Friday Inspiration 400

When I was in high school, my friend Dan stood in front of his freshman English class to give a book report and started with the line, “Many of us have never beaten a dead horse.” The book had nothing to do with horses, and his book report didn’t relate at all to the literal or figurative beating of a dead horse—he just wanted to begin his presentation with something ridiculous. After years of studying and practicing writing, including hours and hours spent trying to nail that perfect opening line, I still think often about Dan’s opener, which made no sense then, doesn’t make any sense now, but still makes me laugh.

So, If I may figuratively beat a dead horse: This is the 400th edition of this Friday newsletter. I often find a way to include a link to support the newsletter, and it always feels like I’m mentioning it too much, or too often, and maybe annoying people with it. BUT: I’m able to keep doing the newsletter because people support it financially for a couple dollars a month—and that’s a huge factor in keeping me from quitting this to find a real job so I can live indoors and help feed myself and my family.

If you’re looking for an excuse to support this newsletter and keep it coming into your inbox every week, the 400th edition is as good as any. Here’s the link to my Patreon, which will probably take you all of 120 seconds to set up (and you’ll get to see the new floor I installed in my office in an attempt to stop my feet from going numb this winter, among other behind-the-scenes stuff):

Thank you. Without further ado, here is Friday Inspiration 400:


I’ve been following Malik Martin on Instagram for a long time now, and I love his brand of wisdom and general approach to life, as a climber who grew up in Memphis. This short film is such a great portrait of him, and his relationship with his friend Conrad Anker, and his perspective on being in the mountains. (video)

screen capture from Malik


I don’t know why you read this newsletter, but if it isn’t to scroll through photographic evidence of Taco Bell’s architecture and design evolution through the years, then maybe you just skip clicking on this link, which made me surprisingly nostalgic for some of those old Taco Bell buildings and signage.

I just subscribed to this Substack, Noted, based on this wonderful piece on the notebooks of Jean-Michel Basquiat, and was reminded of the brilliant handwritten C.V. Basquiat provided for someone who asked for it (and was thankfully was preserved).

I don’t know if Eater is republishing this interview from back in 2015 when the cookbook Prison Ramen: Recipes and Stories from Behind Bars came out, but as someone who had not heard of this book until right now, I love the whole concept, and the interview explaining it.

Can’t make it to the Brooklyn Museum to see the “Spike Lee: Creative Sources” exhibit before February 4th, please allow me to humbly recommend this interview with him about all the cool stuff that will be on display, and also about how cool it must be to be Spike Lee and have Prince just give you his guitar, and for Michael Jordan to give you a signed pair of the Air Jordans he wore beating your Knicks, and for Robert DeNiro to sign your Raging Bull poster, and on and on.

If you haven’t heard of Dutch Artist Theo Jansen, these photos of his latest work will probably impress you, and the short video of the whole thing moving across a beach might make you feel … well, I don’t know, but something.

How many people, upon hearing about Michelin star ratings for restaurants, at one point asked, “Michelin? Like the tire company?” This short video is a fun explainer.

To keep with the theme of beating a dead horse, here’s a link where you can support my work