Something truly horrible happened to me recently. The worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. I know that far more terrible injustices happen around the world, but I’ve never experienced anything like this. I can’t talk about it. I will be happy to at some point in the future. Anyway I was getting pretty depressed and disturbed. And then I saw this video, and it hit me really hard. In fact I think it might be one of the most important videos you ever see in your life.
So beautiful and inspiring:
The photo above is Philip Gould standing over the grave site where he will soon be buried in a few weeks.
Some things are hard to accept. Some things feel impossible to accept. While watching this video, I realized that I’m unable to accept what happened to me, that I still hoped it was a nightmare I could wake from. Seeing Philip Gould so accepting even of his own inevitable approaching death is what I needed to see to realize that I need to accept what cannot be changed, that I can accept it, and that no matter how awful something is, I can appreciate that I have my life and my health and my drive to create a good future ahead.
Sometimes you smile at the world and the world smacks you hard. I hope I’ll have the strength to always face the difficulties of life as bravely as Philip Gould.
“Acceptance is the absolute key. At that moment you gain freedom, you gain power, and you gain courage.” – Philip Gould
I’m not religious, but I do come from a large religious Orthodox Jewish family. I’ve been to enough orthodox temple services to get a good idea of the one main issue that matters to most religious Jews when they vote for a presidential candidate:
Is he a friend of Israel?
I’m a supporter of Israel. Especially after I visited in 2007. I kind of just assumed it was a big desert with a bunch of odd religious fanatics. I was wrong. What a beautiful country. Tel Aviv was such a fun city. The nightlife, the beaches, the ancient castles, the shopping, the people with a lot of attitude. Israel is like a big playground. I was surprised to find that most Israelis are NOT religious, but they do love and respect their country, very much. What these people have built among all their hardship is undeniably inspiring; and it’s just such an enjoyable place to be.
If you walk around Israel and speak with the people about Israeli politics, it’s completely not controversial for everyone to acknowledge that Israel is more or less the puppet of the United States. Many Israelis talked about this with me. Everyone says the same thing. If a European nation or the UN condemns Israel, no one gives a damn. If the US is ever slightly annoyed, Israel jumps to address it. No one I met in Israel had any difficulty articulating that.
No one I met in Israel denied that their nation was under the thumb of the US Government, and yet, and yet every single one of them was grateful for US “support”.
I want to ask all my Jewish friends to think about this next question:
How can we call Israel a Jewish Homeland when it is ultimately controlled by the whims of the voters of the American population?
(pause to let that set in)
We don’t have a homeland yet. Not unless we’re independent to make our own decisions. This aid comes at a heavy price. Our sovereignty and our ability to pursue our best interests should be for sale to no one. Certainly not for $3 Billion.
I organized an event for Peter Schiff at my house, some difficulties ensue… (with Photos and Video!)
Whoa man, my house has been packed before, but never like this! Last week I held a cocktail party with a short talk from Peter Schiff. About 300 people came over, and most of them piled in my living room all at once to see Peter speak. It was so tight that the photographer actually had a hard time lifting his arms to take pictures. I was honestly terrified by the sheer number of people I knew would show up that I’ll somehow fit in one room; but hey, we made it work! And it was a great time!
Everyone looked amazing. Check out all the pictures below:
(Many more photos below at the end of this article)
As many of you know, I’m a massive fan of Peter Schiff, he’s had a significant impact on my economic understanding, and I watch all of his videos that get posted online. I even named him “Man of the Year” in a previous article. To say the least, I was extremely excited to have him over to speak at my house. I know I was warned a thousand times by many people that he can be difficult to deal with. Still, I was surprised that for a moment even I was pissed with the guy.
Continue Reading >>
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This is one of those albums you’ve got to let grow on you. When I first listened to it I remember thinking that I couldn’t believe I actually listened all the way through that boring piece of shit album. I couldn’t understand what the buzz was about, it didn’t click with me, and I never intended to listen to it again.
