culture (7)

Norman Castle with Underground Springs in San Francisco

Kirsten Dirksen amd Nicolás Boullosa continue their amazing and prodigious coverage of “…simple living, self-sufficiency, small (and tiny) homes, backyard gardens (and livestock), alternative transport, DIY, craftsmanship and philosophies of life.”

I can’t believe how many videos Kirsten has made and photos Nicolás has shot, it seems like they post videos and photos weekly. All stuff I’m interested in.

This one really got me because I’m a native San Franciscan, and never dreamed of a place like this in the city.

Check out

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Taylor Swift’s Concert Film

I went to see Taylor Swift’s concert film out of curiosity yesterday, and was, excuse the expression, blown away. What an immense talent!

The songs are good, the singing is good, and there’s joyousness and friendliness throughout.

She’s adorable, slyly sexy, wholesome, and having a ton of fun. You can see why her fans relate to her.

Notable is her rapport with her dancers and the band; they obviously love each other. And the dancers are not of the usual lithe and buffed and perfect variety, but rather normal looking people of all body types.

I didn’t expect to stay for the entire 2½ hours, but I was riveted.

And seeing something on a 50-foot screen (as opposed to these dinky little phone images) is a treat.

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Is This Cosmic or What?

Sunday morning I wanted to give Lukas a break, so set off on foot in search of coffee and adventure.

Wasn’t finding a cool coffee shop, when a guy walked up and said “Lloyd!” … in a city of 3½ million people.

Bernd Lützelberger was a carpenter, a fan of our books, and we went to very cool espresso bar and hung out for a while.

Then off on my own, It was a quiet Sunday morning, and the good city vibes were extraordinary.

There is somehow a feeling of freedom in Berlin. Go figure.

Lukas came along with his bike and 4-year-old high-energy daughter Luna and we walked along waterways and in parks; I totaled seven miles that day.

Brought to mind JFK’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” of 1963 in what was then West Berlin.

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Ich bin ein Berliner


I’m — pardon the expression — blown away by this city of 3½ million people, with its distinctly good vibes, say like Ojai, Calif., where you feel it as soon as you come into town. But here it’s on a huge scale, it’s pretty flat, trees in all streets, dozens of lakes with clear water that people swim in, multi-ethnic in food and everything else, somehow a feeling of creative freedom…

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Fanjingshan Skytop Buddhist Temples in Southeastern China

China’s Guizhou province peering over at Mount Fanjing. Rising more than 100 meters above the surrounding landscape, visitors will need to climb almost 9,000 steps to reach the summit. Look closely at the image and you can see how the stairs wind up and around stone outcroppings and through a gorge.

The buildings you see perched at the top are two Buddhist temples — the Temple of the Buddha and the Temple of Maitreya — linked by a small footbridge.

Located in Tongren, Guizhou province, southeastern China, the highest peak of the Wuling Mountains, at 8,430 feet.

More info:

From Lew Lewandowski

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Wonderful Houses Around the World

Yesterday I read in the paper that sales of children’s books are booming, due to schools being closed. This brought to mind our one and only children’s book, Wonderful Houses Around the World, by photographer Yoshio Komatsu and artist Akira Nishiyama.

There are 10 photographs by Yoshio of homes in different parts of the world. All the homes are built of natural materials — earth, wood, thatch, sod, bamboo, and stone.

Each photo is followed by a watercolor drawing of the inside of that home, showing the children and their parents going about their everyday activities: food gathering and processing, cooking, sleeping, working and playing.

The book is timely in this day and age: it shows what people do in their homes. Timely also because it’s great educational material for kids being home-schooled: look at what what kids your age are doing in other parts of the planet.

Yoshio is my favorite photographer of homes in the world. Not only are the homes invariably soulful, but his composition and lighting are perfect — and he has a knack for making people feel comfortable, so that the homeowners look natural, often laughing.

The book is $12.95 and you can order it through your independent bookstore, or from:

Note: We have a money-back guarantee on all of our books (no matter where you buy them). If for any reason you are dissatisfied, call us and we’ll return the full purchase price plus shipping. No need to return the book.

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Dunbar’s Number

Dunbar’s number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships — relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person. This number was first proposed in the 1990s by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who found a correlation between primate brain size and average social group size. By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he proposed that humans can comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships. Dunbar explained it informally as ‘the number of people you would not feel embarrassed about joining uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar.’

Evan and I were just talking about the great podcasts of Chris Ryan, and he mentioned that Chris and Joe Rogan often refer to this number.

A lot of wonkiness on the subject (and a few fascinating factoids in “Popularisation”) in Wikipedia:

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