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Angela Lee and MMA’s project to crack the $18tn-plus Asian market

The Canadian fighter is a heart-pounding talent, and could become a huge star in countries where martial arts are a huge part of the culture

Angela Lee wants people to think of her as a typical young woman, but thats difficult to accept considering what shes already done.

Im a normal person who happens to be a fighter and a world champion, Lee, 20, tells the Guardian. The Canadian-born, Hawaii-raised fighter says this with a giggle and undeniable sincerity. Many people in her life, including those who make money off her, paint a picture of an athlete poised to breakout big in Asia her father is from Singapore and her mother is South Korean at a time when the continent is beginning to follow mixed martial arts in ways it was unable to before.

Asian audiences are just now starting to engage in Asian content. All weve ever had access to was North American and European content. We were not prolific in producing quality Asian content. Im talking world-class content. Sports or soap operas, its very new, said promoter Victor Cui, the CEO International of ONE Championship, an MMA promotion focused on building stars such as Lee in Asia. The way I look at it is this: Asia is very used to seeing global icons in martial arts, like Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Seeing a talented female martial artist is not something foreign in Asia, which is why I think Angela is so readily accepted.

I dont think theres a ceiling to Lees potential, added Cui, a former ESPN executive.

Lee, who is unbeaten seven fights into her professional MMA career, deserves at least a mention alongside the most heart-pounding prospects in the sport. Lee captured the championship belt in ONEs atomweight division last year, and after defending it for the first time in March she is positioned to become the first breakout fighter of Asian descent in many years, with the potential for widespread fame looming.

At the start of Lees career in Asia she was quizzed on her background and heritage. Soon she learned how to respond. She was half-Korean, half-Chinese Singaporean, she told people, born in Canada and raised in Hawaii. Thats kind of a mouthful, Lee explained, but as the media and fan bases in different parts of Asia began to understand her story they quickly accepted her. Im a mix of everything and I think thats a plus. It gives me more experience culturally knowing that Ive been to these different places around the world.

Lee was also shaped by the women pioneers who came before her Gina Carano, Cris Cyborg and Ronda Rousey. It made me want to pursue this even more, Lee said. I was training and competing and seeing them do their thing on TV and being able to travel and do what they love, it just really inspired me. I never had a thought in my mind that I wasnt going to make it.

My great grandma actually watches the fights. Shes not scared of anything. I think thats why it kind of runs in our blood in my family. Were all fighters in some sense.

Unlike Carano, Cyborg and Rousey, from her earliest experiences in martial arts Lee was molded as a competitor with a full arsenal. That foundation produced a dynamic and aggressive fighter, who to this point has sought to finish her opponents in a variety of ways.

Coming from a martial arts family and being introduced to the sport at such a young age, I just kind of grew up in it, Lee said. This is all I kind of knew. Martial arts is a huge part of my life it always has been. I didnt have a second option when it came to career choice. I didnt see myself being a teacher or a doctor or something like that. I knew I wanted to do something MMA related.

Observers of mixed fighting have anticipated an emergence of young competitors who would be well versed in all aspects of MMA from striking to wrestling from the moment they first stepped into the cage. Lee is certainly an example of that, and her talent has been a boon to ONE Championship. The promotion, a partner to the Singaporean government, signed Lee ahead of her professional debut in 2015 and quickly doubled down with a contract that made Lee among the highest paid female fighters in MMA.

My advantage is that from the beginning I learned mixed martial arts as a whole, Lee said. You can see it from the transition from the standup to the ground and everything in between.

Because of Lee and their stable of 450 fighters, ONE has experienced explosive growth over the past five years, claiming between 10 to 50 times the exposure in Asia compared to the industry leading UFC.

We have been more fortunate in that there is one common denominator in our world, which is martial arts, said Cui. Its the only sport that is truly Asian. Its been the home of martial arts for the last 5,000 years. Every country we go to at its core has some form of martial arts that theyre fiercely proud of.

So we actually go into a country and we dont need to teach anybody that sport, whereas if we were bringing ice hockey to every country we would need to teach them who the Edmonton Oilers were everywhere we go. But whether youre a five-year-old kid or a 105-year-old grandmother you know what the best martial artists are like and when two people come together theres nothing to explain.

Considering MMAs business model is less than a quarter century old, the potential for Asia to challenge UFCs dominance should not be dismissed.

Were at the very early days, literally scratching the surface of what the opportunity is, Cui said. I think youre going to see more and more our content and TV ratings starting to dominate because of the combination of our live broadcast, the sport, our local heroes and the simplicity of the rules. If we continue to to exponentially grow on social media with content, man, for us to hit a billion impressions in the first quarter and it took us a year last year I was really shocked.

The potential audience in Asia has Cui most excited. During a panel discussion on Asias entrepreneurs earlier this month in Los Angeles, Cui noted that China was poised to spend $18tn on sports in the next 20 years. In 2016, Cui moved his office from Singapore to Shanghai to focus on developing their Chinese business.

