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> I am Clay
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August 2021

This newsletter is a collection of things I have found in the last month that I enjoyed, found interesting, or simply wanted to share.

You can follow me more closely at my personal website or if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, you can point them to my real estate website.

His Name Was Emmett Till

His Name Was Emmett Till

In 1955 an all-white, all-male jury, encouraged by the defense to do their duty as “Anglo-Saxons,” acquitted J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant. Because the defendants couldn’t be tried again, they got paid to make a confession to a national magazine—a heavily fictionalized account stage-managed by their lawyers—and Leslie Milam and his barn were written out of the story. Ask most people where Till died and they’ll say Money, Mississippi, the town where Till whistled at Bryant’s wife outside the family’s store. An Equal Justice Initiative monument in Montgomery says Money. Wikipedia does too. The Library of Congress website skips over the barn, which is just outside the town of Drew, about 45 minutes from the store.

I learned about the barn last year and have since made repeated visits, alone and with groups, once with members of Till’s family. Over and over, I drove from my home in the Mississippi hill country back into the gothic flatland where I was born. The barn’s existence conjures a complex set of reactions: It is a mourning bench for Black Americans, an unwelcome mirror for white Americans. It both repels and demands attention.

Wright Thompson’s story-telling is enviable.

Kim + Im

Two South Korean golfers will play these Olympics with everything to lose

In the pyramid of professional golf, these two 20-somethings enjoy the view from tip-top. Their careers are the envy of countless grinders out there clawing for a breakthrough. And yet, in the eyes of the South Korean government, Im and Kim are but two able-bodied men with an unpaid debt to their country.

This week, both Im and Kim will be reunited with avoidance pressure of the highest order. In anticipation of perhaps the most important tournament of their lives, both men took the extraordinary step of skipping the Open Championship to devote their entire focus to the Olympics. Can you blame them? A medal would exempt them from mandatory military service. A fourth-place finish or worse—well, they’d prefer not to think about that.

“I don’t know how…”

A Round with Tiger: Celebrity Playing Lessons – Jada Pinkett Smith

This is some weird cross between a date, an interview, a golf lesson, and motherly wisdom. Tiger’s discomfort and Jada’s conviction in explaining what his story means is freaking awesome.

Tiger leaning forward and saying, “I don’t know how…” to see that people find his journey inspiring.

Don’t miss:
– 2:23-3:20
– 9:52-11:00
– 17:57-19:35

Penniless

Why a Victoria man has gone two decades without money

His last purchases — beer, cigarettes, pot — occurred 18 years ago, he says, on his 31st birthday. He claims he hasn’t spent any money since. It’s true, his friends have told me. No money at all.

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Thanks for reading. Have a great month,

Clay

July 2021

This newsletter is a collection of things I have found in the last month that I enjoyed, found interesting, or simply wanted to share.

You can follow me more closely at my personal website or if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, you can point them to my real estate website.

Why do we like what we like?

The Lottery of Fascinations

But the thing is, I couldn’t choose to be interested in sports any more than I could choose to be interested in math or a huge sports fan could choose to be interested in psychology or a gay person could choose to be interested in women. I mean, there’s probably some wiggle room, maybe if I put a lot of effort into finding the most interesting sports and learning everything about them I could appreciate them a little. But would I have comparative advantage over the kid who memorized the stats of every pitcher in both leagues when he was 8? Barring getting hit by some kinda cosmic rays or something, I don’t think that’ll ever happen.

Lord of the Roths

How Tech Mogul Peter Thiel Turned a Retirement Account for the Middle Class Into a $5 Billion Tax-Free Piggy Bank

Open a Roth with $2,000 or less. Get a sweetheart deal to buy a stake in a startup that has a good chance of one day exploding in value. Pay just fractions of a penny per share, a price low enough to buy huge numbers of shares. Watch as all the gains on that stock — no matter how giant — are shielded from taxes forever, as long as the IRA remains untouched until age 59 and a half. Then use the proceeds, still inside the Roth, to make other investments.

Owning Artists

Would You Buy Shares in Your Favorite Musician?

The notion of selling shares in an artist in band raises many intriguing possibilities—too many to deal with here. But let me list some of them.

1. A band could sell shares in its music, with potential for spinning off ownership of individual musicians as separate tokens in the case of a breakup. One day you own shares in the Beatles, and after the band dissolves, you still control those tokens, but now receive (in a tax-free spinoff) rights to John, Paul, George and Ringo.

2. Artists could do mergers. So Beyoncé and Jay Z decide one day to issue a combined token. They both enjoy some diversification benefits, and help cement their relationship at the same time.

3. Artists would be free to issue new shares, provided the cash or benefits received are shared equably among current owners. The end result would be like different stages in venture capital financing. I can already imagine the conversations on Sand Hill Road: “Hey, our firm got into Olivia Rodrigo in the first round, for ten cents a token—and we’re now issuing new tokens at two bucks.”

4. When artists run into career problems, they could turn to their powerful billionaire owners for help in resolving them. Consider it as the digital age equivalent of Johnny Fontaine in The Godfather, who gets Don Corleone to make an “offer that can’t be refused” to a stubborn movie mogul. In fact, the whole relationship between Frank Sinatra and the Mafia might be considered as a prototype for the artist tokenization business.

5. Fans would have endless opportunities for demonstrating their loyalty. In the old days, they could buy every album by a favored artist, but in a tokenized world the bar is raised considerably. Even accumulating, say, a 1% stake in second-tier musician might take years of scrimping and saving.

6. Artists would face the complex financial trade-offs all corporations need to address. Do they give away earnings as dividends to token holders, or invest the money in future projects? The older the musician, the greater the pressure to distribute the profits.

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Do not hesitate to reply to this months email to share links, wisdom, or thoughts.

Thanks for reading. Have a great month,

Clay

June 2021

This newsletter is a collection of things I have found in the last month that I enjoyed, found interesting, or simply wanted to share.

You can follow me more closely at my personal website or if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, you can point them to my real estate website.

Have you had enough pi?

How Many Decimals of Pi Do We Really Need?

For JPL’s (NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) highest accuracy calculations, which are for interplanetary navigation, we use 3.141592653589793. Let’s look at this a little more closely to understand why we don’t use more decimal places. I think we can even see that there are no physically realistic calculations scientists ever perform for which it is necessary to include nearly as many decimal points as you present.

[…]

[Earth] is 7,926 miles in diameter at the equator. The circumference then is 24,900 miles. That’s how far you would travel if you circumnavigated the globe (and didn’t worry about hills, valleys, obstacles like buildings, rest stops, waves on the ocean, etc.). How far off would your odometer be if you used the limited version of pi above? It would be off by the size of a molecule. There are many different kinds of molecules, of course, so they span a wide range of sizes, but I hope this gives you an idea. Another way to view this is that your error by not using more digits of pi would be 10,000 times thinner than a hair!

Hold the Booze

The Economics of Non-Alcoholic Spirits

One big reason for the higher price? Even though water is cheaper than alcohol, it’s less effective at carrying flavors. Ethanol is an exceptionally good solvent for capturing aroma compounds. These get released when poured into a glass, sipped or mixed with ice or a cocktail, which is what enables the sensory intensity and complexity of distilled spirits.

Alcohol offers so many advantages for flavor extraction and retention that many, if not most non-alcoholic spirits use it at some point in the process, either as a base of distillation that is later removed or as a tincture added in trace amounts to the nearly finished product.

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Do not hesitate to reply to this months email to share links, wisdom, or thoughts.

Thanks for reading. Have a great month,

Clay

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