Friday, January 1st, 2021
Cute, if harrowing: the no-longer economically viable Simpsons household, a piece in The Atlantic by Dani Alexis Ryskamp.
Tuesday, December 15th, 2020
Ross Douthat in his typical perfect way essays on American childbearing in the really nice magazine Plough.
Thursday, August 20th, 2020
The iPhone matters more than anything … it is the foundation of modern life.
Ben Johnson, “Apple, Epic, and the App Store”
Saturday, August 15th, 2020
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
Jordan Peterson has huge charisma, period, and his recent travails serve to render him even more human. His efforts to ground our current unmoored times (the chaos referred to in the title) in the fertile garden of our intellectual and spiritual heritage (the curative order) are the work of the angels.
The first of his 12 Rules for Life is Nietzschian, an evolutionary biological backgrounder for the maxim to fake it till you make it. The second is Rousseauian: we must love ourselves with amour de soi rather than amour-propre. But the whole thing — and particularly this second rule — is peppered with discussion of founts fundamental to me — Genesis, Taoism, Jung — so that the book feels like it fell out of my own mind, albeit a more disciplined, erudite, deeper version.
Either because of this over-familiarity or because the book is in fact junk food, I cannot remember anything of it as I revisit a few weeks later to write this. Is Peterson merely an Alain de Botton of the Right, a popularizer / informal codifier of what every self-respecting Westerner already knows? Either I need to pick up the book and start again, or perhaps stop reading everything else and get back to the Bible, Plato and Aristotle.
Friday, July 31st, 2020
The Smithsonian posts a nice little piece on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent House, designed for the wheelchair-bound client who clearly adored his wonderful home, which is now thankfully a museum.
Saturday, July 11th, 2020
A nice straightforward yet telling piece in Prospect Magazine on ambivalence towards domesticity.
Monday, June 15th, 2020
David Goldman produces a fact-filled yet overarchingly-theoried analysis of the mid-pandemic race-themed disturbances. Like for Palestinians, he argues it’s about humiliation. Goldman is sympathetic but not sycophantic, analytic but not caustic.
Thursday, April 2nd, 2020
Bret writes a very nice one about his great Mum during these terrible days of Covid-19.
Sunday, March 1st, 2020
DesignBoom’s sauna page. This is just great work about great work about great living.
Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of an Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
Brent Schlener and Rick Tetzell
Although the simple thesis gets repeated interminably, nonetheless it’s a nice one: that Steve Jobs’s greatness stems muchly from his constant becoming, constant learning, constant trying to overcome himself (hence the title, which can be read as descriptive).
It’s great to be in his company, which you feel you are, as one of the authors was himself repeatedly so for decades.
One thing new to me was Pixar’s role in maturing Jobs; we don’t often read about who and what shaped the shaper.
Friday, February 21st, 2020
From Paul Graham’s essay “Having Kids”, December 2019:
I remember perfectly well what life was like before. Well enough to miss some things a lot, like the ability to take off for some other country at a moment’s notice. That was so great. Why did I never do that?
Wednesday, December 4th, 2019
What a gorgeous country revealed in this photo essay of contemporary life in Iran.
Friday, November 22nd, 2019
The Smithsonian Magazine excerpts Paul Hendrickson’s Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright. Among the gems:
- “…[Wright’s] 72-year career as an architect and egotist…”
- “…[Wright buildings] come magically out of the American ground looking for the light…”
- “…[Wright,] the old shaman…”
- “…There are certain moments, standing in [Wright homes], if the light is falling right, when it will begin to seem as if Whitman is singing to Emerson, or vice versa…”
Will the author spoil it for me though? Among the crisps are tonal annoyances such as beginning sentences with “Heck,”…
Saturday, November 2nd, 2019
Tuesday, October 1st, 2019
The sweaters of Succession. By Vulture.
Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
This Gates Foundation presentation on global inequality is clear, straightforward, well-written, nicely illustrated with animated graphs, and surely worth the time of anyone who can access it.
Sunday, May 26th, 2019
Goodbye, Judith Kerr, goodbye!
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019
When you’re with someone you put up with stuff that makes you lose respect for them. And that is love.
Erin Hannon in The Office
Thursday, January 17th, 2019
Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019
Tuesday, January 1st, 2019
Chronicling from “below the API line”, as Venkatesh Rao calls it, are Austin Murphy with “I Used to Write for Sports Illustrated. Now I Deliver Packages for Amazon” in The Atlantic and Lauren Hough with “I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America” in The Huffington Post.
The depicted harshness of American work life for so many is terrible not just for those involved but for all. (Also these two share a prodigious unmet need to urinate on the job — is this the top new workplace tribulation?)
Saturday, November 17th, 2018
“Respected journalist” Joel Golby has pulled off a rather spectacular series of mini-essays for Vice in Choose Your Own Adventure: Friday Night Edition!. More relevant perhaps for people say a quarter of a century younger than me, but one can appreciate.
