Raymond Queneau: ‘Time is money – so give me some money to think.’

“Time is money – so give me some money to think”

Raymond Queneau

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So what?

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Instead of asking the typical fear-setting question ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ instead persistently ask yourself ‘so what?’

So what if you didn’t get into the college you wanted? So what if you’ll never be famous? So what if you’ll never find a significant other?


So what?

Repetition dulls negative thoughts. Boredom hinders the loop from dominating your internal dialogue. The act of questioning makes your worries irrelevant; at least you’re still breathing!

Asking ‘so what’ won’t resolve your problems but it will quell your imaginary anxiety from thinking about them.

The monkey mind is irrational. But the quiet mind is not indifferent; it too cares. However you move on with the business of living, just remember nothing is as ever as bad as it seems.

Why we need sleep 😴

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“Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory, makes you more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested?”

That revolutionary new treatment is sleep. Even jellyfish get sluggish when they don’t get enough. 

Looking forward to reading this: Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. Read The Guardian’s review.

Newsletter: ‘The internet is a propaganda machine.’

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Do you see a duck or a rabbit? Both 😉…?

Hi! I hope everyone is having a good week. Below are some of the links I recommend checking out this weekend. As always, peep a new tune and old classic after the jump.

web gems

Architects around the world are designing better schools. Buildings shape learning. Architects in Japan and Denmark are redesigning schools that permit more natural light and encourage the type of play children do at home.

The Stahl House Movie. Like watching The Office or seen Big Lebowski? My older brother wrote and filmed a mockumentary about icons & contemporary Los Angeles for his Sci-Arc thesis. Watch it, funny and brilliant.

99% Invisible: The Age of Algorithm. Algorithms are doing more harm than good. Facebook, Google, and Twitter all feed the internet silos with fake news. As Cathy O’Neil author of Weapons of Math Destruction puts it: “The internet is a propaganda machine.”


An Ad for London’s First Cafe Printed Circa 1652. In 1652, London’s St. Michael’s Alley became the first cafe in London to sell coffee: “THE Grain or Berry called Coffee, groweth upon little Trees, only in the Deserts of Arabia.”

+ As author Tom Standage points out in his book Writing on the Wall: Social Media – The First 2,000 Years, coffee houses were the original social networks and MOOCS where people mingled, studied, and exchanged ideas.

Smokers Are The Last Nice People Online. “Everyone on cigarette internet is so nice to each other.” Wish we could say the same about other web communities.

Thought of the week

“Three thousand photographs and three thousand doubts.”

— Teju Cole

New track on loop

Heat Wave – Nightmare (2017)

Digging in the crates

Mobb Deep – Reach (1996)

PS: I created a music club on Facebook. If you want to experience some new tunes and relive some greats, knock on the door!

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Wells Baum (@bombtune)

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Being an artist is like…

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Comic by Castor Comics 

Is it good enough? What will the audience think? What will our closest friends think of what we made with our bare hands?

As an artist, fear and doubt pervade our craft. But it’s also what guides it. If we’re afraid to publish our work, that most likely means we should do it anyway.

‘This may not work’

A clap, likes, a positive comment – reassurance is not the end-goal. In fact, what should drive the artist is the fact that what they make may not work. Much of artist work is what they can get away with.

“Dance with the fear. Use fear as a compass to push you toward bringing your best creative work to life.” – Seth Godin

‘You break experience up into pieces…’

“You break experience up into pieces and you put them together in different combinations, and some are real and some are not, some are documentary, and some are imagined…It takes a pedestrian and literal mind to be worried about which is true and which is not true. It’s all of it not true, and it’s all of it true.”

— Author Walter Stegner in an interview with Richard Etulain

Fact or fiction, our lives are but are an amalgamation of experience and imagination, neither of which explains the factual nature of our origins. Context fence-sits to prove no foreseeable answer, one that needs no seeking anyway.

The above quote is lifted from the afterword in Wallace Stegner’s novel Crossing to Safety, a highly recommended read.

The view from the street

I ventured into DC this weekend which I often do to whet my appetite for street photography. Little did I know, two events were happening: the Juggalo March and a Latino Festival which ran down Constitution Avenue.

While I snapped many pictures of those folks, what struck me most was this skateboarder flying down 15th street with the entire street to himself. Since the streets were closed off, he had the freedom to ride wherever he wanted. You can also see the new opened African American museum layered in the backdrop.

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I only skateboarded a few times growing up, but the sport comes with valuable life lessons if you can keep up with it. As Jerry Seinfeld put it:

To learn to do a skateboard trick, how many times do you get something wrong until you get something right? If you learn to do that trick, now you’ve got a life lesson. Whenever I see those skateboard kids, I think those kids will be alright.

Skateboarding is a life’s sport. The skateboard culture ushered in by Tony Hawk and brands like Vans introduced an element of coolness and creativity forever.

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Your support goes a long way: for every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

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Teju Cole: ‘Three thousand photographs and three thousand doubts.’

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“Three thousand photographs and three thousand doubts.”

Teju Cole, in his new book Known and Strange Things: Essays

The more photos you take, the more words you write, the most shots you take, the more you have to play with. Quantity translates into quality over time, but it takes a lot of trial and error and a lot of time. Seeking reassurance is mostly time wasted.

The paradox of proximity

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So close yet so far.  It appears that the closer we are to something: the gym, the pool, a loved one even, we are less likely to invest the time with them.

We avoid what’s closest to us because proximity obviates the need for effort. When it’s too easy, we have a propensity to get stuck in inertia.

Why do anything?

Procrastination is the purest form of idleness. Convenience is a lazy compromise. We need to get off our ass and jump into the world, especially when it matters.

Question the algorithms

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Photo by David Werbrouck

It is a canard to think that math can’t fail. All you need to do is look at the way society constructs algorithms – from job and college applications to Facebook feeds to find out that sorting can be wrong and biased.

In the case of the 2016 election, algorithms did more harm than good. Facebook fed the internet silos with fake news. As Cathy O’Neil author of Weapons of Math Destruction puts it in a 99% Invisible podcast: “The internet is a propaganda machine.”


We’ve adopted the factory mindset of mass-sorting, leaving the anxiety of decision-making up to machines. Humans are pieces of data, waiting to be organized by the least valuable candidate or customer.

There’s too many of us and not enough time to make individual considerations. But a conversation around algorithmic frailty might do us some good. Making generalizations impedes the magic of a discovering an outlier.