This week I have a Tiny Desk recommendation, a huge fight to get excited for this weekend, and some wisdom from Obama’s new book – “A Promised Land”.
Estimated read time – 5 minutes
A Tiny Desk Concert by Monsieur Periné
When COVID hit, I was half-way through a backpacking trip through South America. I started in Buenos Aires, headed up the west coast, and eventually got to the city of Medellin in Colombia when the world shut down.
Although I was only in Colombia briefly, I did get a taste of what the place had to offer. One thing that makes it so different from other countries in South America is that it’s a mix of Afro-Carribean and Latin American culture.
Colombia’s north coast is on the Caribbean Sea, so there’s a natural flow of people to and from the island’s. This leads to a blending of the two cultures, and creates a distinct and unique group of people.
A culture is often best expressed in its music, and Colombian beats are a delight. The Caribbean rhythm, combined with the Latin guitar and salsa vibes, makes for a sound you can’t help but dance along with.
Give it a watch and tell me what you think!
A Phenomenal Fight this Weekend
I get excited about most weekend’s line-up of fights, but I’m especially excited about a match-up going down tonight.
Tony Ferguson and Charles Oliveira are going toe-to-toe in the co-main event of UFC 256. Both are notorious for going to war every time they step into the octagon, so we should be in for a treat.
Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson (the boogeyman), is one of the most loved and feared fighters in the UFC. Everything about him is unorthodox – his fighting style, his training methods, even his instagram doesn’t make much sense until you’ve been following him for a while.
His footwork is unpredictable, his striking is awkward, and he’ll use techniques you rarely see from professional Mixed Martial Artists. It may look strange, but it’s incredibly effective. Tony Ferguson was on a 12 fight win streak until his last fight with Justin Gathje. His striking is lethal, his Jiu-Jitsu is world-class, and his cardio is endless.
As for Charles Oliveira… I could have used the same description and just changed the name. What’s so cool about this fight is how similar both these guy’s fighting styles are. Oliveira’s striking is lethal, his Jiu-Jitsu is world-class (most submissions in UFC history) and his cardio is endless. He’s on a 7-fight win streak and has the joint-most finishes of any fighter in the UFC.
The winner will likely fight for the lightweight title against either Connor McGregor or Dustin Poirier, so there couldn’t be more on the line.
I can’t wait for these two to go at it. It’ll be on at around 4am, so keep an eye out on Sunday for highlights. This could be one to remember.
Arianna Huffington on The Tim Ferriss Show
Huffington came from humble beginnings in Greece, was accepted into Cambridge University, and eventually moved to New York where she started her online newspaper – The Huffington Post. It became one of the all-time most read papers in the world, and won a Pulitzer prize in 2012 (highest award in journalism).
Arianna has now started a new company called Thrive Global, which focuses on optimising human health and happiness.
Tim is one of my favourite interviewers. He manages to set his guests at ease and his questions are always thoughtful and produce great answers. This interview with Arianna was no different. They seemed to have a great time together, and some of the wisdom she shared was deep and inspiring.
The Huffington Post was started as a platform for anyone to get their thoughts out into the world. She’d email people she respected and told them she’d publish, word-for-word, their comments on anything they wanted. She allowed people to “enter the cultural bloodstream” and take part in the conversation, which I think is awesome. So, if anyone reading this has anything they’d like to say, but don’t have a platform to say it, then send it to me and I’ll publish it on Ross Blog. Ideas are meant to be shared.
One of the incredible things about the internet is the access we’re given to some of the wisest people in the world. To be able to listen in to a conversation between two people that are so successful in their respective field’s is a genuine privilege, and I’d highly recommend tuning in to this one.
A Promised Land – Barack Obama’s New Book
I started “A Promised Land” this week, and I’m loving it. I got some feedback that I’m not a great critic, because I only have positive things to say about whatever I’m consuming. I think that’s fair. However, it could also be that I only consume good shit because I have great taste…
Regardless, I wanted to share some wisdom that Barry O has dropped so far.
A line on the first page that surprised me was “I still like writing things out in longhand, finding that a computer gives even my roughest drafts too smooth a gloss and lends half-baked thoughts the mask of tidiness”. On further digging, I found out that Obama wrote the whole of the first draft of the book by hand. It’s just over 700 pages, so he must have filled a good few notepads. I respect the hustle, Mr President. I now understand why Ross Blog is so full of half-baked thoughts.
“If I remain hopeful, it’s because I’ve learned to place my faith in my fellow citizens, especially those of the next generation, whose conviction in the equal worth of all people seems to come as second nature, and who insist on making real those principles that their parents and teachers told them were true but perhaps never fully believed themselves. More than anyone, this book is for those young people – an invitation to once again remake the world, and to bring about, through hard work, determination, and a big dose of imagination, an America that finally aligns with all that is best in us.”
It’s difficult not to be inspired by Obama’s vision. I think he genuinely did his best for the US, and it must have been such a kick in the balls for him to have to welcome Donald Trump to the White House at the end of his presidency.
And as much as he’s serious and philosophical, there’s also been a few laughs. He recounted a story where he was mobbed by a group of supporters while he was at the zoo with his daughters. On the way home, the girls came up with ideas of how he could remain incognito, including putting on a high pitched voice. When Malia explained her scheme to Michelle, she patted her on the head and said “that’s a great idea, honey, but the only way for Daddy to disguise himself is if he has an operation to pin back his ears.” Zing of the century.
It’s a great book. Obama’s a brilliant writer, and as we come into a Joe Biden Presidency, I think it will act as a map to guide the world back on track. You should read “A Promised Land”.
A Quote to Ponder
“The truth is, I’ve never been a big believer in destiny. I worry that it encourages resignation in the down-and-out and complacency among the powerful. I suspect that God’s plan, whatever it is, works on a scale too large to admit our mortal tribulations; that in a single lifetime, accidents and happenstance determine more than we care to admit; and that the best we can try to do is align ourselves with what we feel is right and construct some meaning out of confusion, and with grace and nerve play at each moment the hand we’re dealt.” – Barack Obama, A Promised Land
And a Question To Ask Yourself
Do you believe in destiny?
Thank you for reading all the way to the bottom of my weekly newsletter. I genuinely appreciate you taking an interest in what I have to say.
And I wholeheartedly mean it, if you have anything you’d like to publish, send it my way and I’ll post it on the blog.
Much love, and have a great weekend.