Thursday, November 20, 2014

World's First Hoverboard: Tony Hawk Tries It Out for Real This Time


Tony Hawk rides the world's first hoverboard from Hendo, and this time it's legit. This is really exciting news, and it makes me wonder what the future will hold. And yes, I've always wanted one of these after seeing hoverboards in Back to the Future 2 (video).



A while back, Tony did a hoverboard prank that drew lots of attention:


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Arianna Huffington's 12 Steps to Thrive


Arianna Huffington had a rough awakening when she collapsed in her office due to sleep deprivation and burnout, a lesson we can all learn from:



In her book Thrive, she lists 12 steps that you can take to fill you with energy, and make you more present:


1. Unless you are one of the wise few who already gets all the rest you need, you have an opportunity to immediately improve your health, creativity, productivity and sense of well-being. Start by getting just thirty minutes more sleep than you are getting now. The easiest way is to go to bed earlier, but you could also take a short nap during the day -- or a combination of both.


2. Move your body: Walk, run, stretch, do yoga, dance. Just move. Anytime.


3. Introduce five minutes of meditation into your day. Eventually, you can build up to fifteen or twenty minutes a day (or more), but even just a few minutes will open the door to creating a new habit -- and all the many proven benefits it brings.


4. Listening to your inner wisdom, let go of something today that you no longer need -- something that is draining your energy without benefiting you or anyone you love. It could be resentments, negative self-talk or a project you know you are not really going to complete.


5. Start a gratitude list that you share with two or more friends who send theirs to you.


6. Have a specific time at night when you regularly turn off your devices -- and gently escort them out of your bedroom. Disconnecting from the digital world will help you reconnect to your wisdom, intuition and creativity. And when you wake up in the morning, don't start your day by looking at your smartphone. Take one minute -- trust me, you do have one minute -- to breathe deeply, or be grateful or set your intention for the day.


7. Focus on the rising and falling of your breath for ten seconds whenever you feel tense, rushed or distracted. This allows you to become fully present in your life.


8. Pick an image that ignites the joy in you. It can be of your child, a pet, the ocean, a painting you love -- something that inspires a sense of wonder. And any time you feel contracted, go to it to help you expand.


9. Forgive yourself for any judgments you are holding against yourself and then forgive your judgments of others. (If Nelson Mandela can do it, you can, too.) Then look at your life and the day ahead with newness and wonder.


10. Make small gestures of kindness and giving a habit, and pay attention to how this affects your mind, your emotions and your body.


11. During your day make a personal connection with people you might normally tend to pass by and take for granted: the checkout clerk, the cleaning crew at your office or your hotel, the barista in the coffee shop. See how this helps you feel more alive and reconnected to the moment.


12. Use a skill or talent you have -- cooking, accounting, decorating -- to help someone who could benefit from it. It'll jumpstart your transition from a go-getter to a go-giver, and reconnect you to the world and to the natural abundance in your own life.


Featured image: You find the "12 Steps to Thrive" artwork here. Available in high quality if you'd like to print and frame it.

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Russell Simmons Teaches Mantra Meditation


Russell Simmons is one of many well-known people that advocate Transcendental Meditation. To my surprise, and delight, I've recently found out that he's sharing the technique, only without branding it as TM.


In his book Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All, he states in the chapter Finding Your Inner Stillness - How to Meditate the following:

Seeing that you already paid your twenty-five dollars for this book, now I'd like to throw in for free some of those "expensive" tricks they teach in the TM course. If after reading this chapter you decide that TM might make sense for you, then maybe you'll go to TM.org and sign up for the class. But what I'm going to give you now is more than enough to get started. In fact, it could be all that you'll ever need.


And this is how Russel meditate:


A lot of people ask me how to meditate, expecting it to be difficult, but it’s actually very simple. First, find a comfortable seat and set your alarm for 20 minutes. It’s very important that you are sitting comfortably. After a minute silently repeat (in your mind) the Mantra “Rum” over and over to yourself. You can do this at a fast or slow pace as you like, but repeat this mantra simply as a vibration (it has no meaning). Meditation only requires that you sit, be patient and “watch all your thoughts” as they come and go. But, you MUST be patient, patience is the key.


Don’t expect anything. You will likely lose your mantra, it will slip away and a thought will take over your mind. That’s OKAY. Finish your thought and gently go back to the mantra. In a few minutes you might experience a real calmness and if you do, your mind will notice this and rebel. But you must continue to sit and let your mind go crazy. The mind is like a monkey in a cage: When it realizes the cage will not move, it will settle. It (the mind) WILL eventually slip deeper into meditation.


Just sit, relax and repeat your mantra……. This is how you meditate.


You can also choose the mantra "Ram", which I use myself:



In the video above, Russell teaches the technique to an audience at Google.


I'd like to add something regarding my own mantra meditation practice:


  • I begin my meditation sessions with 30 seconds of silence with eyes closed.
  • Then, I start repeating the mantra effortlessly for 15-20 minutes.
  • Coming to an end, I once again sit in silence (without repeating the mantra) for 2-4 minutes before opening my eyes and resuming my daily activities.
  • No alarmclock is used. After a few sessions, your body and mind become familiar when time is up.

I can't publish this post without including Deepak Chopra's excellent talk about how to use the mantra:


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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Acrobats on the Empire State Building


These acrobats did some amazing feats up on the Empire State Building in August 21, 1934:



Several dates have been linked to this performance, however, the photograph from the Corbis archives is dated with the year '34.


Featured image: "Acrobats Jarley Smith (top), Jewell Waddek (left), and Jimmy Kerrigan (right) perform a delicate balancing act on a ledge of the Empire State Building in Manhattan." Copyright Bettmann/CORBIS.


