One of the many things you might notice while running the New York City Marathon is the unlucky people who are trying to cross the street as 50,000+ plus runners are making their way down the street. It might be easier later in the day, when the runners thin out, and you’re in a narrow section like parts of Williamsburg, but earlier in the race, trying to cross a wider street like First Avenue when there’s just a never-ending river of people flowing down it? It’s a real sport. So kudos to Jeff Seal for this video, which really delivers on the concept of the sport of trying to cross the street during the marathon. (video)(thanks, Brendan)
A FINAL GENTLE REMINDER: You can still sign up for my *FREE* pop-up newsletter about creativity, MAKE IT, a daily illustrated micro-essay from May 15th to June 8th. (It is separate from this newsletter, and the subscriber list will be deleted on June 8th after the final email is sent out). 2,700+ people have signed up so far and I could not be more excited.
As a person who is often a quote, unskilled sleeper, unquote, I loved this podcast about insomnia: Derek Thompson (staff writer at The Atlantic) interviews Duke University School of Medicine sleep researcher (and mother of two) Dr. Jade Wu about sleep. (thanks, Ben)
I tend to gloss over everything said about the royal family, except when I heard J.R. Moehringer ghostwrote Prince Harry’s memoir, Spare. I still remember my co-worker Sean telling me about Moehringer’s book The Tender Bar in 2006 or so, and how damn good the book was. And then hearing that Moehringer had ghostwritten Andre Agassi’s memoir, and then Phil Knight’s memoir. So when I saw he had written a piece for the New Yorker about ghostwriting Prince Harry’s book, I immediately clicked on it. It’s more of a story of Moehringer’s whole career, with some really interesting bits about the process of ghostwriting, what other authors think of it, and how he approaches it, and it’s pretty fascinating.
I don’t know how nostalgia works, or if it’s more commonly triggered by music, or smells, or visiting a place you haven’t been in a decade or longer. I know I can find a song I listened to on repeat for a summer 20 years ago, but websites I visited 20 years ago? Hard to remember, let alone find them in their original state. But if you would like some nostalgia for the internet circa late 1990s/early 2000s, this might get it going. (thanks, Anna)
Sometimes I feel like the less time I spend looking at social media and news sites, the better I feel. I get why this is—news has for a very long time been “if it bleeds, it leads,” and in the age of social media, bad things spread way more quickly than good things. But think about this for a second: Where does a conversation with a friend or friends go if you say:
a. “Did you see that story about [Politician X doing awful thing that must surely require them to have a cold, black heart, or at least be a complete narcissist]?” or
b. “Did you see that story about someone who dumped hundreds of pounds of cooked pasta in the woods in that town in New Jersey?”
My friend Mike Sowden has been writing this newsletter called Everything Is Amazing for a couple years now, and every time I read it I am a little envious of his ability to turn his own curiosity into something interesting for the rest of us. I was just reading his most recent post—brilliantly titled “The Fun Is Why”—about people doing things for the sake of doing them and why it’s important, or not important, or important because it’s not important, and thought maybe I’d grab one of his wonderful turns of phrase and quote it in this newsletter, but I had trouble deciding which one. And then I got most of the way through it, to the part about a gentleman being able to tell the difference between human blood and bat urine, and thought, “This essay started out with a very sweet story about a woman eating scones,” and you know, that’s kind of a big leap, but you know, it didn’t feel unnatural, and that’s kind of what Mike does. Anyway, you can read it, OR, listen to Mike read it, here.
It is really, really hard for me to not put a link to a McSweeney’s piece in every single edition of this newsletter. Swedish death cleaning? Sorry, no, Swedish death metal cleaning. I particularly appreciate the umlaut over every instance of the f-word in this piece.
Lastly: If you’re in or near Seattle this Saturday, I will be hanging around Assembly in Ballard from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on May 13th for the opening reception of my art installation there—it will be hanging for the next month, but I’ll only be there for a few hours on Saturday. (I also might be a few minutes late depending on how fast I run the Tiger Claw 50K in Issaquah that morning)