The advantage with Asia is the rest of the world does want to see who the next Bruce Lee is, Cui said. They want to see who the next Asian athlete is [in combat sports]. There is a legitimate interest among fans to see what Asians are going to be the best in the world. Thats not common in any other sport. No one is waiting for the next Chinese champion in tennis.

In March, Lee visited Shanghai to conduct a workshop with Nike. Unlike in the US, where big brands have remained reticent to fully support MMA especially after embarrassing mishaps with the likes of troubled former UFC champion Jon Jones that prompted Nike to pull back from MMA in North America the Asian side of the business has been ripe for promotion. Disneys Marvel, for example, partnered with ONE Championship to launch its films to Asian audience.

Lee is also a big plus for any promotion intending to make inroads in Asia. [Brands] are much more inclined to have an Angela Lee working with them, said Cui. If she was fluent in Chinese that would be amazing.

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This Twitter Account’s Predictions About the Future Are Always Right, and No One Knows Why

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In Trump attacks, Hillary Clinton finds her voice

Riverside, California (CNN)As she has trudged toward the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton has struggled to find a message that could impassion her Democratic voters the way her rival Bernie Sanders has.

But that changed this week in California when she turned her full attention to Donald Trump. With the brash real estate magnate as her full-time foil, Clinton finally seemed to find her voice.
    In speech after speech across the Golden State, Clinton delivered a fiery, point-by-point takedown of the real estate magnate, casting him as a greedy bully who was eager to profit from the financial woes of the middle class Americans who lost homes and jobs in the 2008 economic crash.
    “I will continue to stand up and speak out against what he says — the kinds of positions and policies he’s putting forward, the way he treats people, how divisive he is,” Clinton said Wednesday in Buena Park.
    It could be a key turning point for her campaign. Her supporters and donors have been baffled for months about her inability to vanquish Sanders, given her influence and the depths of her support in the Democratic Party. Recent polls have shown Trump closing in on Clinton in potential general election matchups — raising the level of alarm about her ability to focus on the general election campaign.
    But while Clinton may have momentarily found her stride, fresh controversies like the one that emerged Wednesday — the State Department Inspector General report saying she failed to follow the rules or inform key department staff regarding her use of a private email server — could quickly knock her back off message.

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    Though the former secretary of state has not yet clinched the magic number of delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination, she campaigned here as though Sanders’ campaign was the farthest thing from her mind.
    Her singular focus on Trump was most striking when she campaigned a few miles from Sanders in Riverside Tuesday, but never mentioned him. Delivering a speech that sent a jolt of electricity through the initially subdued crowd, she vowed not to let Trump go unanswered.
    Targeting Trump’s image as a champion for the little guy as a fraud, Clinton pounded Trump repeatedly for comments that he made in 2006 in a Trump University audiobook where he said he “sort of” hoped that predictions of looming housing market crash were accurate. If the bubble burst, “you can make a lot of money,” he said.
    “Why on earth would we elect somebody president who actually rooted for the collapse of the market?” she said with indignation in Riverside as the crowd roared their approval and chanted her name. “The fact is Donald Trump thought he could make money off of people’s misery.”
    In Orange County on Wednesday, Clinton also cast Trump as “a divider” who has denigrated women, Muslims and people with disabilities. Keying off his raucous event in New Mexico on Tuesday night, she specifically called him out for attacking Gov. Susana Martinez.

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    Top campaign aides, in discussions with Clinton, have settled on a strategy of responding to Trump with policy-focused attacks while casting him as someone who has no idea what real Americans actually want.
    Clinton will not, aides say, respond to Trump’s personal attacks, particularly about her husband’s marital indiscretions.
    Clinton’s surrogates have gotten behind that message, taking on Trump’s business dealings and painting him as a selfish and callous self-promoter. On Wednesday, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren leveled a series of Twitter attacks on Trump, but one stuck out to Clinton’s aides.
    “I fight for working families every day, @realDonaldTrump,” Warren tweeted. “You fight only for Donald Trump.”

    Sanders: It’s not over

    As the contours of the potential Trump-Clinton matchup take shape, Sanders is making his last stand here in California before voters cast ballots on June 7, which will mark the end of the primary season.
    Though they acknowledge that Sanders’ path to victory is a narrow one, the young, diverse, passionate supporters flocking to his events have a very clear message for Clinton: It’s not over.
    “When there are large voter turnouts we win,” Sanders said at his Riverside event this week. “We are going to be running up and down this beautiful state. We are going to be speaking to over 200,000 Californians … We are going to win here in California.”

