I think there’s something to Joseph Campbell’s idea of there being one universal model of stories we tell—the Hero’s Journey—but I don’t think it covers 100 percent of stories. I think there’s a pretty good model of short adventure/outdoor sports films that I’d call “Let Me Tell You About My Friend.” It’s just a short biography showing a little bit of a person’s philosophy of life. I love these things. I think this one, To Be Frank, about 73-year-old surfer Frank Paine, has a ton of good moments and quotes in it, and is totally worth taking 10.5 minutes to watch today. (video)
I love Wikipedia, but I don’t know if it’s possible for it to give me the depth of experience I felt while sitting down with the 1988 edition of the World Book encyclopedias we had at home and just flipping pages to learn about whatever came next. If you are of a certain age and actually remember encyclopedias, you might be surprised to find out that World Book is still printing full sets of them. You also might be unexpectedly moved by this review/narrative by a guy who recently bought the 2023 set. (via Kottke.org)
I am trying to put my finger on why these miniature versions of old computers feel so warm with nostalgia for me, and I think it might be that computers before the internet (or at least before social media) felt like they had so much promise, and so little downside. And also maybe that I never had a love/hate relationship with, say the Apple IIe, which I only had access to at school a few hours a week. As opposed to the computer I carry in my pocket every day now, and half the time (or more) I wish I didn’t have it. Anyway, these models are incredible.
I shared a video about bike racer Alexandera Houchin a while back, and she touched on this a little bit in that video, but this essay about her relationship with her body/body image gets into it much more, and is really worth a read.
You might not be surprised that animals acted differently when humans were under lockdown early in the pandemic, but you might be surprised at how differently, and how soon they started doing it, as documented by wildlife trackers.
I almost put this video in the top spot of this week’s post, but it’s a little, uh, risque? It’s not really NSFW, but it is kind of weird, and there’s no nudity or profanity (except the line “I trust you because you have a dick,” I guess?), but it a) is a hilarious concept, b) makes a point in a very unforgettable fashion, and c) is only two minutes long.
Drew Magary readily admits he’s being romantic in this essay about his three kids’ relationship with the school bus, and the last ride his youngest child took on it a few weeks ago, but damn, I think it’s touching without being sappy. All of us have rituals, and whether we have feelings about them or not, when they one day end, there’s at least a small feeling of loss.
12 MUGS ENTER, 6 MUGS LEAVE
For my recent art installation at Assembly in Seattle, I made up 12 “first draft” coffee mug designs to put on the shelves there next to the prints we hung. Well, we only have room for six of these designs now, so for the month of June, we’re having a sort of Thunderdome playoff: Only the most popular designs survive. The six mugs that sell the most will stay on, the six mugs that sell the least will be deleted—which I guess makes them “Limited Edition” mugs. I’ll post the rankings at the end of every Friday newsletter until the end of June (for now, they’re listed in no particular order), when the winners will be announced. So far:
MUGS FACING ELIMINATION: