The Roundup for October 1-31, 2019 Edition

(Evening Horror by Christopher Parsons)

Welcome to this edition of The Roundup! Enjoy the collection of interesting, informative, and entertaining links. Brew a fresh cup of coffee or grab yourself a drink, find a comfortable place, and relax.

Inspiring Quotation

“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.”

– Chinese Proverb

Great Photography Shots

Really liking some of of these symmetrical smartphone shots!

Lower Chamber‘ by @chasread
Untitled’ by @emilia photographe
Untitled‘ by @mina.juveler
Sucked into the light‘ by @arpixa
Holocaust Memorial Berlin‘ by @iphotokunst

Music I’m Digging

This month’s ‘best of’ songs clock in at about 3.5 hours, and include 56 songs. They’re biased towards rock, rap, alternative, and a bit of pop.

  • Marie Davidson—Working Class Women // This is one of the more novel albums I’ve listened to this year. Davidson is clearly a very gifted artist and performer: the album is as much an aural piece of art that could belong in a gallery, as it is something that’s curious to listen to. It is a challenging album to listen to insofar as it’s really not one that fits ‘well’ as background music. Davidson compels your attention, and you are deeply rewarded to giving it to her.
  • BANNERS—Where the Shadow Ends // The newest album from BANNERS reminds me of their original EP, Banners, and less of Empires on Fire. And that’s a good thing! It dovetails the crooning voice that I’ve come to love, with sufficiently interesting lyrics and melodies that I keep coming back to sample the album time-after-time. There’s nothing on the album quite like ‘Start a Riot’ or ‘Back When We Had Nothing’, but that’s just to say that the album is its own as opposed to trying to mold itself into that of the band’s first album.
  • Phantogram—In a Spiral (Single) // This is Phantogram at it’s best. Hands down: haunting melody, terrific melody, and killer beats. Race to listen to this. You will be rewarded!

Neat Podcast Episodes

  • The Sporkful—My Food History Wasn’t Lost. It was Stolen. // Colonists to the United States (and Canada) engaged in systematic cultural and biological genocide of the native people’s who predated their arrival. In this episode of the Sporkful, Dan speaks with poet Tommy Pico about building his own indigenous food history, when that history had been systemically eradicated. That discussion is potent, but what is particularly powerful is the poem that Tommy reads over the final 15 minutes of the episode: it speaks to the challenges of growing up as a native person in America and what it means to be confronted by white supremacy on a daily basis.
  • The Economist—The Death of Cash // Cash is a real thing for a lot of people, and this episode does a good job in thinking through how cashless societies are being born, and the associated costs of how moving cashless can disenfranchise the least advantaged persons in society.
  • TVO—Addressing Police Mental Health and Suicide // Policing culture is ‘macho’ in its character and its members have historically been taught to push down their feelings, don’t talk about the hurts associated with their job, and just get the job done. This episode includes raw contributions from senior policing staff on the need to seriously engage with mental health issues and, also, personal stories that reveal how the historical culture has harmed the same staff, and how they are working to mitigate the same harms to contemporary service members. While a single episode won’t change policing culture it’s important and brave for some of the most ‘macho’ people to come forward and be frank and honest about mental health. Only by doing so will mental health issues more generally become destigmatized.

Good Reads

  • What Are “Love Maps”, and Why Do They Matter? // This Medium post outlines the importance, and need in healthy relationships, to really understand the contours of your partner’s past, present, and future. It discusses how understanding more than surface details is critical for long-lasting relationships and why, also, understanding those underlying elements of whomever you’re with—both their more and less positive elements—is essential for providing the support and intimacy that keeps relationships alive and thriving over time.
  • Alexa and Google Home abused to eavesdrop and phish passwords // Installing barely manageable wiretap devices into your home remains, perhaps unsurprisingly, a very bad idea.
  • The Messy Truth About Social Credit // If you’ve ever been curious about China’s social credit system then this is required reading. In short, the system is about building trust in institutions and between individuals predicated on institutional and private company data sharing. The actual workings of the system are different from what exists in the United States but there are remarkable similarities. The social credit system is something worth keeping an eye on but isn’t, at the moment at least, the Foucaultian panopticon brought to life.
  • Every Photo Tells a Story. His Spoke Volumes. // Burgess’ recounting of the life, and photography, of Sam Falk’s reveals how Falks approached his craft and transformed it within the New York Times. But, more substantially, Falks photography serves as a reminder of the world as it used to appear and the vividness of our collective pasts. The past was in motion just as much as today is, and was populated populated by people who were invested in their worlds, who were curious, and who were all as-in-motion as those of us today.

