It’s been strange to spend a week preparing for Sunday, September 16. September 16 was, once, a day when I would celebrate the birthdays of two members of my family whom have both died due to serious illnesses at relatively youthful ages. I don’t have any deep insight into the experience, save that it’s one of absence. The death of my father last year, in particular, served as an important reminder that it’s important to be present in others’ lives because you never know how much longer you will have to share in experiences with one another; his death and the missed opportunities we had serve as a reminder that I carry with me, and use to guide many of my daily and weekly activities and actions and attitudes. Rather than adopting a fear of missing out attitude I’ve, instead, chosen to focus on particular persons, events, and times as best as I’ve been able, in order to be present in any given moment or place.
Inspiring Quotation of the Week
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
- Steve Jobs
Great Photography Shots
I’ve been captivated this week by Liam Wong’s Tokyo photographs, where he’s applied his own palette to bring the city alive as though it were a kind of sci-fi video game.
Music I’m Digging
- Orbital – Monsters Exist (Deluxe) // If I’m being entirely honest, I’m not fully in love with the entirety of this album. However, ‘Monsters Exist’, ‘Hoo Hoo Ha Ha’, and ‘The Raid’ are all solid songs that have been caught in my head since I first heard them.
- Noname – Telefone (Mixtape) // This album was released in 2016 after rapper and poet Noname was befriended by Chance the Rapper. I found that the album blends nicely with Chance’s own work, and that her mixture of R&B and hip-hop provides a strong, and pleasant, contrast to ‘harder’ female hip hop artists. Similarly, her lyrical content and structure seems to have many commonalities with Chance’s own, lending her as a good compliment to his own body of work.
Neat Podcast Episodes
- Planet Money – The Central (Bankers’) Question // This episode explores why the economy has become unsettled, as financial planners are unable to reliably predict the relationship between inflation and employment, and the ability for workers to seek higher wages. Spoiler alert: the nature of information economies and diminishment of collective labour agreements are likely playing a serious deleterious role in the development and unfolding of the American economy, in particular.
- The Daily – The Spy Who Provoked Putin // In exploring the rationale for why Sergei Skripal was targeted for poisoning, experts have concluded that this is a tic of Vladimir Putin: those who have betrayed the brotherhood of spying—and especially those who do not go quietly into the night after having been caught doing so—are considered legitimate targets for serious retaliation.
Good Reads for the Week
- Can a Thirst-Trap Selfie Lead to True Love? // I have to admit that it’s only recently that I’ve heard that Instagram is a place where relationships begin; for me, it’s always just been a place to position some of my photos, and view others’ photographs. But this personal essay by Bindu Bansinath was helpful in opening my eyes to how Instagram facilitates relationships, as well as how meeting via social media can prompt unique uncertainties and concerns.
- The F-35 Is a $1.4 Trillion National Disaster // This comprehensive analysis of the F-35 fighter craft (and its variants) clearly demonstrates that European nations that are procuring non-F-35 fights are making clear headed and sensible decisions. The F-35 is just a massive, expensive, waste of time, money, and talent that is more likely to get pilots and those they’re tasked with supporting killed than anything else.
- The Policymakers Saved the Financial System. And America Never Forgave Them. // Part of a series by the New York Times on the 2008 financial crisis, Irwin’s article outlines how neither the (newly emerged) far right nor left were happy with the outcome of the measures undertaken to save the American economy. This displeasure followed despite the policies being read as generally working; rather than being pleased with the result, people turned to anger at the system itself. While I appreciate the measured analysis presented in the article to rationalize why citizens should be happy with how well the recovery took place, I think that it fails to adequately recognize that the disaster was the making of the financial sector and that, for many, the harms are still being felt to this day. Anger and displeasure makes sense when the lived impact of the fallout persists, regardless of the fallout being less-bad than had been anticipated.