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Cerro Gordo was America’s largest silver mine, located above Death Valley. It was a place for dreamers to come and strike it rich in the 19th century. Brent Underwood spent his life savings in the 21st Century to purchase what was now an abandoned ghost-town. He found a different kind of wealth.

Brent spent four years in Cerro Gordo, documenting the details of his explorations, artifacts, and restoration efforts on his popular YouTube Channel, Ghost Town Living. In a new book, Ghost Town Living, Brent takes a broader-view of his adventures in Cerro Gordo and shares his biggest lessons learned through his experiences as well as those from the original residents. On today’s episode, we explore some of these lessons. Brent talks about why he bought a ghost-town to escape a 9-5 job and find a longer-term goal. We discuss the lessons that restoring Cerro Gordo taught Brent about getting started, taking action, learning the context behind what you are doing, understanding the long-term effects of short-term thinking and the satisfactions of being a person with high agency.

Podcast Resources

Burrow Schmidt TunnelOwens LakeAoM article: Become an independent starterAoM article: Meditations on Wisdom of Action

Brent Underwood: Connect with him

GhostTown living on YouTubeBrent at IGBrent at X

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Sunday Firesides: Gotta Get in the Reps

After coaching youth sports for a while, you will begin to notice the biggest difference in which athletes improve. Kids who play catch or dribble basketball on their driveways every night get better. Those who do not handle the ball during scheduled practice sessions will not improve.

The reps are what matter. The number of “touches”, or the number times the child has the ball in their hands, determines if he will develop the necessary skills.

It’s not just in sports that repetition is key. The more you practice something, like playing a musical instrument where you have to tickle the keys the more you improve, you can also train your soul.

Aristotle said, “Virtue is a habit.” Virtue is a habit.

It’s not sufficient to work out or meditate once a week to reach self-mastery. Self-mastery is built by doing things that you would rather not do. It is built through small daily habits — such as starting a difficult discussion, giving up dessert, or turning off a suspenseful film before going to bed.

It’s not sufficient to attend a church service or a date-night once or twice a year. Daily devotions are necessary to develop such dispositions.

Character is developed by doing thousands of small touches and repetitions. This builds the muscle memory in the heart, which prepares you for the high-stakes situations of life.

The man who wins the great challenge or temptation is not the one who has been practicing but the one who has made his life his practice.

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Odds & Ends: April 12, 2024

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A vintage metal box labeled

Why I hope to die at 75 by Ezekiel Emanuel. In recent years, there has been much attention paid to the idea of extending life expectancy. Oncologist Dr. Emmanuel is a bioethicist and has a strong, contrary position. He hopes to die by 75. He argues that many people believe they will be the exception to aging rules, and remain physically agile and mentally sharp until their death. But as the capacity-robbing, burden-on-loved-ones-increasing toll of age eventually comes for all, Emanuel would rather go out before he falls apart. He doesn’t plan to die at 75. But he will stop having preventative screenings, such as colonoscopies and cardiac stress tests, once he hits that age.

Flint and Tinder’s Vintage Slub Polo. One of my favorite clothing brands just released a line of polos, tees and tanks made from slub-cotton in the USA. I bought a navy blue polos. The fabric is thick and not as thin and gauzy like some slubs. Polo shirts are great for spring because they are so versatile. Dress them up or dress them down. Check out our guide on polo shirts.

William Manchester’s The Last Lion Trilogy. The best biography you will ever read. Manchester is a three-volume epic of 3,000 pages, which takes you through Winston Churchill’s life. It’s a fun and inspiring ride. You feel as though you are there, as Churchill grows up, struggles to find his political place, and leads the country through WWII. The Last Lion is a biography that’s close to being a page-turner. You know the outcome, so it’s difficult to call it enthralling. Manchester tragically died before he could finish the final volume. Another author completed it. The third volume is slightly less than the first two but still worth reading.

The Searchers. John Wayne delivers the most intense performance of his acting career in this John Ford film as Ethan Edwards. A man who vows revenge on the Comanche Raiders who killed his sister-in law and brother, and kidnapped two of their daughters. Wayne is a master at portraying a complex, conflicted man who wants revenge on the Comanche raiders that killed his sister-in-law and brother. He also kidnaps two of their daughters. The film has been beautifully shot. There are so many epic shots of the desert. The film’s pace is perfect. It doesn’t drag but it also doesn’t seem rushed.

Quote of the week

It would be a sin and a sulk against nature to not go and enjoy her bounty and rejoice with the heavens and the earth during the vernal season of the year, when the air is pleasant and calm.John Milton

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4 Ways to Remove a Broken Light Bulb From a Socket

When the glass bulb breaks on incandescent bulbs, it can be difficult to remove them from the socket. With a little ingenuity you can solve this problem.

You might ask, “Why should I know how to remove a broken incandescent bulb when they’ve been phased out?” The U.S. did ban incandescent lights last year to encourage people to switch to LED bulbs. These are usually made of plastic, and do not break like the thin glass incandescents. There are still two reasons to be able to remove a broken bulb. You probably still use incandescent light bulbs around the house. You’ll need to know what to do if they ever break. Incandescent light bulbs used to illuminate your home’s rooms are now banned. However, bulbs for bug lamps and appliances that use incandescent lights remain legal. Even in the age LED bulbs, you may still need to replace a broken bulb.

We have shown you four different methods to remove a broken light bulb. Be sure to turn off the electricity before you try any of these methods. You don’t need to electrocute yourself. Put on heavy duty work gloves, and remove any remaining glass shards from the bulb to avoid cutting yourself. As you remove the bulb, keep your gloves on.

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