Brains, and Heart . . . and Bananas?

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  • A kick-ass question response from Giannis Antetokounmpo

  • “Traveling to Beautiful Places” from Mary Oliver

  • Quarter Turn has brains, and heart—and bananas? A banana story

  • 6-word advice from Austin Kleon

Giannis Antetokounmpo is an NBA star born and raised in Athens to Nigerian parents. He was stateless for years as a kid due to Greek citizenship law, and as a basketball player he’s sometimes called positionless—because he’s so versatile and effective all over the court.

He’s effective here too, with a powerful response to a press question about failure. He sums up what sports have always been about, which is to say what life’s about. Hint: it ain’t winning.

The simple genius of Mary Oliver:

Some days, you look around and wonder: what’s that about?

It happened to me with bananas, y’all. And I ended up with a story. About bananas.

A lot of people out there talk about storytelling, but they don’t tell any stories—besides the story of their own brand. I’m for doing the work to find stories and learn how to tell them, which is a bunch 🍌 of what I’m doing on Medium.

Here’s a taste—find the whole thing with this friend link. 

The Building of a Banana Baron: How One Man Shaped Central America

One of the most important people in the history of the banana is a man named Minor.

Now you’re thinking, wait, there’s a history of the banana?

Yes, friend, there is.

Bananas may seem uninteresting and common. They’re a boring fruit that athletes eat to fuel up, that — whether you like them green or spotty — are perfect for all of six minutes before being past their prime. A banana is also the single worst thing to listen to your dogs eat.

But countries were built on its back.

The plain banana helped shape Central America as we know it — and it took years in the jungle, deaths, disease, prison labor, and an accidental discovery to make it happen.

First, a banana primer

Bananas have been around for thousands of years, and were domesticated as far back as 8,000 BCE. Before that, wild, wooly bananas roamed the tropics.

(no, not really, but wild bananas do have tons of seeds that make them comparatively inedible)

They originated in Southeast Asia, where there are still more varieties than anywhere else. The most common banana eaten today, though, especially in Europe and the West, is one called the Cavendish that was bred to be seedless (it has tiny seeds that don’t develop).

Since they grow from flowers, bananas are technically berries. A stalk of bananas is known as a “bunch,” and each smaller row of bananas is called a “hand.”

Banana hands, y’all.

Bananas were carried along ancient trade routes, and because they’re a fast-growing plant they became staples in tropics around the world. It took human history thousands of years to get bananas from Asia to Central America.

It only took a few decades to transform whole countries on the backs of the banana and the steam locomotive.

The building of a banana baron

Minor Copper Keith was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1848.

It would still be 28 years until the banana was introduced to the United States at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, which was the first World’s Fair-style event in U.S. history.

Joining the banana would be Heinz Ketchup, sugar popcorn, and soda water. Oh — and the Remington typewriter and Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephone.

You know, just the routine things. Nothing world-changing . . .

Keep reading here

As Brené Brown said, “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.” Austin Kleon’s 6 words here say it all.

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