Cool Things

  • Glencairn Whiskey Glasses // I’ve been more assertively trying to learn about whiskey for the past few months, including watching a whole lot of tasting videos from The Whiskey Tribe, investing in a bunch of bottles of bourbon of varying cost, and purchasing some Glencairn whiskey glasses. The glasses, in particular, have been revolutionary: I’ve always sipped from heavy cocktail glasses, but the Glencairn ones are revealing a whole new world of smells. I cannot recommend them highly enough!

The Roundup for July 2-8, 2018 Edition

Majesty by Christopher Parsons

The past few weeks have been hard. Really hard. I finally said goodbye to my dad, who died unexpectedly a little over a year ago. I said goodbye to the woman that I love. And I moved to a new home, too.

I have lots of reflections on my dad and how important it is to support those we love, even if that support means that a relationship needs to end so that they can achieve their dreams and aspirations. But for now I just need to process those thoughts, emotions, and reflections. If there’s any saving grace, it’s that my adopted family — even those who live abroad — are all living close to me.

Inspiring Quotation of the Week

Real love teaches us. It teaches us what we do and do not want in a partner. We learn how to be better at love from the ones we loved first. If we just got over all of that and truly erased the entire experience from the space in our hearts and minds where that love once occupied, then wouldn’t we just continue making the same mistakes over and over? If loving someone were as fleeting as we often try to make it be and we could “just get over it,” we wouldn’t bother with it anymore. What would be the point?

I think it is because we never fully get over the love we once had for someone that entices us to love again. It is because we remember that love that we want it again. We love a little deeper, a little more completely with each love we find. We want love to last. With every love we lose, we learn just how precious and valuable it is. It is how we ultimately (hopefully) find the one we never have to get over.

Music I’m Digging

Neat Podcast Episodes

Good Reads for the Week

  • When you don’t disclose salary range on a job posting, a unicorn loses its wings//There’s a severe problem in both non-profit and for-profit hiring: a failure to disclose what people will earn in any given position. Without that information it’s challenging for applicants to know whether it’s worth their time to bother applying, and can lead to applicants (and hiring committees!) wasting a lot of time before realizing that the salary range isn’t appropriate for the applicant’s expectations. Appropriate ranges should be included in all positions, and with ranges that are meaningfully bounded as opposed to massive ranges that prevent applicants from really knowing the likely salary.
  • Advertising Play Well//A delightful take on how advertising to children has changed, and why Lego used to be a leader in gender neutral play-based advertising and products.
  • The Electric Flight of Spiders//Fascinating new research shows that spiders use electrostatic repulsion to ‘fly’ using strands of silk emitted from their abdomen’s. While wind current plays a role, it’s the electrostatic repulsion that actually let’s arachnids take flight. Amazing!
  • Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s ‘Apes**t’ Was a Subtle History Lesson in Race and Power//I’m finding the various analyses of this video really interesting, as different authors explore the cultural and political significance of the chosen imagery. This goes a step further by not just interpreting the video but drawing it into a broader landscape of artistic critique, and which blends a range of lyrics from Jay-Z and Beyoncé to come to more sweeping conclusions.

Cool Things and Places

  • A Weekend Guide to Detroit//I’ve wanted to head over to Detroit for a while — I’d love to photograph the art! — and this provides a more fulsome ‘what to do over a weekend’ so I could head over and never get bored!
  • The Lost Caves of Nottingham//A very hidden gin bar, that involves descending a hidden staircase and, then, a second staircase cut into the earth itself. Very cool.

“The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it is not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of the other person–without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other.”

– Osho