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The Friday 10: Edition #14
Zero Politics Edition
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No politics this round. Though I'm but one voice and one medium, I don't much feel like spotlighting and/or contributing to the past couple of days' deafening din of spin and fact-free rhetoric, the volume of which is already at such a level as to make triaging the truth an exercise in futility. Plus, I imagine that many of you could do without the
political strife confected drama instigated by people who've apparently decided civility and benefit of the doubt are luxuries we can't afford anymore, so intolerable is the status quo.
But I wanted to say thank you to everyone who took the time to complete my little survey thingy. It can be hard evaluating oneself with an objective lens these days; after a while, navigating the murky liminal zone between “what I think is worth writing about” and “what others think is worth reading about” becomes an increasingly fraught undertaking. Your feedback serves as a general azimuth, and so it's very much appreciated.
It was completely anonymous, of course, the survey. Which sort of sucks because I was surprised by the many kind comments, and I'd have liked to respond to each individually, if only as a small token of gratitude. I don't exactly have a ton of subscribers at this here letter of news, but I have more than I think I should. Maybe I’m afflicted with what the kids call “imposter syndrome” or whatever, but I sincerely mean it when I say it’s an honor to have each of you as a reader, regardless of whether you're a paying or free subscriber. It's one thing for some friends and family to subscribe; it's another thing entirely when complete strangers do, and every time I receive an email notification about a new subscriber, it's very heartening.
The whole “you have to write for yourself” thing has never really worked for me. If, economically speaking, writing is to be a viable vocation, writers need readers. This is problematic if you're loath to throw your hat in the ring and join the ranks of today's product prostitutes (“influencers”) and spotlight whores (“contemporary ambitiosus”)—so callously self-absorbed as to be just shy of homicidally inclined when personal advancement is at stake.
Which is to say, I'm honored that any of you think something I've penned is worth a gander. Melodramatic, I know. But I sincerely endeavor to deliver the best product I can. (Believe me, whenever I find a typo post facto, I groan, audibly, and there's usually a bit of invective thrown in as well.) You're more than a mere sound board for yours truly. It's difficult for a writer to be of service to his readers, especially during an era defined by a ruthless attention economy that's given rise to a rate of consumption leveling everything out into an undifferentiated mass—but that's my goal. To make words sound pretty, and to make complex stuff less complex, and to maybe even illuminate truth and breach what’s become brittle with certainty instead of just adding more noise to the overall roar, like the party-line pundits and propagandists who now are in such vogue, for whom writing is not service but a completely ideological and reductive matter of reinforcing one’s own identity by rationalizing the abhorrent into something more palatable so you and your audience can continue hating the people it feels good to hate and essentially live in an alternate reality.
I want to provide reading fare that, at a minimum, helps turn down the ambient volume of your own life in such a way that you become a better person for having blessed me with your time and attention. But. But. I confess that my success in attaining this outcome could very well have the temporal periodicity of a comet’s near-earth trajectory.
I shall try, though. Thank you again.
A “Monday wash” in New York City, 1900.
Saturn at night.
One of the most detailed images of Pluto.
A gold bar from the wreck of the Atocha, a Spanish treasure ship that sank in 1622.
Chichen Itza, 1892 vs. now.
Houesville in Normandy, France, 1944 vs. now.
Interesting differences between what men and women like to read.
“An internationally acclaimed voice in wellness, highly sought after for her insights on 21st-century yoga and intersectional identity.”
Titanic dry dock, 1912 vs. 2015.
“Imagine the compliance.”
You ever look at someone and instantly know beyond any shadow of a doubt that he’s a mammoth bag of scum?
The Amazon River, as seen from space.
One of the most detailed images of Mercury.
48 different colors of the Moon over the last 10 years.
This dude is my spirit animal.
May 17th Lunar Eclipse
A 4,000 year old rock seemingly cut with a laser.
Inside of a commercial airplane, 1930.
Jupiter and its 4 moons.
Saturn, as seen behind the moon.
Hey, Benjamin: Complacency kills.
A 1666 plague stone.
“In plague-stricken 17th century England, the need to quarantine sufferers of the disease produced a number of unusual social conventions. Among these was the establishment of so-called plague stones, which served as meeting places for, and boundaries between, the healthy and the sick within an affected community. In addition to serving as a site for exchanging messages, the stones also functioned as a point of commerce where goods were left for the ill, who in turn paid for them by placing coins in a hollow carved into the top of the stone and filled with disinfecting vinegar.”
The Shambles, one of the best-preserved medieval shopping streets in Europe. (York, UK)
I will continue to post pro-Elon Musk content until people stop acting like he’s the worst thing to happen to this country since Peanut Butter Cinnamon Toast Crunch was discontinued and I feel like that’s more than fair.
This is called leading by example, which I'm a staunch proponent of. Leaders eat last. →
Mount Fuji under the night sky.
Opportunity Rover looking back at its track on Mars.
The left hand of the Statue of Liberty under construction, 1883.
Putting the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza into perspective.
Meh. Moderate workout.
Welp. Me and Joy agree on something.
Stalin in Bailov Prison, Baku, Azerbaijan, March 1910.
Meanwhile, in Colombia. . .
The country's leading presidential candidate, Gustavo Petro, closed out his campaign behind a bulletproof lectern, flanked by dudes holding bulletproof shields.
New York, New York
Machu Picchu, Peru, 1915 vs. 2020.
A giant Cardon cactus in Mexico, circa 1890s — 8 meters tall and 10 tons.
The Milky Way over the Sahara.
The hubris is just mind-blowing.
It’s been roughly three months and you’re already running out of tanks, you’re cannibalizing BTGs, you lost your navy’s flagship to a country without a navy, and you still haven’t managed to establish air superiority against an air force that has less operational aircraft than Fort Benning. If the U.S. alone decided to employ its full military might against you, it’d be over in less than a week, and that’s not an exaggeration. You think you’re having morale issues now, wait ‘til you see what an A-10 does.