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    He asked the largest state in the nation to tell “the entire world” that “California believes in the political revolution.”
    Most striking at Sanders’ events, however, is how much work Clinton may have ahead of her to win over his followers — and how much frustration they feel at what they see as condescension from her campaign.
    That was emblematic in a T-shirt that some Clinton backers were wearing this week as the Democratic candidates campaigned across town from one another. “Spoiler Alert,” the shirt said. “Clinton wins.”
    “She’s not a trustworthy person to vote for,” said Yasmeen Dabbos, a 20-year-old second-year anthropology student at UC Riverside as she waited to enter Sanders’ event. “I didn’t like her from the beginning and I feel like people wanted her there just because they thought she was the only option. But I always felt like there was someone else who could beat her, and Bernie obviously filled that position.”
    While Dabbos plans to volunteer for Sanders, she said would never put in that kind of effort for Clinton.
    “I would just cast my ballot, that’s all I could do for her,” Dabbos said. Even then, she added, it would be more of a vote against Trump.
    President Barack Obama, himself familiar with a long, drawn-out primary, called it “a grind” when asked about it during a news conference in Japan Thursday.
    “I guarantee you the eventual nominee sure wishes it was over now, because this is a grind,” he said. “It’s hard. And in some ways, one of the things I’ve always found is that it’s a lot more draining arguing against your friends than it is arguing against your political opponents. It weighs on you more. Being criticized by folks in your own party always hurts just a little bit more.”

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    Mother Mushroom: how Vietnam locked up its most famous blogger – The Guardian


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    They are the words of one of Vietnam's most influential bloggers — known by her online pseudonym, Mother Mushroom — minutes before she was handed the shock sentence of a decade in prison. Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh directed her defiant comments at …

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    John Berger: ‘If I’m a storyteller it’s because I listen’

    On the eve of his 90th birthday, one of the most influential writers of his generation talks about migration, Brexit, growing old and his fondness for texting

    On 5 November, John Berger will turn 90. As I travel to Paris to meet him, I carry a bagful of books. There are recently published art historical writings, Portraits, and, to coincide with his 90th birthday, Landscapes (judiciously selected by Tom Overton for Verso), a fascinating series of encounters with the thinkers who have mattered to Berger, from Brecht and Walter Benjamin to Rosa Luxemburg. A marvellous miscellany of more recent work, Confabulations, has just been published by Penguin, and A Jar of Wild Flowers: Essays in Celebration of John Berger(including tributes from Ali Smith, Sally Potter and Julie Christie) is coming soon from Zed books.

    The homage continues on film in The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger, shot during his late 80s a collage of informal conversation and political discussion, with offerings by Tilda Swinton, the writer and producer Colin MacCabe and others. It was shot in the hamlet in Haute-Savoie, in the French Alps, where Berger lived for more than 40 years. These jostling admirers show not only that the man is greatly loved, but an intellectual indebtedness behind the wish to say thank you. Critic, novelist, poet, dramatist, artist, commentator and, above all, storyteller Berger was described by Susan Sontag as peerless in his ability to make attentiveness to the sensual world meet imperatives of conscience. His book Ways of Seeing, and the 1972 BBC television series based on it, changed the way at least two generations responded to art. And his writing since then especially about migration has changed the way many of us see the world.

    Berger now lives in Antony, a suburb seven miles outside Paris, where he stays with his old friend Nella Bielski, an actor and writer who grew up in the Soviet Union. They open the door together, and as we sit down to lunch, she turns to me and says: The thing you have to understand about John is that he is not interested in talking about himself. While the chorus of approval gets louder on this side of the Channel, he is, unlikely as this might sound, barely aware of any fuss brewing. When I produce a proof of A Jar of Wild Flowers, he turns it over in his hands in delighted surprise. That is a drawing by Melina, he exclaims, surveying the flowers with spindly stems on the cover, my granddaughter. He gets up from the table and returns with an oil portrait, the size of a sheet of A4 paper. It is of an ageless face and yet Melina is only 13. (Berger has three children Katya, Jacob and Yves and five grandchildren.) He props it next to us and we look at her, as if she had joined us for lunch. If you ask me who I am, Berger says, Id like to see myself through her eyes, in the way she looks at me. Her stare is disconcertingly level. She looks, we agree, as if she knows more than she could possibly know or have seen.

    The
    The painting of his granddaughter, Melina, 13, by Jules Linglin, of which Berger says: If you ask me who I am, Id like to see myself through her eyes. Photograph: Jules Linglin/Kate Kellaway

    There are two things that are wonderful about this moment. The first is the reminder that Berger is as interested as ever in ways of seeing; that he still has the ability to give himself the slip, to turn perception into an out-of-body experience. And second, it is characteristic that he is keen to champion the young artist who painted his granddaughter. Fetch me a piece of card from that side table, he says. He writes in his not-quite-steady, attractively looping hand: Jules Linglin. He is going to be very well known one day, he declares, handing the card back to me.

