. For those who aren’t that into football, there’s always tennis and Wimbledon right now offers a more genteel alternative to the mania in Moscow. If neither small ball nor big ball satisfies, the Tour de France ticks the remaining boxes.

Today’s stage from to Lorient to Quimper glides past the citadel of Fort-Bloqué and through Pont-Aven, the city of the painters Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard. The focus will be on Ménez Quélerc’h, a famous climb in Breton cycling, and the last 35km includes the medieval village of Locronan and the challenging côte de la chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Lorette.

Couch-based Tour fans are treated daily to spectacular landscapes steeped in history but what’s usually missing from the picture is the pain of the participants. Finlay Pretsell, the award-winning Scottish filmmaker, places pain at the centre of his film, Time Trial, and his anti-hero is Scottish-born David Millar, a Tour stage winner, who was suspended for doping in 2004. If the World Cup is ecstasy and Wimbledon is elegance, the Tour de France is human, with all the heroic and horrible facets of humanity exposed. Time Trial is a valuable contribution to our understanding of sport.


The Kavanaugh Judgement

Tuesday, 10 July, 2018

The grandmaster of reality TV, President Donald Trump, choose primetime to announce his nominee for the US Supreme Court seat being vacated by Anthony Kennedy. The prize went to Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

It’s a solid pick, but as comedian Dennis Miller anticipated on Twitter: “Just to keep things in perspective, or not, Trump could nominate either Amy Coney Barrett or Vladimir Putin tomorrow and the headlines would be exactly the same.” This is so true and it reflects perfectly the derangement that now grips the president’s opponents.

Long before President Trump had presented his nominee, Democrats were promising to oppose whoever got the nod because they desperately need a win before the midterm election and they crave revenge after the Senate’s refusal to confirm President Obama’s appointee, Judge Merrick Garland, in 2016. They’ll have a hard time with Kavanaugh, though. He’s gold plated. Consider: He’s a graduate of Yale Law School and a former law clerk to Justice Kennedy, and he was hired to teach at Harvard Law School by the then-Dean, now Justice, Elena Kagan. Done deal.

Judge's robes


The binary technology universe: USA & China

Monday, 9 July, 2018

Here’s an infographic from Visual Capitalist, which “creates and curates enriched visual content focused on emerging trends in business and investing”, that’s doing the rounds.

Binary tech

And who are those Top 20 tech companies? From top, with Apple valued at $915 billion, to bottom, with Meituan-Dianping valued at $30 billion, here’s the list:

Apple (USA), Amazon (USA), Alphabet (USA), Microsoft (USA), Facebook (USA), Alibaba (China), Tencent (China), Netflix (USA), Ant Financial (China), Salesforce (USA), Booking Holdings (USA), Paypal (USA), Baidu (China), Uber (USA), JD.com (China), Didi Chuxing (China), Xiaomi (China), eBay (USA), Airbnb (USA) and Meituan-Dianping (China).

Note: The German software company, SAP, is valued at $140 billion and targeting $270 billion so its absence from the list is puzzling. Why is Salesforce in 10th position and not SAP? Let’s see what Visual Capitalist has to say.


Shelley in Italy

Sunday, 8 July, 2018

On this day in 1822, the English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley drowned when his boat, the Don Juan, sank during a storm in the Gulf of La Spezia off the north-west coast of Italy. He was 30. Shelley’s ashes were interred in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome and his gravestone bears the Latin inscription, Cor Cordium (Heart of Hearts).

Plagued by health worries and pursued by creditors, Shelley and his wife, the writer Mary Shelley, escaped from England to Italy in 1818 and there he produced some of his best work, including Ode to the West Wind. Like many before and after him, Shelley was enchanted by Italy and remained under its spell until the end of his short, dazzling life.

To Italy

As the sunrise to the night,
As the north wind to the clouds,
As the earthquake’s fiery flight,
Ruining mountain solitudes,
Everlasting Italy,
Be those hopes and fears on thee.

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822)

Italy