Rutger Bregman, Winnie Byanyima slam billionaires at World Economic Forum in Davos

“I mean, it feels like I’m at a firefighters conference and no one’s allowed to speak about water, right?”

Dutch historian and writer Rutger Bregman, author of one of my favorite books, “Utopia for Realists”, and Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam, spoke truth to power at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Here’s a video clip from NowThis News.

It’s true: billionaires don’t want to talk about tax avoidance. Philanthropy is not the answer to solving inequality. It’s time for the rich to pay their fair share of taxes.

Oh, and that arrogant rich guy in the audience who angrily reacted is Ken Goldman, the former CFO of Yahoo!

Stop buying into consumerism

As an aspiring minimalist, I have definitely become less materialistic over the years, though I still have a long way to go.

Here’s a great blog post from Becoming Minimalist on how to get rid of the consumerist mindset.

“Becoming Minimalist was founded on and has remained true to one simple message: Owning less is better than pursuing more. Possessions do not equal joy—even worse, they often distract us from it.

“But to live this out on a daily basis, we must be mentally prepared to counter the pull and influence of consumerism.”

‘The Umbrella Academy’: No raining on this parade

“Life is short, and if you wanna do something, you just gotta go for it.” Funny enough, this quote is from Hazel, a temporal assassin.

Yup, that’s “The Umbrella Academy” for you.

I just finished all 10 episodes of “The Umbrella Academy”, which is based on the Dark Horse comic book series by Gerard Way. And I absolutely love this Netflix Original Series.

Here’s a The Verge review that I feel captures what makes this series so great. It’s not every show that can make you care about all the characters — even bad guys like Hazel the temporal assassin.

“Tonally, Umbrella Academy lands somewhere between Legion and The Tick in its mix of drama, action, and absurdity. The Umbrella Academy keeps some aspects of its surreal source comic, like the children being primarily raised by a robot mother (who gave them their names) and a sentient chimpanzee, and Number Five being hunted by a pair of time-traveling assassins wearing cartoon-character masks. Where the comics move at a breakneck pace, Blackman slows things down to skillfully flesh the story out.”

Estonia and the digital society

Here’s an awesome article by Kersti Kaljulaid, the president of Estonia. She is Estonia’s first female head of state.

“For some weird and unexplainable reason, people normally expect better services from private companies than from their own governments. This is not the case for our citizens in Estonia. They expect a lot from their government and are constantly demanding us to improve and innovate. Estonians expect that if the private sector is constantly innovating, the government should be, too.”

Under my umbrella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh

That’s not my LSS, though I can’t help but think of Rihanna’s song when I hear the title “The Umbrella Academy

Nope, my current LSS is actually They Might Be Giants’ cover of “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” thanks to Episode 1 of this awesome Netflix Original Series.

“The Umbrella Academy” is based on Gerard Way’s Eisner Award-winning comic book series. Way is more popularly known as the former lead vocalist of My Chemical Romance. Here’s a great interview published by The New York Times, where Way talks about how he ended up writing the comic book series.

“My initial inspiration was a few different things. I had been such a fan of the Marvel Silver Age, and I grew up reading Chris Claremont’s X-Men. Marvel characters had a lot of issues and problems, but I wanted to give them deeper, more complex problems. I was also reading Hellboy by Mike Mignola, and to me that was a postmodern horror comic. There was nothing like that for superheroes. I usually try to make things that I wish existed that I would want to listen to or read.”

Super. Dysfunctional. Family. Yup, that’s “The Umbrella Academy”.

The future according to Chinese science fiction

I’m halfway through “The Three-Body Problem” — the first book in Cixin Liu’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past science fiction trilogy — and it really lives up to the hype.

Looking forward to finishing it and exploring the works of other Chinese science fiction writers.

Here’s an excellent article on the new wave of Chinese science fiction.

“‘Some people have this sense that technology is something non-human or even inhuman. Something totally alien from us,’ Xia Jia said in an interview from Xi’an.

“Her work questions this idea. A company may have invented a robot nanny, yet the grandpa in her story bends the machine to his will — to care for his family.

“Neither entirely optimistic or pessimistic about technology, like many of her peers, Xia Jia captures its effect on Chinese society in transition and the traces of adaptation in everyday life — ‘the ideas and practices created by ordinary persons’.”

In between places, dreaming of secret spaces

I have always been in between places, and in between days.

I can certainly relate to what Haruki Murakami’s Danish translator Mette Holm was saying in this sequence in “Dreaming Murakami“.

But I think we need to find a way to translate the moments of our lives into something meaningful.

To embrace and accept everything that we experience, whether good or bad.

It’s the journey, not the destination, and I’m glad I’m traveling through life with my wife Ellen and daughter Sam, one day at a time.

What is the Zen mindset?

Can you look at things as if seeing them for the very first time?

I often say that I’m just being Zen about things, or, maybe more accurately, Zen AF. Just getting through today’s horrible Friday night traffic required being Zen. And I’m not even home yet as I write this.

But what exactly is a Zen mindset?

Here’s what an article in Psychology Today has to say about it:

“With a Zen mindset, you can allow your thoughts, feelings, and perceptions to be what they are without judgment. Circumstances and situations are just occurrences that mean nothing until we place our own subjective ideas and emotions onto them. How we choose to focus our attention shapes how we experience a given situation. We must invite our thoughts and feelings to the forefront so we can learn from their wisdom. This is very different from suppressing them or impulsively reacting to them.”

It’s easier said than done, but a Zen mindset is something we can all aspire to.

So, yes, I’m being Zen. Zen AF, but still Zen.