Minding Your PPPP's & T's (Four P's #191)
Toxins, Tokens, Traitors, and Tomatoes
I spent several years working with the WNBA, its teams, athletes, and the entire ecosystem. Many of those individuals remain my close friends. BG is a daughter, a wife, a friend, a teammate, an advocate, and a victim. She also happens to be a world-class athlete, an Olympic gold medalist, and an American.
And while I'd moved on before Brittney Griner joined the league, her agent, her coach, her teammates, and her network are some of the best people around. For them, her illegal detainment in Russia and the ensuing judicial farce is personal.
SOMETHING POLITICAL: Brittney Griner's Critics Hate America
Unfortunately, it has also become highly political.
To be happy or glib that Brittney Griner faces the next decade in a Russian prison for possessing marijuana is perhaps the most anti-American absurdity imaginable. It’s also far beyond the standard punishment for this offense and goes against her physician’s orders. The social media comments and extremist commentary posted in response to the news are embarrassing, ignorant, and wholly anti-American. Yes. Anti-American. Because what it really means is that they support the Russian government's use of wrongful detentions of Americans as political pawns to advance its agenda.
The reasons why these anti-American extremists are happy might be:
Because BG "got what she deserved" after expressing her first amendment right of peaceful protest during the playing of a national song to highlight injustice and policies at a time when black Americans continue to be murdered by police officers.
Because the media personalities they follow on social media are doing it and their followers are mindless morons incapable of actually questioning reason and reality.
Because they are totally cool with an enemy country that helped install Donald Trump as a puppet president detaining foreign nationals as hostages.
Because she is a black, lesbian athlete.
It could be one or all of these factors that have led them to believe that what is happening to her is fair. What they'll tell themselves (and others) is that she is being punished for breaking the laws of another sovereign country. Well guess what: So did American troops invading other countries like Iraq or Afghanistan... or Russians invading Ukraine. Which means you must be fine with it when soldier prisoners of war are captured and detained over enemy lines, right?
The national anthem is not America. A flag is not America. The values and principles on which this nation was founded and continues to run today (barely?) are rooted in guaranteed individual liberties. The right to speak freely. The right to live in a country dissociated from religious theocracy. The right to protest and petition your government. The right to a fair trial by a jury of your peers. Inalienable rights that, unfortunately, are not applied to, or realized by, all Americans equally or fairly.
Meaning that everything Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe, Brittney Griner and hundreds of other pro athletes did was not only legal but heroic by any and every "American" standard. Using their platform to advocate for the rights of others is as American as it gets.
And to hate that is to hate America.
SOMETHING PROFESSIONAL: The Brands Are Catching On
"Many more brands are setting foot into Web3. The question is, when will you?"
So writes Will Eagle, the VP of Strategy and Marketing at Collab, in Adweek last week.
And he's right. We saw the introduction of several different ideas and executions within the past week, from the ultra-exclusive and premium Tiffany & Co. NFT-backed, limited edition CryptoPunk pendants to the partnership between Mastercard, Time Magazine, and the city of Miami that will use web3 tokens to drive revenue to local businesses and non-profits through exclusive rewards offerings.
Ticketmaster is building an enterprise NFT application for ticketing and the innovative development of a ‘Gray Man’ Metaverse Experience in Decentraland that the team at Netflix is fun, even if it will never see mainstream adoption. Instagram added support for NFTs built on the Flow blockchain (which resulted in the FLOW token skyrocketing up 44% within 24 hrs).
And then there is Starbucks, which is set to unveil a web3-based rewards and loyalty program next month. While the details are still light, the fact that they are thinking about tokenization for its expanding membership programs shows demonstrates that this movement can be both an evolution and revolution. I talked about my hopes for this program on LinkedIn, which they featured as a top story the following day (thanks!)
None of this has anything to do with cryptocurrency, even though tokens of all kinds share bandwidth on blockchains. A report published by Boston Consulting Group, Bitget, and Foresight Ventures predicts that crypto adoption will continue to grow, likely to reach 1 billion users by the end of the year.
So the question is... what are you waiting for?
SOMETHING PRACTICAL: Getting Clean(ish)
A few weeks ago, I was invited to speak at a conference in Los Angeles. Hooray! I hadn't been to the left coast in over two years, AND the organizers were kind enough to pay for my travel. It was only upon arriving at JFK that I realized they had booked me on a sub-basic ticket.. which meant that I was required to check my small carry-on bag. Of course, that bag contained the book I brought to read on the flight… and it was now somewhere in the bowels of the terminal en route to the cargo hold of the airplane. To the bookstore, where I purchased Clean(ish), a brand new book by Gin Stevens.
A book about healthy living on the way to L.A.? I'd fit right in! And yes, it made an immediate impact on me (I even turned down Biscoff cookies for the first time in my 30+ years flying on Delta airlines). Leading a healthy lifestyle entails making wise choices at the grocery store and at home. But there are small, manageable steps we can take that will have the enormous effect of cleaning the toxins right out of your life – leaving you happier, healthier, and lighter. What's crazy, though, is how we have evolved to clean harmful toxins out of our bodies.