Via @GeedonBruce.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

The Split-screen Scene in Indiscreet (1958)


This is genius filmmaking! When the movie Indiscreet came out in 1958, it wasn't accepted to even shown a married couple together in bed. To be able to film the romantic bed conversation between Cary Grant's and Ingrid Bergman's characters, film director Stanley Donen solved the dilemma by employing a split-screen effect:


As noted in a May 1958 Hollywood Citizen-News article, the film employed a split-screen effect showing Philip and Anna in their separate beds in different cities. According to the article, Donen had "two bedrooms built side by side on the sound stage, and...two separate camera and sound crews. Their operations were synchronized, but each color camera photographed only one-half of the action." Although the characters are supposed to be three hundred miles apart, the effect resulted in their appearing to be "side by side in bed." This was significant in 1958, when even married couples could not be shown together in the same bed. Because the actors could hear each other's words as they were spoken, "their emotional reactions had far more romantic impact than if the action of each split-screen half had been staged at different times." The Hollywood Reporter review describes how the act of Grant straightening his blanket in Paris appears "to conquer space by patting Bergman's London derriere." The Hollywood Citizen-News article predicted that this method "might well set a precedent for future scenes of this kind."


Via And So It Begins.

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The Leadership Style of Richard Branson and Steve Jobs



Richard Branson talks to Inc. president and editor-in-chief Eric Schurenberg about his and Steve Jobs' leadership style that differed greatly.


"I have enormous admiration for what Steve Jobs achieved, but it was a very different approach," Branson tells Inc. president and editor-in-chief Eric Schurenberg in an interview. While Branson delegates the day-to-day details to someone else high up in the company so that he can focus on the greater vision for Virgin, Jobs was the exact opposite in the way he ran Apple.


"He was very hands-on, to the extent that every little single detail of an advert he was second-guessing," Branson says. "Somehow it worked. Sometimes my rules are meant to be broken."


Jobs also was known for his brusque behavior with employees and for getting heavily involved in product development and design, something that would not be an effective leadership strategy in most other companies, according to Branson.


"He was brilliant himself at a whole variety of different things, but he was not the best delegator or the best motivator of people," Branson says. "Personally, I think his approach for the vast majority of people running companies will not work."


Featured image: Richard Branson for photographic project Fishlove.

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Be the Ball: Golf and Spirituality

The documentary Be the Ball by filmmaker Erik Anders Lang combines two of my interests in life: golf and spirituality.


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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Old Masters


The New York Time's piece Old Masters is a wonderful reading. Several men and women over the age of 80 that still are on top of their game and living very active and creative life (and why shouldn't they?), are interviewed about life, work, hindsights, the future, and so much more. Also, an essay by American writer Lewis H. Lapham.


Frederick Wiseman, filmmaker, 84:


Any advice for young filmmakers?


Marry rich.


R. O. Blechman, illustrator and author, 84:


What do you know now that you didn’t know when you were younger?


It’s important to stay with a project and not give up because it doesn’t seem to be breaking for you. Whatever it is. I’m reminded of what a Russian scientist once said: ‘‘Ice forms instantly, but the process of forming the ice is slow and invisible.’’



Carmen Herrera, painter, 99, who sold her first painting at age 89. Her work is now to be found in the Museum of Modern Art and the Tate Modern.


What was your reaction when you sold your first painting at 89?


I was never bitter. I always wished others well. I thought maybe the market would be corrupting. Without commercial success you can do what you want to do. There is freedom to be working alone. But, oh, when my work began to sell! I thought, Damn it, it’s about time!


Frank Gehry, architect, 85:


What has changed the most for you about your work since you’ve hit your 80s?


Buildings take seven years from the time you’re hired until you’re finished. There’s always that pause in my mind now when we get a new project. And then I think about it for a few minutes, and I say: ‘‘Ah, screw it! Full speed ahead.’’


Photo credit: Photographs of artist Ellsworth Kelly and painter Carmen Herrera by Erik Madigan Heck.


Via swissmiss.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story


I´m going to watch this! The documentary Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story tells the story about former U.S. Navy SEAL Christopher Beck's dramatic change of lifestyle when he came out as transgender woman Kristin Beck after retiring from the military:


Kristin served for over 20 years as a member of the elite special forces Navy SEALs on SEAL Team 1 as well as the United States Special Warfare Development Group – what many in the public refer to as SEAL Team 6. She retired in 2011 with the rank of Senior Chief and continued high-level clearance work for the United States government and the Pentagon. But Kristin hid her true identity throughout and after her service knowing she would lose it all if anyone were to know her secret. In 2013, a year and a half after retirement, Kristin came out publicly first on LinkedIn and on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 soon thereafter. Many friends, colleagues and family were taken by surprise.

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Robert Plant Turned Down Richard Branson's £500 Million Offer to Reunite with Led Zeppelin


Robert Plant turned down an offer of £500 million offered by Sir Richard Branson to reunite and tour with Led Zeppelin for 35 concerts which would take place in three cities:


"They have tried to talk [Plant] round but there is no chance," a source said. "His mind is made up and that’s that."


"Jimmy, John and Jason signed up immediately. It was a no-brainer for them but Robert asked for 48 hours to think about it. When he said no and ripped up the paperwork he had been given, there was an enormous sense of shock."


Branson is a lifelong fan of the group and was allegedly very interested in funding the tour, offering to fly the band between venues. The band last reunited in 2007 for the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert at the O2 Arena in London.


But according to Robert Plant's publicist, the story is "rubbish" (via UltimateClassicRock).


Update: Richard Branson sets the record straight.


Featured image: Led Zeppelin at Honolulu Airport in 1969. Photo by Robert Knight/Redferns. Via The Times.

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