Are You Mine?

“Are You Mine” is a soft song. There’s a sweet sadness, a sense of vulnerability and acceptance in the song. It’s made all the more poignant by the liner notes:

“I live with my mother, who has Alzheimer’s.
In the house she’ll stop me, put her hand on my arm, and dearly ask, ”Are you mine?”
I say back to her, ”Yeah momma, i’m yours.”

The collection of salt and pepper shakers in the video, were her mother’s.”


On Altruism in the New York Times

We were sitting in Grant’s office one afternoon talking about efficiency, when he said: “The truth is, I don’t care how many articles I publish or how many words I write. Productivity is an imperfect way of indexing how much I’m contributing, how I’m using my limited time to make the most difference.”

It wasn’t until I was transcribing the conversation a few days later that I realized that when he referred to his limited time, he wasn’t just talking about a busy schedule; there was a more existential tug in the phrase. I brought it up with him by phone.

“It’s the kind of thing I almost never talk about,” Grant said. “But my responsibility is to be open.” Mortality, he said, was the one subject that gave him something like panic attacks. He had always felt that way, since he was a brainy, sensitive kid playing basketball in his driveway, staring at the sun, suddenly terrified of what would happen when it burned out. That was why he first wanted to be a scientist — before he realized biology bored him and he would never reinvent physics — so he could help figure out how to extend life, or at least design the spacecrafts that he is sure, even now, will take us to safer planets if this one runs dry. Mortality, he said, is “something I can’t fix. I can’t do anything with or about it.” He can’t let himself think about it too much; he has lost days at a time to his anxiety, “to the point that it’s the equivalent of extreme physical pain.”

Dale: Let’s start a ska band 10:35 AM
Me: Can we buy dark suits from the Goodwill and spraypaint vertical white stripes on them? 10:36 AM
Dale: Only if mine are diagonal 10:36 AM
Me: What? No way, I am the frontman. You’re playing maracas or something. 10:38 AM
Dale: I am not gonna lie. Maracas would be great in a ska band 10:39 AM
Me: K, band name? How about These Delightful Makeshift Possums. 10:48 AM
Dale: Ten Foot Squire 10:51 AM
Me: Not dramatic enough. How about Tower of Asses 11:11 AM
Dale: Sounds stinky. Walter Cronkite and the Anchors 11:14 AM
Me: Wait, aren’t we supposed to put the word SKA in the name? Making it Walter Cronkite & the Skanchors 11:15 AM
Me: How about: Delicious Beat 11:20 AM
Dale: What about Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch 11:21 AM
Me: Skanky Skank and the Skanky Bunch, and you got a deal. PS: We need to have 30 members. 11:24 AM
Me: Any ska band I’m in BETTER be larger than the audience. 11:24 AM
Dale: Large and poorly dressed. This is Ska. 11:26 AM
Me: These are good ground rules. I would suggest we add: no more than 4 Kanye West covers. 11:29 AM
Dale: That may be negotiable 11:36 AM
Me: It’s not, actually. 1:14 PM