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This post from Big Think offers some clarity, with the help of an ancient Japanese concept, about the idea of what it means to live a fulfilling life. The concept is called Ikigai, a term that according to the post can be interpreted in different ways: “to live the realization one hopes for’ or even…

Living the Dream

This post from Big Think offers some clarity, with the help of an ancient Japanese concept, about the idea of what it means to live a fulfilling life. The concept is called Ikigai, a term that according to the post can be interpreted in different ways: “to live the realization one hopes for’ or even “that which makes life worth living.” For those trying to find where they might fit in, the concept can help clarify anyone’s thinking on the subject.

Boiled down, the answers may be found by answering four simple questions: What do you love? What are you good at? What does the world need from you? What can you get paid for?

The story comes with this handy Venn diagram as well. Check it out.


Posted by Joel on April 02 2018 • Personal

Moscot Intro

A look inside the shop of a favorite brand of vintage eyeglasses, Moscot, which just turned 100.

Posted by Joel on April 25 2015 • Personal


Well known for his famous interviewing style on Inside the Actors Studio, James Lipton has always been aware of his persona. He’s also not afraid to make fun of himself; I’m a fan, which is why I like this spoof called Wordliness. (I also drive a Prius, which also makes this marketing video great fun.)

Posted by Joel on February 21 2011 • Personal

Target Field

It’s almost time for outdoor baseball once again in Minnesota! Go Twins! (I love the cameo by former Vikings coach Bud Grant)

Posted by Joel on March 27 2010 • Personal


I’ve been a Pat Metheny fan for a long time, so I was really excited to learn last year that he was working on a new project. His CD is out, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s called Orchestrion, bringing new meaning to the term one-man band. I will be there front and center when he takes the stage at the Fitzgerald Theatre on May 9.

Here is how Pat describes his new project: “This project represents a conceptual direction that merges an idea from the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the technologies of today to create a new, open-ended platform for musical composition, improvisation and performance.

“Orchestrionics” is the term that I am using to describe a method of developing ensemble-oriented music using acoustic and acoustoelectric musical instruments that are mechanically controlled in a variety of ways, using solenoids and pneumatics. With a guitar, pen or keyboard I am able to create a detailed compositional environment or a spontaneously developed improvisation, with the pieces on this particular recording leaning toward the compositional side of the spectrum. On top of these layers of acoustic sound, I add my conventional electric guitar playing as an improvised component.

“At least for me, this takes the term “solo record” into some new and interesting areas, somewhat recontextualizing the idea of what constitutes a solo performance by a single musician. This project is the result of a lifelong dream in this area that dates back to my early youth.”

Posted by Joel on February 21 2010 • Personal

The Shot of the Tournament

It’s been a very busy month, so I am sorry I haven’t posted in quite some time. Part of my time away was due to a trip to this year’s U.S. Open. This has to be the shot of the tournament; the shot of a lifetime. (I love the announcer’s line: “For his next trick he’s going to go right out there on the Hudson and walk on water.") From my favorite player, Roger Federer:

Posted by Joel on September 15 2009 • Personal

Turning 40

I turned 40 today. I’ve been thinking about my 40th birthday over the past few weeks. It’s one of those birthdays that makes one stop and take note-at least it did for me. What would I say to people should they ask me why I see it this way?

One big lesson came this week in reading about Tim Russert’s life well-lived. He was a highly visible journalist, who was great at his job and had such an impact on so many viewers. But Tim was much more. Peggy Noonan, author and former speech writer for President Reagan, reflected on the coverage of Tim’s death. She writes: “The beautiful thing about the coverage was that it offered extremely important information to those age 15 or 25 or 30 who may not have been told how to operate in the world beyond “Go succeed.” I’m not sure we tell the young as much as we ought, as clearly as we ought, what it is the world admires, and what it is they want to emulate.

“In a way, the world is a great liar. It shows you it worships and admires money, but at the end of the day it doesn’t. It says it adores fame and celebrity, but it doesn’t, not really. The world admires, and wants to hold on to, and not lose, goodness. It admires virtue. At the end it gives its greatest tributes to generosity, honesty, courage, mercy, talents well used, talents that, brought into the world, make it better. That’s what it really admires. That’s what we talk about in eulogies, because that’s what’s important. We don’t say, “The thing about Joe was he was rich.” We say, if we can, “The thing about Joe was he took care of people.”

Thinking about Tim and his life makes me appreciate those I have in my life--a loving family, wonderful co-workers, meaningful work. It shows in the way that friends at work went out of their way to make sure I had a nice birthday. Or the person who gave me a birthday gift with a card, sending a money order because I’m guessing that it came from collected tips. That kills me with love.

Perhaps turning 40 is simply an internal call to action. Living and enjoying a proper life isn’t easy, writes Noonan. It takes “guts, and self-discipline, and active attention to developing and refining a conscience to whose promptings you can respond. Honoring your calling or profession by trying to do within it honorable work, which takes hard effort, and a willingness to master the ethics of your field,” she writes. “And enjoying life. This can be hard in America, where sometimes people are rather grim in their determination to get and to have.”

Am I going to be the kind of person remembered as Tim Russert was-someone who was good to others, tried to practice his craft to the best of his abilities, and kept his priorities in order? I hope so; not in some vain way to seek adoration, but simply so others might know how much I care about them.

Posted by Joel on June 25 2008 • Personal