Oct 03, 2014

filtered, week of sep 29 2014

Friday! It’s going to be 87° this afternoon here in San Francisco; perfect weather for this week’s top ten plus a kicker.

  1. Pablo Sandoval.
  2. ESPN’s longread on Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper’s friendship. “Watching baseball with Kruk and Kuip is like sitting at a neighborhood bar with two best friends who happen to be hilarious ex-players and want nothing more than for you to enjoy the experience as much as they do.” I was traveling this summer when the news hit about Kruk’s illness, and somehow completely missed it. Kruk and Kuip (along with Jon Miller and Dave Fleming on the radio) make it that much more fun to be a Giants fan, and now I’m preemptively dreading the loss of Krukow.
  3. David Mitchell on How to Write: “Neglect Everything Else.” I’m still making my way through The Bone Clocks, which I think needs to be done slowly because holy shit, it’s David fucking Mitchell. I haven’t reached the point where he jumps forward to 2040, but in a recent interview with The Atlantic, he talks about his process for writing things set in the future: “What’s the difference between you and your great great great-grandfather? What makes you different? I think the answer is this: What you take for granted. What you take for granted about your life, about your rights, about people around you. About ethnicity, gender, sexuality, work, God. Your relationship with the state. The state’s obligations and duties to you: Health care, education, recreation. What you take for granted about all these things is I think what marks one culture from from another, and one generation from another.”
  4. Elizabeth Lopatto’s “greatest angry lady distorted guitar playlist.” Because you obviously need more Veruca Salt, Sleater-Kinney, Metric, PJ Harvey and Joan Jett in your life. This has been on repeat during my morning runs. Speaking of which…
  5. Having a friend keep you honest about running. Having someone ask you in person “did you get out this morning?” is better than the Nike app, better than the Apple Health app, better than Strava. The charts and graphs aren’t motivating me to strap on the shoes at 6am, it’s the wicked combination of pride and shame.
  6. Dan Barber from Blue Hill says farm-to-table isn’t working. The problem? Demand from restaurants for specific ingredients puts economic incentive on the farmers to avoid doing basic things like rotating their crops. “I was treating Klaus’ farm like a grocery store, cherry-picking the ingredient I most wanted for my menu. Yes, it created a market for his local emmer wheat, so I called myself a farm-to-table chef. But I was doing nothing to support the entirety of the system.”
  7. Sam Altman invests (personally) in reddit. The Y Combinator / Hacker News / reddit dynamics are sort of, um, interesting there, but this bit caught my eye. “It’s always bothered me that users create so much of the value of sites like reddit but don’t own any of it. So, the Series B Investors are giving 10% of our shares in this round to the people in the reddit community, and I hope we increase community ownership over time.”
  8. Uber Optics. “Surely, no modern, wealthy society — say, one in which an app-powered ‘your own private driver’ service might thrive — would force professional, full-time teachers to also drive cars in order to make a living, nor would anyone celebrate that it was happening.” Matt Buchanan nails it with this one. That Uber post was completely tone deaf.
  9. Dollaraday.co: “Dollar A Day is a simple new way to discover and support amazing nonprofits. We feature one great organization every day, everyone automatically donates $1.” One of those obvious ideas that makes you slap your head and think “I wish I had thought of that.” I’m glad they thought of it.
  10. The fine art of bullshit, killed by Google. “Are Steven Tyler and Mary Tyler Moore brother and sister?” Of course they aren’t, but man don’t you wish they kind of were?

I’ve been watching The West Wing (again), and have been reminded that one of my favorite television characters of all time was Mary-Louise Parker’s Amy Gardner. There’s a moment in Season 3 that is just brilliant writing, where Amy tells Josh that he’s the kind of guy that needs to be hit over the head. Then a few minutes later, as he’s leaving her office, she throws a water balloon at him. The punchline is amazing…

Hitting hi over the head.

The thing is, if you weren’t paying attention to the prior episode, you’d be asking yourself “who the hell has balloons lying around their office?” Well, Amy does, of course. Because she’s learning to make balloon animals. The writing and acting in this scene couldn’t have been any better…even if they had been pediconferencing.