This music is sparse. Very minimal electronics over a minimal acoustic sound with a male/female duet that goes for personality over precision. I like simple soft minimal music, I just didn’t like this album.
Some day later I heard the song “Islands” come on the radio again. I was in jammed traffic and frustrated in a hurry. It kind of hit me, whoa, this is really pretty, and it’s so soothing right now. I was kind of pissed that the song ended so soon and some crappy My Chemical Romance song came on and totally ruined the vibe. I gave the album another chance and I couldn’t believe I didn’t first realize how awesome this is. Even almost 2 years later it’s still one of my favorite albums to play in my room while I do whatever various things I do. I literally could listen to this on repeat all day.
The Beatles wrote a lot of very simple and light hearted songs that were surprisingly epic and touching. That’s kind of how I approach XX. Everything is stripped away, the vibe is very easy going and playful, yet the undercurrent is deep and soulful. I love this album. Lower your guard, clear your head, enjoy.
[Video after the break]
Ok guys, tonight September 14th, I’m throwing another cocktail party. It’s an event to present the new California Common Sense organization. I’ll explain below why California Common Sense is such a cool idea, why what they’re accomplishing already is very impressive, and why just about everyone in California is gonna love this. My mind is blown about their possibilities.
The full details are at the Facebook Event Page:
Confirm there if you’re coming.
So my friend Joe Lonsdale is a guy with big ideas and incredible results. An early executive at Clarium Capital, he worked closely with Peter Thiel, the super famous Billionaire who founded PayPal and funded Facebook into glory. Together they funded and developed some incredible projects, and separately Joe has begun several prominent business ventures and organizations. One of his latest projects is California Common Sense (aka CACS). Information technology is rapidly transforming the world, and Joe wants it to transform our government.
CACS is a nonprofit organization devoted to opening the books of our state government and making all that data easy and fun to play with, so you can easily understand what’s actually going on. The goal of this increased transparency is to increase accountability and reduce the massive waste.
The public interest in withholding these records outweighs the public interest in the disclosure of them.
–Erin Peth, Deputy of Legal Affairs for Governor Jerry Brown
After all, as citizens we’re paying for this (state income tax, property tax, payroll tax, every time we buy something in a store, etc). We are all shareholders in this organization known as the California Government and we should know what’s going on with our money. Continue Reading >>
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Sticking with Groove Armada, compare the sound of their later albums I’ve reviewed with their earlier sound here on “Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub)”. They used to have this more chilled jazzy house electro soul R&B vibe; yeah just check it out. A masterpiece in its own right, this album flows between intimate and increased energy, fantastic for playing during chill get togethers. I like how each song has a long intro to set the vibe and establish itself as it draws you in. As the band’s name suggest, their grooves always kick ass. For more of Groove Armada’s jazzy chilled house vibe check out their even earlier album that put them on the map: “Vertigo“.
[Video after the break]
Everyone’s got hobbies. Some follow sports. Some play video games. Lately mine is photography.
I’m not a photographer. I’m humble here because I have no formal knowledge of the craft at all. It’s just a hobby for fun. I don’t charge anyone, and I don’t intend to. It’s more like I’ve got a toy that I play with a lot and I’m getting better with it. I don’t even know what an F-stop is. I know my photoshop skills are still a bit amateur (I just discovered layers). I do know how to frame a decent shot and snap it. Last year I got a compact SLR (I’ll review later it on this blog) and I’ve been taking it with me everywhere. Now I’m taking more pictures than a Japanese school girl. I love how it’s going so far, and as I get better with photography I’m enjoying it more.
We live the moments of our lives, and then those moments are gone, forever. I’m happy when I can capture one of those moments in a striking and dramatic way. And I’m eternally grateful to the rapidly evolving technology that allows me to do that more easily.
