I saw Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel on Saturday night at Town Hall here in NYC. For anyone who knows the story of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and Neutral Milk Hotel, it was quite magical to see Jeff again after his hiatus of many, many years from playing live shows. Here’s the one cover he sang, I Love the Living You, by Roky Erickson

I’m speaking at TEDx MidAtlantic on Saturday in DC. The cast of The Wire is also speaking, which means I get to have dinner with Omar Friday night. I know it’s cliched to say that The Wire is my favorite show, but it is. I lived in Baltimore during the time they were filming it and my building is in too many scenes to count. The last week I lived in Baltimore, I saw three people die outside my window and had my moving truck stolen. But I love Baltimore. Not enough to live there, just enough to say I lived there.

I just got off the plane from London and ate at Pret a Manger at Heathrow. It’s hard to imagine that McDonald’s owned this chain from 2001 to 2008. But you can clearly see they didn’t have the same DNA, especially when McDonald’s “oatmeal” has 21 ingredients, when in fact, oatmeal is an ingredient.

When I was a kid, fast food options were bad and worse. Now it’s Le Pain Quotidien, Pret a Manger, Panera Bread, Chipotle, and the like. Given the capitalist system that is the United States, we’ve got to fight capitalism with capitalism. And, I for one, am super optimistic that healthy capitalism will win. 

I spoke in Eindhoven in Holland today to kick off Dutch Design Week. I was going to talk about my definition of health, because it differs so radically from the typical American doctor’s definition of health. But when you go to Holland you see how the entire countryside and urban landscape has bike lanes for all kinds of riders– young and old, they all ride. For the past 40 years, the Dutch have mandated that anytime you build a road for cars, there must be a separate bike lane also built. And then you see the windmills that have been a staple of Dutch culture for ages, you quickly realize that the last thing they need is some American lecturing them about health.