Thoroughly Thursday - the "Be Cool" Edition


Welcome back to Thoroughly Thursday, the "Be Cool" edition.

When I was a kid, being cool was synonymous with being popular or sexy (Fonzie always had a way with the ladies). Now, I take being cool as a certain kind of comfort in one's surroundings coupled with a person's self-possession and confidence (like Justin Trudeau or every character ever played by Idris Elba or Judi Dench). 

What I'm Reading - Maybe I'll Have Another Drink While Sleuthing
When it comes writers that people think are cool, it gets a little thick with possibilities. Obviously, you can't say "cool" without thinking of the Beats (Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Kinsey, Watts, etc.). However, I've been re-reading the novel "The Thin Man" by Dashiell Hammett (later made into a movie with William Powell and Myrna Loy). The characters of Nick and Nora Charles always struck me as a certain epitome of cool. Nick, a former private detective, and his socialite wife Nora trade witty banter, host parties and, yes, solve crimes during their Christmas vacation

WARNING: You will be tempted to drink lots of martinis while reading. Most of the short scenes include characters making, drinking, refilling and re-refilling their drinks over a handful of conversations. It's one of the few books where "let's have a drink before breakfast" is said without a nod to AA. Let alone solve a murder, I'm not really sure how they actually continue standing upright

What I'm Watching - Will Stop Playing Trumpet for Cocaine
What happens when the world thinks you’re past your prime, an icon that is both revered and pitied at the same time? Worse yet, you’re not entirely sure they are wrong. In the late 1970’s, Miles Davis did go through a fallow period: addicted, burned-out, hounded by creditors and fans alike, isolated and searching for the next inspiration. Donald Cheadle uses this period as a backdrop for his film “Miles Ahead”. Cheadle’s impression of Davis feels spot-on throughout, with both his cocky assuredness and crippling self-doubt. Emayatzy Corinealdi, who plays Ruby, is both gorgeous and carries the emotional heart of the film.  However, the general (largely apocryphal) plot which centers around a stolen session tape that Davis is determined to recover feels often ridiculous and over-wrought. At a certain point, I felt I understood why Davis may want to recover it, but entirely confused why anyone would be willing to die in a firefight over it. 

What I'm Listening to - Pop Art's Trinity of Cool
Though rock and roll has always worked to define "cool" in popular culture, the Velvet Underground were in a class by themselves. Dark and morose during the Summer of Love, The Velvets never had a large following, but Brian Eno once said that everyone who bought the Velvets' first record started a band. I'm actually a big fan of V.U. bandmates Lou Reed and John Cale's album "Songs for Drella" a musical biopic about icon and Velvet's producer, Andy Warhol.

What I'm Thinking About -  Whitmanesque is a word, right?
“Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes."

- Walt Whitman (2016). “Song of Myself: With a Complete Commentary”, p.172, University of Iowa Press

All the best, and remember, tomorrow is Friday. :)

Scott Moe

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P.P.S. If you're interested in catching my panel for USC Alumni's Entrepreneur’s Journey: Hire or Fire? Building a High-Performance Team event on January 30th you can you can register here