    In spite of his wish to be seen through his granddaughters eyes, it is Berger himself I now observe. He is smallish, but his face is big handsomely hewn, with blue eyes and thick white hair. I have recently watched Ways of Seeing on YouTube, and it is extraordinary how commanding the four episodes still are. Berger had no time for ivory towers his way of seeing was radical. Forty-four years ago he was a charismatic presence, looking into the camera with piercing eyes and a frequent frown, as if constantly on the edge of disagreeing with himself. The look was fitting because what the series did was to make people rethink. He never ducked difficulty: he described, for instance, how women, in traditional painting, were there to feed an appetite, not to have any of their own. Unlike Kenneth Clarks patrician Civilisation(1969), Ways of Seeing was never overbearing. In each episode, Berger sports the same groovy shirt with a geometric brown design on a cream background. His voice is clear and emphatic and fudges its Rs. His final words in the series are: What Ive shown, and what Ive said must be judged against your own experience. That is what everything he has written asks us to do.

    For me, Berger will always be the author of To the Wedding a moving, unexpectedly affirmative novel about Aids, in which truth pursued fiction because he discovered only after he had started writing it that his daughter-in-law was HIV-positive. When I was a Booker judge in 1995, it was, out of 141 contenders, the novel I most wanted to win although it possibly made for a quieter life that it didnt. Berger famously gave away half his Booker prize money to the Black Panthers in 1972, when G, his postmodern novel about an Italian philanderers political coming-of-age, secured the prize. A lifelong Marxist (although never a member of the Communist party), he disapproved of Booker McConnells historical association with indentured labour in the Caribbean. The other half of the money went to funding Bergers book, A Seventh Man, with the photographer Jean Mohr, about European migrant workers a work he has since said is the one he would most like to survive him. Apparently, one of the Black Panthers went with him to the Booker ceremony and repeatedly advised him to keep it cool.

    And now Berger is looking at my proof copy of Confabulations a miscellany of his essays and drawings (he went to the Chelsea School of Art as a young man, studying under Henry Moore, and taught there before being hired as the New Statesmans art critic). We consider his lively sketch of half a dozen topsy-turvy mushrooms. Underneath, in his hand, is written: See you later, Omelette People forget that Berger is funny. And curious. And that he listens how he listens. Over lunch, the small talk is of artichokes and an incredible Georgian dish involving walnuts, but this then leads Nella to talk about Bergers American wife, Beverly Bancroft (mother of Yves; the older children are from an earlier marriage), who died in 2013, and of her artistry as a gardener. This makes me think of the most moving scene in The Seasons in Quincy, in which Berger urges Tilda Swintons teenage twins to pick raspberries because Beverly loved them. Berger suggests the twins gather photos of Beverly and they go ahead and make a sort of homemade shrine and eat bowlfuls of raspberries alongside it. Your pleasure will give her pleasure, Berger tells them. Towards the end of lunch, Nella whispers to me, in an aside, that she has nicknamed her Parisian house Hotel Spinoza after Bergers favourite 17th-century philosopher. His book Bentos Sketchbook (2011) was inspired by Spinoza, whose day job was as a lens grinder. Like his hero, Berger prefers not to distinguish between the physical and spiritual. Spinozas vision, he now tells me, is that all is indivisible.

    After lunch we move into his study, a den of paintings, a place of light, its windows thrown wide, looking on to trees. He tries to make himself comfortable on the white sofa, an arthritic back giving him trouble. As a writer, Berger has that rare and wonderful gift of being able to make complex thoughts simple. He once said, in a BBC interview with Jeremy Isaacs, that he likes, in all his work, to follow the advice of the photographer Robert Capa: When the picture is not good enough, go closer His eye for detail remains unrivalled and consistently surprising (think of his irresistible observation that cows walk as if they were wearing high heels). Reading him is like standing at a window perhaps a bit like the window of this study with no one blocking the view. The way I observe comes naturally to me as a curious person Im like la vigie the lookout guy on a boat who does small jobs, maybe such as shovelling stuff into a boiler, but Im no navigator absolutely the opposite. I wander around the boat, find odd places the masts, the gunwale and then simply look out at the ocean. Being aware of travelling has nothing to do with being a navigator.

    Berger was born in Stoke Newington, north London. His father, Stanley, was a Hungarian migr who came from Trieste via Liverpool to London and was much affected by the first world war, in which he served as an infantry officer and was awarded the Military Cross. He loved painting and was self-taught (paternal conscience led him, when he found John reading Joyces Ulysses, to confiscate the book, along with five others, and lock them up in his safe). In Colin MacCabes film for The Seasons in Quincy, Berger instructs Tilda Swinton (a friend for more than 20 years) on how to quarter and peel apples in the way his father used to do, and affectionately remembers how his father wanted him to be a lawyer, a doctor, an English gentleman.

    Berger
    Berger with Tilda Swinton in The Seasons in Quincy.

