5 Things I'm Into This Week #9


While all of us were distracted with “GameStock,” new variants of COVID, and new levels GOP bat-shittery, the new administration was busy getting down to business.

Biden spent most of his first days in office, well, actually, working. He ended the so-called “Muslim ban,” reframed the battle against COVID as a “wartime effort” (finally!), and rejoined the World Health Organization.

Actual, tangible progress. Who'd have thought?

Apparently, not the press. They seemed to have missed the message that grievance culture and performative outrage are out. We’re a tired, angry nation. We don’t need any more gas thrown on that fire. While we’re at it, can someone please tell the NYT we don’t need anymore think pieces on the “aggrieved Trump voter?” It’s over.

We’re back to focusing on what doesn’t matter with the President (tan suit, anyone?). The recent pearl-clutching over Biden’s watch or his bike is annoying but in a small way also kind of a relief.

Given a choice, I’d much rather be debating the security levels of a Peleton than watching a sitting president try to overthrow our entire democracy.

From the always excellent Press Run newsletter:

“The gotcha formula is strange, because wealthy politicians who advocate for the poor should be celebrated, not questioned. By definition, they’re not looking out for themselves, or their one percent tax bracket. Instead, they’re using their positions in power to try to advance an agenda of justice and lifting people up.”

We’re addicted to outrage, and the Fourth Estate is addicted to supplying it, but focusing on “boring” things like policy updates and initiatives would do us all a world of good. No more “both sides-ism,” no more pandering for clicks/eyeballs. Just a speedball of actual information and retelling of facts as they’ve occurred.

We may be addicted to outrage, but this is the best kind of withdrawal.


On to the good stuff:

Ear Candy: I was supposed to be on vacation this week. Actually, I am on vacation, we just didn’t go anywhere. That’s turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Getting up when it’s light and going to bed when it’s dark has been a nice change from my normal schedule. That said, I really missed chasing the sun this year. So I did the next best thing and made a playlist of tracks that remind me of the previous trips we’ve taken, or just help me escape.

Speaking of travel: Last week, I linked to an article about travelers gaming the system. The goal is to essentially fly for free every time. Some of the methods simply take advantage of loopholes in the system (kinda like Gamestop), and some are sketchy at best. This week, American Airlines dropped the hammer on these shenanigans. I can’t link to it directly, but if you go here and scroll down to “Latest Communications,” you’ll find this update:

Translation: “We’re done tolerating this nonsense.”

(H/T to the Cranky Flier blog for sharing this story)

While I’m not yet back in the air, I find still watching shorts about other corners of the globe fascinating. Tik Tok might have had its Sea Shanty thing going, but this short film about actual shanties in England’s PlotLand’s is amazing.

Books: I recently finished “The Creative’s Curse” by Todd Brison, and Essential by The Minimalists (not affiliate links). I cannot recommend these enough. If you are in any way creative, Brison’s book is a must-read. If you are looking to clear out the white noise in your life, pick up Essential.

Both have me feeling a little better about the world, and the path I’m on.

In the meantime, here’s a quick read using packing for a trip as a metaphor for the baggage we carry around in our lives. The takeaway: Don’t overpack.

Eye Candy: I might not be able to use my passport, but I can be a tourist in my own town. Sometimes from the comfort of my own couch. This Instagram Account never fails to make my part of the world seem like a Wonderland. Maybe ‘cause it is.

Onward up the mountain,

Kevin—

Coda:

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