Taller than the Trees: The Cost of Oya-koko or Filial Piety

“The Academy Award-winning US director Megan Mylan’s Taller Than the Trees follows the daily life of Masami Hayata, a Tokyo ad executive, who embodies the changes that Japan is undergoing. With his wife frequently out of town for her job as a flight attendant, Hayata takes on the role of domestic caregiver, attending to their six-year-old son, as well as his mother, who is in the late stages of dementia, in addition to his considerable corporate responsibilities.”

Taller than the Trees

Ornery Crackers

“Dreamers make the best drivers, always. They are not afraid of unknown routes, they do not complain about bumps in the road, and they like the feel of the machine roaring down the dark highways. They seldom if ever get lost because wherever they find themselves is part of what they were seeking…

…They [presumably most people] want to know what can be known but they do not want to know what can’t be known. They want anecdotes, little intimacies, clues to habits and dress, pieces of the True Beer Can or True Old Pickup Truck. But they do not want to know who he really was, that core part each of us carries that others can only guess at and never really comprehend or possess — that we ourselves cannot fully understand. The most important part of a person remains unknown even to the person, the fire that from time to time causes a life to become a conflagration. Where the light comes from and why.”

—Charles Bowden. “The Red Caddy.” Longreads.com. April 2018.

Heimat ist da, wo man schwätzt wie mar. Loved this excerpt. I love ornery cracker territory, a spiritual homeland if there ever was one.

Mental Models: How to Train Your Brain to Think in New Ways

“A mental model is an explanation of how something works. It is a concept, framework, or worldview that you carry around in your mind to help you interpret the world and understand the relationship between things. Mental models are deeply held beliefs about how the world works…

…To quote Charlie Munger again, ’80 or 90 important models will carry about 90 percent of the freight in making you a worldly-wise person. And, of those, only a mere handful really carry very heavy freight…’

…My hope is to create a list of the most important mental models from a wide range of disciplines and explain them in a way that is not only easy to understand, but also meaningful and practical to the daily life of the average person. With any luck, we can all learn how to think just a little bit better.”

—James Clear. “Mental Models: How to Train Your Brain to Think in New Ways.” Medium.com. February 15, 2018.

His list of the most useful mental models might warrant revisiting every now and again.

The Dirty Secret of ‘Secret Family Recipes’

“…true originality is rare. Multiple cookbook authors have stories of asking people to send in family recipes and receiving dozens of nearly identical versions. “A lot of that has to do with [recipes sharing] very common ingredients,” says Stephanie Pierson, who wrote in to describe her experience asking for brisket recipes.”

—Alex Mayyasi. “The Dirty Secret of ‘Secret Family Recipes’.” AtlasObscura.com. February, 27, 2018.

Insults are Free!

“Once there was a disciple of a renowned Greek philosopher who was handed an odd assignment. He was commanded by his Master to give money to everyone who insulted him for a period of three years. Wanting very much to achieve spiritual awakening, this student did exactly what he was told. Every time he was insulted, he gave money to the person who insulted him, no matter how galling the experience was.

When this rather lengthy trial was over, the Master summoned the young man to his quarters and said to him: ‘Now you can go to Athens, for you are ready to learn wisdom.’

The disciple was elated, and he set off for Athens. Just before he entered the great city, however, he saw a certain wise man sitting at the gate insulting everybody who came and went. Naturally, the moment this fellow saw the disciple he insulted him, too.

‘Hey!’ he cried out to the student, ‘How did you get to be so ugly and stupid? I have never before seen anyone as ridiculous looking as you.’

But instead of taking offense, the disciple just burst out laughing.

‘Why do you laugh when I insult you?’ asked the wise man.

‘Because,’ said the disciple, ‘for three whole years I have been paying for this kind of thing and now you give it to me for NOTHING!’

‘Enter the city,’ said the wise man. ‘It is all yours.'”

—Ward, Benedicta. tr. “The Sayings of the Desert Fathers.” Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 1984.