    Bergers mother, Miriam, came from Bermondsey, south London (her father worked in the docks and looked after brewery dray horses). She had been a suffragette and, Berger has said, was a very mysterious person, very secretive. But she was not secretive about her ambition that her son would one day become a writer. Berger prefers to avoid talking about his boarding school, St Edwards, Oxford, which he once described as lunatic and with sadism, torture, bullying an absolutely monstrous place, a little totalitarian system. He was sent there aged six and ran away at 16. Was it at school he first understood that the world was unjust? I learnt even earlier, he replies, at about five. And he pauses and I wait. It is like watching a fisherman pulling on a line: My mother to make money to send me to school made biscuits, sweets and chocolate to sell. I didnt see much of her as she was always in the kitchen, working. But once I was in the kitchen and a young man on a bicycle came in and asked for two bars of chocolate. She picked them up, told him the price and he said: Oh, forgive me, Ive not got this money, theyre too expensive for me, and walked out without any chocolate. And I was enormously struck by this incident. I did not judge. I did not judge my mother nor did I judge him for not having enough money. He pauses, I was just waiting for Karl Marx, and he laughs.

    In his essay Impertinence (in Confabulations), he describes the New Zealand governess (pre-school) who used to banish him into what she called the Cry Cupboard whenever he wept. Sometimes his mother would come upstairs to see how he was doing and cheer him along with a box of her chocolate fudge. School, rather than confronting me with something, confirmed something I already felt because, from a very early age, I had this sense of harshness and the need for endurance.

    In 1944 he joined up, refusing a commission with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire light infantry, and became a lance corporal at a training camp. He preferred the company of working-class recruits, for whom he became a scribe, writing their letters home. In a sense, he has continued to do this all his life: telling other peoples stories lest they vanish. In a conversation with Susan Sontag, he once said: A story is always a rescuing operation. And he has also said (in The Seasons in Quincy): If Im a storyteller its because I listen. For me, a storyteller is like a passeur who gets contraband across a frontier.

    In his 1975 book A Seventh Man, about migration, the rescuing impulse is clear. Berger writes in the preface: To outline the experience of the migrant worker and to relate this to what surrounds him both physically and historically is to grasp more surely the political reality of the world at this moment. The subject is European, its meaning is global. Its theme is unfreedom. When he considers todays refugee crisis no longer confined to Europe does he see the first world as suffering from a failure of imagination? There is another extended pause, like a ravine into which one might fall. Eventually he replies: What two different people have in common will always, in all cases, be larger than what differentiates them. And yet for dozens of different reasons, circumstances blind people to that.

    And what does he think about Brexit? He leans back on the sofa (we have now shifted from the overheated study into a cooler parlour, a sofa crawl in operation) and admits it has always been important to him to define himself as European. He then attempts to describe what he sees as the bigger picture: It seems to me that we have to return, to recapitulate what globalisation meant, because it meant that capitalism, the world financial organisations, became speculative and ceased to be first and foremost productive, and politicians lost nearly all their power to take political decisions I mean politicians in the traditional sense. Nations ceased to be what they were before. In Meanwhile (the last essay in Landscapes) he notes that the word horizon has slipped out of view in political discourse. And he adds, returning to Brexit, that he voted with his feet long ago, moving to France.

    John
    John Berger c1962, the year he moved to France. Photograph: Peter Keen/Getty Images

    We talk about what it is for a person to adopt a foreign country as home, and about how it is possible to love a landscape like a familiar face. For Berger, that face is the Haute-Savoie. This is the landscape I lived in for decades [he left only after Beverly died; his son Yves still lives there with his family]. It matters to me because during that time, I worked there like a peasant. OK, dont lets exaggerate. I didnt work as hard as they did but I worked pretty hard, doing exactly the same things as the peasants, working with them. This landscape was part of my energy, my body, my satisfaction and discomfort. I loved it not because it was a view but because I participated in it.

    He explains: The connection between the human condition and labour is frequently forgotten, and for me was always so important. At 16, I went down a coal mine in Derbyshire and spent a day on the coal face just watching the miners. It had a profound effect. What did it make you feel? Respect, he says quietly. Just respect. There are two kinds. Respect to do with ceremony what happens when you visit the House of Lords. And a completely different respect associated with danger. He says: This is not a prescription for others, but when I look back on my life I think its very significant I never went to a university. I refused to go. Lots of people were pushing me and I said, No. I dont want to, because those years at university form a whole way of thinking. And you feel free from that? Yes.