Our liver filters out the worst and most damaging of toxins. Our kidneys screen out most internal toxins our body creates. Our lungs filter out toxins from our air. Our skin excretes toxic metals. Our lymphatic system carries waste from all parts of the body to the liver and the kidneys for its final elimination. The glymphatic system is like the lymphatic system but for the brain when you sleep and exercise. And, of course, the colon. That's the good news.
The bad news is that there are a ton of toxins and human beings' consumption behaviors are disgusting. But the ultimate goal is to be “clean-ish, not clean.” And it's not just food. We inhale and absorb toxins from our daily environments: what we breathe in, what we put on our skin, what we surround ourselves with. Along with the good and the harmless things, we also absorb hormone disruptors, respiratory toxins, development toxins, and carcinogens. Shampoo, water, car emissions, microwaveable containers, air fresheners, and toilet cleaners, dishwasher detergents, dryer sheets, and floor polish. It’s not one big thing, but lots and lots of tiny things. And it adds up.
I love that we're able to eat vegetables out of our garden in the summer and early fall. Real food always trumps processed food. We only have our government to blame after the Great Depression, when corn, wheat, and soybeans were heavily subsidized by the American government. That led farmers to focus more on these crops, so they came to occupy a huge share of farm production overall, which means they’re in just about every commercially produced food. Many crops have been genetically modified, and the jury’s still out on what harm that might cause. Foods contain ingredients that we all know are bad for us, hidden under pseudonyms like “plant protein extract” or “natural flavors.” And meats... forget about it.
There's no magic diet. If there was, we wouldn't see new books and fad programs popping up every single day. But most scientists agree that local and seasonal foods should provide the foundation of our intake. The key to being “clean-ish” is to eat real and natural foods as much as possible. Even when you’re buying processed or packaged foods, make sure they contain recognizable food ingredients and minimize the pesticides. I've even started looking for package labels that say "USDA Organic" or "Non-GMO Project Verified."
After years of successfully evading detection and prosecution, I was unable to avoid a blood test and lipid panel screening at my latest annual physical. And let's just say that my cholesterol and LDL levels reported in from the stratosphere (while everything else came back great). Sound the alarm bells. What was most misleading is that I am nowhere near my highest weight totals from a few years ago. But the inconsistent diet and exercise were problematic. We don’t need to transform immediately or completely, but over time, I am committing to making some personal changes that will allow me to be happier and healthier. If you're like me, there are a few simple things we can do:
Buy basic ingredients and foods in season and in bulk; veggies, and fruits, but also tofu. Cauliflower rice! Even frozen or canned food can be just as nutritious and they last a long time. Swap out ingredients, such as processed sugar. If you’re cooking, use honey, maple syrup, or blackstrap molasses. And then decide what it is that you can just cut out entirely. For me, it is soda, alcohol, and mass quantities of meat. But eating "clean-ish" shouldn’t become an obsession that restricts your life.
SOMETHING PERSONAL: Hollywood Bowl of Laughs
While I don't particularly enjoy eating seafood, it is one of the few limitations in my diet. The other is a sensitivity to garlic that makes my mouth and throat tingle. On the extreme end of this spectrum, my sister's garlic allergy is so severe that she has been hospitalized on more than one occasion due to anaphylaxis. Which makes dining out with her in restaurants quite the adventure. Garlic is in many, many dishes, so her review of most menus is like me reviewing my kids' holiday gift wish lists: Immediate elimination of 95% of the items.
In L.A. last week, we had only one meal together, but it became an instant classic. Overlooking the Beverly Hills sunset at the West Hollywood Soho House, she deliberated over the menu and settled on a provisional first choice: the plain Margherita pizza. When the waiter returned to take our order, she posed a question for the kitchen. "Does the tomato sauce come pre-made with garlic? If not, she'd go with that. If they weren't sure or the answer was “no,” she asked, instead, for a "plain tomato" as an alternative.
The waiter returned, apologetically, informing us that the sauce might have garlic powder, and that he understood how dangerous her garlic allergy can be. The chef was going to prepare her back-up option. It sounded like we had reached a good compromise. But when our meals arrived, the waiter placed a bowl of plain cherry tomatoes in front of my sister and walked away. We expected him to return with a plain, sauce-less pizza with cheese, but he never did. His interpretation of the "back-up option" was not a sauce-less pizza replaced with actual tomatoes, but just a bowl of tomatoes.
Everyone at our table dissolved into hysterical, tear-inducing laughter. But replaying her order back in my mind, I saw how easily what she said could be misinterpreted. The key lesson here is that when ordering food, be verrrry clear with what you want. Especially in L.A., where every waiter/server is terrible at her or his job and just waiting for that life-changing call from a casting director.
Programming note: The Four P's will be taking its annual summer hiatus until Labor Day, but I'll let you know how Matt's Summer of Clean-ish is going in a few weeks. Until then, here are some great sunscreen recommendations from my doctor for your final few weeks of summer. Talk to you then…