Sunday, November 11th, 2018
It All Adds Up
Bellow is meaty to pick up on any topic; we’re confident in the arms of a leading novelist. His tributes to old friends read the richest, even though impressionistic, more journalistic pieces such as his coverage of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty signing are also satisfying.
Wednesday, October 17th, 2018
Saturday, September 22nd, 2018
How did I not know about ribbonfarm all these years; truly I’ve been living under a rock for ages. Thoughtful, concise, erudite, relevant: Tendrils of Mess in our Brains by Sarah Perry.
Thursday, August 2nd, 2018
Why was he like this to her? Excerpt from Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ upcoming book about her father Steve.
Wednesday, July 11th, 2018
Well, this an extravaganza of an article, practically a short book, on the American 9.9%.
Sunday, June 17th, 2018
As my year of diving languorously into the murky waters of the Wake wore on, I came to feel that it was this failure, this impossibility, this grand futility of the Wake, that constituted its secret theme, its true aboutness.
Tuesday, June 5th, 2018
Justice Anthony Kennedy: “The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.”
Thursday, May 31st, 2018
The Dawn of Day
This is a delicious book to pick up in spurts — BMW punchy as Emerson is Rolls-Royce bubbly — but I couldn’t say what it’s chiefly about, where it starts, where it ends, how it fits in with Nietzsche’s other books, nor whether I’ve even read it before (I do remember particular points but perhaps they’re also mentioned in the other books). As usual this 19th-century giant sounds as if he writes… this morning.
Friday, May 11th, 2018
“The Moment” is an occasional column/blog by novelist Amit Chaudhuri in The Paris Review.
Saturday, April 7th, 2018
From 2014: The Economist introduces us to Sebastian de Grazia’s 1962 Of Time, Work and Leisure. Increasingly, leisure is not for the rich but for the poor.
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018
For a variety of reasons, in many countries around the world, dishwashers are not popularly used appliances.
I remember reading that Shimon Peres said he liked doing the dishes — it was his thinking time. Is that what everybody’s doing?
Otherwise, why not a dishwasher if you live in an economy where they are affordable and not in a city where you eat out every meal? It’s more economical, it’s less work; it seems a no-brainer. To stand for an hour or so every evening manually scrubbing? Not as arduous as washing clothes but still something that the machine’s been doing a lot better job of for decades. Huh.
Friday, March 23rd, 2018
If you’re worried about Facebook, just take a look at WeWork.
Thursday, March 15th, 2018
The Bloomsbury set thought about work and leisure, with ideas for today as we wrestle more universally with these issues.
Tuesday, March 6th, 2018
A review of the new disenchantment with our overly-enchanting digital lives by one Arianna Huffington of all people.
Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
Another Tim Ferriss Show link, this time a joyful 2-hour interview with Terry Crews, artist, athlete, movie actor, taboo-dispeller, celebrity, self-help book aficionado.
Friday, November 24th, 2017
Jon Stewart with Howard Stern for some 90 minutes; they cover family, showbusiness, animal welfare. Two fine Yiddle, unlocked.
Sunday, September 10th, 2017
In this adaptation from Esther Perel’s forthcoming book The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, the argument goes that extra-marital affairs are often about self-development.
Wednesday, August 9th, 2017
The key to healthy aging is relationships, relationships, relationships. This from an 80-year ongoing study of Harvard’s class of ’38.
Tuesday, July 25th, 2017
InspireConversation is the parenting blog of, together with his wife, Jason Greenblatt. He is the presidential envoy who accompanied Israel’s Head of Security Services to Jordan to defuse the recent Israeli embassy crisis there.
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017
At the Borei Choshech blog about depression and Jewish prayer, a brief discussion on an important part of the Jewish morning prayer, Elohai Neshama.
Thursday, June 1st, 2017
Brian Nemhauser’s inspiring rule of yes on requesting personal time from one’s co-parent.
Sunday, May 7th, 2017
Friday, May 5th, 2017
A modest photoblog of a 5-day trip across Israel by Daniel Tchetchik, Haaretz Photography Blog editor.
Sunday, April 23rd, 2017
Nice little piece about marriage: change is the constant.
Tuesday, January 31st, 2017
“Yesterday we had a fight about whether I’d been dismissive about him saying his feelings had been hurt by my dismissing his feelings during a previous fight…” From the amusing but very dark Narcissism: a reflection by Laura Kipnis in Spiked.
Monday, January 30th, 2017
It seems to be a deceptively hard song to cover, but here’s a good one with a man, a woman and a ukulele on a living-room sofa, deceptively casual, deceptively perfect. Nobody’s done it better, not even Radiohead. And for something completely different: a great ‘Nobody Does it Better’ series montage by Rik Moran.
Wednesday, January 18th, 2017