    Berger fittingly, given his work with peasants means shepherd in French. Do the French see him as one of their own? My writing in France has not had a huge impact. The countries where Im most read are Spain, Latin American and until recently, oddly, Turkey and Italy. Nor has he lived up to his surname, except Ive occasionally taken a ewe on heat in the back of my 2CV to meet a ram. I say we dont call that shepherding, we call that something else. He laughs. He is a man of action: until a few months ago he was (a most dashing octogenarian) still riding a motorbike. Nella tells me they hope it wont be long before he rides again and swims. Berger is a keen swimmer and, in Confabulations, writes brilliantly about the democracy of swimming people stripped of telltale trappings, doing their lengths. When you are swimming, he says, you become almost weightless, and that weightlessness has something in common with thought. There is also a wonderful account in Bentos Sketchbook of a friendship he strikes up with a Cambodian woman who shares the same Parisian swimming pool. She gives him a painting of a bird and, he maintains, teaches him something about homelessness.

    As he nudges closer to 90, Berger feels his own way of seeing has changed surprisingly little, although, he points out, technology has changed the way younger generations explore art. He admits, then, to his enthusiasm for texting: Ive been a fan for a long while because its like whispers and with that goes intimacy, secrecy, playfulness But there is nothing fixed about the way he sees. He believes one never sees the same picture twice: The second time I saw the Grnewald altarpiece was after a terrorist attack it was the same painting yet I saw it differently. The importance of certain painters has shifted too. He reveres Modigliani less, admires Velzquez more: When one is young, one likes drama, excitation, bravura Velzquez has none of this.

    As a writer, Berger has always had a gift for making absences present. Can he summon the people he has lost in his mind? Yes, yes, yes they are very present. I tell him how moved I was by his essay Krakow (in Landscapes), in which he remembers a New Zealand teacher, Ken, a huge influence on him. And his eyes fill as I speak. It was Ken who told him that whenever he could not sleep, he should imagine you are shuffling a pack of cards advice he still follows. Ken also taught him the trick (not so useful now) of how to walk into a pub for a spot of underage drinking: Dont look back dont doubt for a moment, just be surer of yourself than they are. And he advised against self-pity. Whenever I might have been filled with self-pity, I turned it into furious anger. Even at my old age, Im still capable of getting very angry.

    But Bergers greatest strength in old age is his ability to live in the present. I cultivated this early on and this is the paradox because it was an escape from prescriptions, prophecies, consequences and causes. The present moment is key to his thinking too. In Ways of Seeing, he suggests that paintings embody the present in which they were painted. Defining the secret of reading aloud well, he says it is refusing to look ahead, to be in the moment. And he says that a story puts its listener in an eternal present. He has also written about the circularity of time. Does he think that applies to an individual life? Is there, in old age, a way in which one starts to hold hands with ones younger self?

    Time is circular, and in relation to that portrait of Melina, that is exactly what I feel. He suggests I take a photo of the painting. We carry it into the sunlight, prop it against the back of a chair. I say the Observer will need a photograph to go with this interview and he asks with boyish mischief: Couldnt we use her instead?

    It is only after I get home that I realise I failed to ask him how he intends to spend his birthday. I text him and he rings straight back. Listen, he says, I feel so grateful to have reached 90 it is such an age and to my friends for wanting to celebrate, but what Ive told them all is that what we ought to do on the day is be silent. My birthday should just be a day like any other.

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    How to Make Money Selling Stuff Online – NerdWallet (blog)

    How to Make Money Selling Stuff Online
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    … there's much more to it than that. Here are four steps to take if you're serious about making money selling stuff online. … Often that boils down to a combination of blogging, social media marketing and paid advertising. You'll have to decide

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    The Big D-bate: Does the Damien Wilson news call into question Jason Garrett's “Right Kind of Guy” mantra? – Blogging The Boys (blog)


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    The Big D-bate: Does the Damien Wilson news call into question Jason Garrett's “Right Kind of Guy” mantra?
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    As we properly gear up for for the 2017 season, are we doing so with less belief in Red Ball's RKG philosophy than ever before? by DannyPhantom and RJ Ochoa Jul 7, 2017, 3:00pm CDT. tweet · share · pin · Rec. Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports.

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    8 Signs Of A Successful Life That Have Nothing To Do With Money Or Fame

    On the path to becoming successful, you can end up chasing the wrong goals for the wrong reasons.Often goals are associated with making money or achieving a high level of status.

    While there’s nothing wrong with wanting either of the above, you can be led astray by chasing after them.If money and fame weren’t part of the equation, how would you define success?

    When you see someone who is wildly successful, you look at their success in terms of the rewards it’s granted them. It might even lead you to believe they’re greedy or selfish. But often their wealth and status came from working on something that meant a great deal to them.

    Take Bill Gates for example. Many people dislike him because he’s filthy rich, but do you think his primary aim in creating Microsoft was getting rich? No. He loved computers and loved building things.

    Steve Jobs is another useful example. Jobs became incredibly wealthy and famous from founding Apple, but his goal was never to become rich; it was to make world class products. The love for design came first. The money and fame came second.

    Sure, there are some people whose primary aim is to make money and nothing more like Wall Street executives, but those types of people can actually end up being more miserable than us all.

    Today I’m going to share some clear cut signs of success that have nothing to do with money or fame.