I’ve been getting some good reaction to my photos, and since this blog is my way of sharing, from time to time I’ll start sharing a bit of my latest hobby with you. I’ve already shared a ton of pics from my recent Burning Man trip. Today I’ll share some shots of one of my favorite subjects to shoot, cute girls :)
I don’t know if I can call these “photo shoots” since I was just walking around with a camera in my hand with no setup and often terrible natural lighting. Especially because I’ve never even been to a real photo shoot and have no idea what it’s really like. But anyway yeah, fuck all that, here’s some pics from 2 “shoots” I did. Let me know what you think :)
[Full Gallery after the break]
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I love this album, but I was really upset when I first heard it. That’s because I loved Groove Armada’s more intimate jazzy chilled house of their earlier albums, and this clearly was not that. But Soundboy Rock grew on me, to the point that it’s now my favorite Groove Armada album to listen to.
Soundboy Rock sounds like it was created by completely different musicians than their latest Black Light/White Light albums that I previously reviewed. This has an urban soul hip-hop electro beach dance party vibe. Yeah listen to it, you’ll see. Feels like I’m walking down the Venice Beach boardwalk in the 90s, but transported into the future. This is a perfect Summer album.
I immediately hated this album when I first heard the jarring opening song “Get Down”. My mouth dropped. What the fuck is this shit? Sounds like I’m being skinned alive in a Vietnamese prison camp. Fortunately that horror ends there, it’s consistently high quality for the rest of the album.
I always skip that bastardized shit that precedes it and start this cd off with track 3 “The Things That We Could Share”. It’s got a cool urban groove, and sets a cool tone for a great LA pool party.
By far my favorite song here is “Paris”, even though it doesn’t quite fit in. Lush atmospheric electro soul. Holy shit, this is fucking gorgeous! I would love if they came out with a really chilled out album of songs of this type.
I’ve got a secret to tell you, I don’t like rap. Except for a few cases, like here. I just can’t deny that “The Girls Say” is actually a fun, clever, well constructed rap song. Check it out above.
“Love Sweet Sound” is 70s disco soul diva vocals meets electro-house dance party.
“Lightsonic” is reggae vocals meets electro-house dance party.
“Drop That Thing” is not the sort of song I’d normally like, it’s aggressive electro-hip hop about shaking your ass, but the music is really clever and captivating.
“Song For Mutya” is a totally respectable urban pop song with a nod to the early 90s, and probably would have been a massive hit back then.
Groove Armada keeps reinventing themselves while consistently showing us how creative and clever dance music can be. Soundboy Rock is a must have.
[Video after the break]
If you haven’t heard much about Gary Johnson, that will soon change. He will be running for President of The United States and there is a strong rising wave of excitement behind him.
This Friday at 7:30pm, he’ll be speaking at my house. I’m honored, and I’m also looking forward to seeing you there. In my living room, Gary Johnson will speak about his vision for the direction of our country and how his campaign can make a legitimate difference. After he speaks there will be a some Q&A time and then everyone can hang out, meet people, and even talk to Gary Johnson personally.
Event details are here:
Please confirm there if you’re coming.
Gary Johnson is the former 2 term Governor of New Mexico. He’s famous for setting a national veto record by vetoing more legislation than the other 49 Governors combined, thus slashing the state government during his term and leaving the state with a large budget surplus. He pulled it off when many of his actions were thought political suicide, and yet he got re-elected. He gained even more notoriety for his attack on our failed War on Drugs, by becoming the nation’s most prominent politician openly advocating legalization.
|(Discussing Marijuana Legalization and Gay Marriage)|
I’ve spoken with Gary Johnson and I was extremely impressed with his mutual appreciation for Milton Friedman and his thorough understanding of Free Market Economics. There are strong principles behind his strong stance for reducing taxes, spending, bureaucracy and government involvement in our lives.
Gary Johnson is running as a Republican, and the thing is, he has less of a challenge in the General Election against Obama, than in the Primaries against Republicans. That’s because Gary Johnson is far more openly liberal than Obama on many social issues. Continue Reading >>