Ten Thoughts about This and That

Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love unstructured thought

When I talk…it's a symphony of ideas. I just tell the truth and telling the truth is crazy in a world full of lies. — Kanye West


I apologize, dear reader.

I have been a bad correspondent.

Much like Daylight Saving Time, weeks bereft of White Noise have come and gone.

I would say that I had no time, but that would be incorrect (to put it euphemistically).

Ashamedly, White Noise has not been a priority for me these past few weeks.

The truth is, I have been battling a terrible case of Writer’s Block and have failed to prioritize the time and space needed for good writing.

In the words of Edgar Allen Poe, I have been “excessively slothful.” I take solace in knowing that these kinds of torturous spells are not uncommon:

I am excessively slothful, and wonderfully industrious—by fits. There are epochs when any kind of mental exercise is torture, and when nothing yields me pleasure but solitary communion with the “mountains & the woods”—the “altars” of Byron. I thus rambled and dreamed away whole months, and awake, at last, to a sort of mania for composition. Then I scribble all day, and read all night, so long as the disease endures. — Edgar Allen Poe

In lieu of our regularly scheduled programming — a rather long post of dubious merit met with thundering silence — this week, I am trying something different.

Normally, I only write when ready. That is, when I have spent hours, days, weeks even, unearthing the structure of a piece like a paleontologist delicately brushing dirt off ancient bone.

Not this week.

To end my written drought, I present a deluge of letters, words, sentences that have tumbled from the tendrils of my mind.

What follows is an intellectual grab bag of thoughts without rhyme or reason, context or theme.

I aim for the below to be short, punchy, and informationally dense. Not dense like a physics textbook, mind you, but dense like a grandmother’s spongy poundcake.

The below is an exercise in saying “I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers.”

It is comfort with the nascency of my ideas, the feebleness of my initial opinions, and the weight (or lack thereof) of my arguments.

The below captures a list of things I’m wondering about, to which I have not arrived at a resolution.

Some are original, others are not.

Some are complex, others obvious.

Some are siloed, others a hodgepodge derived from various sources.

If derivative, I blame Picasso and his alleged axiom: “Good artists copy; great artists steal.”

And so, what follows is a bit of intellectual dreck scooped from the surface of my frothing brain.

Without further ado:

Ten Thoughts about This and That

  1. At its core, investment management is about two things: protecting assets and asses.

  2. Do flies know when they’re inside?

  3. In the age of social distancing, we ought to practice a good deal more social media distancing.

  4. Why do we refer to a dog as “fixed” upon the unnatural removal of its reproductive organs?

  5. What is the present but the immediate past? (What you’re experiencing right now—in this momenthas just slipped away, never to be encountered in real time again.)

  6. It’s incredible how clear liquids (e.g. tequila and vodka) can render thoughts, evenings, and ideas so dirty and muddled.

  7. Do we really know our parents if we only experience a tiny sliver of their lives (i.e. their time as parents)?

  8. Business is no more than spreadsheets and storytelling: presenting coherent numbers and crafting a compelling narrative.

  9. When did the Berenstein Bears legally change their name to the Berenstain Bears? (Be careful, this is a rabbit hole)

  10. What tyrannical governing body decided that every child in America would read Holes in elementary school and The Giver in middle school?

  11. A gift if you’re still with me—You don’t have to convince people, you simply have to make it impossible/scary for them to cross you off their list.


Friends of White Noise

Each week Entertainment + Tech delves into the collision an interesting way the two industries are colliding and where they might go. If you work as a media professional, it is well worth your time.

Not Pretty, Not Rich contains insightful news, novel views, and intelligent commentary about money, finance, and the economy. It's free, weekly, and very elucidating.


The Best of the Rest (Lucky Number 7 Edition)

Today I present you with seven nifty tidbits scrounged together from the interconnected smorgasbord that is the internet. Below are Four Wild Finds and Three Cathartic Covers.

Four Wild Finds

From fancy firescreens to paying in pennies, the below ought to delight, inspire, amaze, and…shock?

👖 Fifty Shades of Jeans

🍵 A Glass-Half-Full Approach to 2020

🪐 Pennies to Pluto

🐦 A Rare Victorian Firescreen with Taxidermy Hummingbirds (for a mere $351,375.84)

Three Cathartic Covers

Nothing is more refreshing than a new take on an old classic. There is something very beautiful—liberating, even—about applying one’s personal interpretation to a time-tested ballad. The delightful, delicate dance of the familiar and the new both awakens old memories and triggers original emotions. In a sense, covers glance at Saul Bellow’s incredible insight: “Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.”

Below are three covers that ought to delight your ears (if last week’s verbal portrait didn’t do the job, that is):

Shallow | Notre Dame Undertones

Dreams | Lanie Gardner

Give Me Love | Notre Dame Undertones

🎃 And lastly, a belated Happy Halloween to all!


Per my about page, White Noise is a work of experimentation. I view it as a sort of thinking aloud, a stress testing of my nascent ideas. Through it, I hope to sharpen my opinions against the whetstone of other people’s feedback, commentary, and input.

If you want to discuss any of the ideas or musings mentioned above or have any books, papers, or links that you think would be interesting to share on a future edition of White Noise, please reach out to me by replying to this email.

With sincere gratitude,

Tom