    You quit trying to please.

    Success happens when you quit living your life to please everyone around you. Success happens when you quit listening to the noise of the world and focus on what’s important to you. Success happens when you quit thinking reality is anything but what you want it to be. Quit viewing the world with the preconceived notions you were taught growing up. Quit being “realistic.” Quit worrying and start living.


    You try things with uncertain outcomes

    All of the worlds most successful people had to try something with an uncertain outcome. Even if things don’t go your way, you learn a valuable lesson;it’s not the end of the world.You can try again and again. Success and failure are intertwined with one another. Find someone who’s achieved success and you’ll discover a string of failures along the way.

    “It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed, you only have to be right once.” – Mark Cuban


    You’re Polite

    One of the most successful self-help books of all time, “How to Win Friends And Influence People,” offers these simple pieces of advice for being successful.

    • Smile
    • Be polite
    • Praise others for their good work
    • Don’t argue with other people

    It’s astonishing how many people don’t have good manners. Treating people the right away pays dividends. Every person you encounter is the most important person in the world in their eyes; successful people know to treat them as such.


    You have many moments where you lose yourself

    A life well lived has many moments in a state of flow, otherwise described as being in the zone. Doing this type of deep work will leave you feeling fulfilled afterward. Think back to a time where you’ve lost track of several hours while doing something;that’s flow. Your mission is to find work that allows you to experience that feeling as much as possible. The value of engagement trumps the value of money. Search for work you get completely lost in.


    Someone has thanked you for something you’ve done

    Has anyone ever gone out of their way to thank you for your work? That’s success. No matter how bad you want success for yourself,you’ll never get it until you find a way to provide value to other people.

    Your business isn’t about you; it’s about your customer. Your creative work isn’t about you; it’s about touching others. Every time someone leaves a kind comment or sends me a message thanking me for sharing with them, it gives me more motivation to keep creating.

    Find success by giving.


    You pissed someone off

    Because you believed in something. Because you have a (well-informed) opinion that others may disagree with. Because you had the audacity to say what we’re all afraid to say. Successful people don’t seek to maintain the status quo. When they see that the system is broken, they look for ways to change it and find like-minded people to help them.


    Youdo things that excite you

    The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is boredom.- Tim Ferriss, “The 4-Hour Work Week.”

    Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them. – Henry David Thoreau

    Most people’s lives aren’t necessarily bad, but they’re terribly boring. This is why they need constant entertainment via the television. You’re successful if you trade comfort for excitement, a job with decent pay and benefits for a vocation, a monotonous existence for a life filled with rich experiences.

    Successful people collect memories, not dollar bills.


    You lived a life that met your expectations

    That’s happiness in a nutshell: The only thing you have do to to be successful is live up to your own standards. Not the standards of society, or the standards of your friends or family members.

    Your dream doesn’t need to be predicated on money or status; being able to do what you enjoy and afford to go on the adventures you seek is all you need.

    If your dream is to be a world class chef, then cook your ass off. If your dream is to be a writer then write. If your dream is to raise a family and you do that well, then you’re successful.

    We all deserve to be fully present, and to live in a way that’s satisfying more often than not. Money and status are great, but as I said before, they’re usually byproducts of working toward something with meaning and doing it well.

    Define what success means to you and do what ever it takes to become it.


    If this post resonated with you, please subscribe to my blog. You’ll receive the first chapter of my best selling book, “The Destiny Formula,” plus tips, tools and resources to help you live your dream life.

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    BBC Sound of 2016: Nao interview – BBC News

    Media captionNao’s sound is described as a blend of classic soul, R&B and electronica

    Singer-songwriter Nao has taken third place on the BBC Sound of 2016 list, which highlights the most exciting new music for the coming year.

    Part of a large family from Hackney, she studied jazz at the Guildhall School of Music before dreaming up her own style, which she calls “wonky funk”.

    “It’s just a fusion of everything,” she says. “I can’t tell you what, really. It just is.”

    The 26-year-old has attracted attention for her two EPs – February 15 and So Good – and recently appeared on Disclosure’s number one album Caracal, singing the track Superego.

    Speaking to the BBC, the singer discussed her influences, her musical education and why she does not want to reveal her surname.

    Were you surrounded by music growing up?

    There were five children in my mum’s house and we all shared rooms – so it was very tight circumstances, but we all loved music and we were all playing it every day, from morning ’til night.

    Everyone was into different things. My brother was really big into US hip-hop, my other brother loved UK grime, pirate radio stations, jungle. So all of this was going on in the house and now, with hindsight, I can see all of it was a really big influence on me.

    Did you have to fight for control of the stereo?

    No – we all had our own devices. Walkmen, portable CD players. I had a karaoke machine so I could play tapes on that! And we had a piano as well, which I spent a lot of time on jamming and improvising.

    Did you take lessons?

    I had lessons in classical piano but I quickly realised that wasn’t what I wanted to play, so I started teaching myself chords and harmony. I really loved gospel, so I ended up playing that.

    Image copyright Little Tokyo / Sony
    Image caption The singer’s recent UK tour sold out. “I didn’t know people would come,” she says

    What was the first time you thought, I don’t have to play other people’s songs – I can write something of my own?

    I suppose I’ve always known that I could write – but I needed the confidence to actually step out of the shadows.

    Before that, I’d always sung other people’s music – from doing Aretha Franklin at functions and parties, to singing music my friends had written.

    You studied jazz at Guildhall. What did that teach you?

    It taught me loads but, funnily enough, I don’t know if it taught me to be more creative. Jazz is an amazing language and musical form, but you need to study that, and only that, to get your head around it so I didn’t spend much time writing my own music.

    But it taught me discipline. I needed to wake up at 5am each morning to practice theory, harmony, singing… everything.

    Was there a lot of competition between the students?

    I think so. You feel guilty taking a break – because in every room around you, you can hear someone practising and aiming to get better. But I think it’s a good thing. I became a better musician.

    Media captionNAO – Inhale Exhale

    What happened after you graduated?

    I was making my way as a professional singer – and that involved doing sessions or adverts or singing for other people.

    I really loved it. I never thought I could make money just being a singer without being, like, a pop star.

    How did you become a solo artist?

    I happened to be singing for someone in a nightclub and my now-manager was there. He hit me up the next day and was like: “Have you ever thought about doing your own music?” So the stars aligned and I was able to put everything down and start writing.

    The first song that got you attention was So Good – how long was it between that nightclub performance and writing that?

    About four months.

    Did you know it would take off the way it did?

    No! I call that sort of music “wonky funk” and I didn’t know if people were really going to get it. I remember I put it up online and went into a rehearsal and turned off my internet and my phone’s 3G. When I turned my phone back on eight hours later, it literally exploded. I’d never seen so many messages.

    Is wonky funk the dark side of Uptown Funk?

    Haha! I’ve never thought about it that way – but I like that because Uptown Funk is so energetic and happy whereas Wonky Funk is a little bit left field, a little bit darker, even a little bit cooler… even if I do say so myself.

    How well do you know your funk? Are you into George Clinton and Bootsy Collins and Donald Byrd?

    Yeah, I am! I saw George Clinton this year in concert. It was absolutely crazy – about 100 people on stage. And I love Prince, I love Earth Wind and Fire, Sly and the Family Stone. All these bands.

    Image copyright Little Tokyo / Sony
    Image caption Nao’s latest track Bad Blood was picked as Tune of the Week by BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac

    You have a clear sense of your sound – but what sort of artist do you want to be?

    I’m not sure if I’m the type of act who’ll dress up and wear loads of make-up. I’ve only just sorted out how to be myself, so I’m going to stick with that.

    That seems to be a theme with the artists on the Sound of 2016 list… I wonder why?

    We’re in an age where people have millions of followers on Instagram and they spend all their time taking selfies so they get that one perfect shot. But I think it’s nice that we see normal people, just doing stuff that’s good and cool without it being about the image.

    And yet you maintain a certain sense of mystique. You don’t tell anyone your second name, for instance.

    Yeah! I’ve been a singer for a long time, so I just wanted to have a clean slate. I wouldn’t say it’s mysterious, it’s just a way of keeping a clear line.

    So there’s early, embarrassing stuff online that you don’t want people to find?

    No! Everything I’ve done is fine But there’s a lot of it! I’m singing other people’s music and fans could misconstrue that as my own stuff. So for me it was about starting again. And because I’ve got such a distinctive name, it’s not hard for people to find me.

    Except if you Google your name, you end up with a pages of results for the National Audit Office.

    I know! People tweet me about the National Audit Office every day!

    Image copyright Little Tokyo / Sony
    Image caption So far, the singer hasn’t appeared in her own videos – with Bad Blood starring model Adja Kaba

    Your debut album is due in the summer. How close is it to being finished?

    I wonder if an album is ever finished? If it was up to me, I’d keep writing.

    You have a lyric on Golden: “Perfect is over-rated.” Is that how you feel about writing?

    I think so. There is no perfect sound because, hopefully, you’ll keep growing and changing and learning. That’s why I said perfect is over-rated and that’s why I think an album can never really be finished. All you can do is capture the moment.

    And presumably the music develops when you play it live.

    Exactly. That’s so true. The songs on my EPs are totally different when I play them live because the bass player is changing his line and the drummer is doing some extra kicks and snares. So it’s always changing, it’s really cool.

    Every date on your UK tour sold out last month – how did that feel?

    I could understand it in London because that’s where I’m from and I could drag people along – but across the UK I didn’t know people would know the songs and come to the show. It’s really lovely.

    The Sound of 2016 shortlist so far:

    More on the Sound of 2016:

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