Welcome to January 2021’s Disappearing Moment, an inventory of opinions and experiences. I hope you enjoy it.
- Bodybuilding: The Complete Contest Preparation Handbook by Peter J. Fitschen and Cliff Wilson (2019) (Worth Reading): Yes, there’s a xenophobic, arbitrary distinction between body modification and Hollywood aesthetics. Reading about physique competitions (cf. models and actors) makes everyone’s vulnerability more tangible.
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (2014) (Highly Recommended): “In their broken state, they were judged and condemned by people whose commitment to fairness had been broken by cynicism, hopelessness, and prejudice.”
- Matt Levine’s Money Stuff newsletter (Recommended): Wonky financial news spun into pleonastic fables for adults. While none of the individual elements work, somehow the whole redeems the parts. Perfect bedtime reading.
- Laura Olin’s newsletter (Highly Recommended): “I dislike curated newsletters,” writes your hypocritical correspondent. Laura Olin is the exception; my aim here is to brighten your day like she brightens mine.
- Chronicled: Who Is Kamala Harris? (Worth Listen): Uneven production and storytelling about a fascinating subject. What separates successful politicians from the rest of us is their monumental confidence.
- Command Line Heroes (Recommended): An inclusive, entertaining show about coding and hardware. In Season 6, Saron Yitbahrak shares compelling, well researched stories about BIPOC inventors.
- Fiasco: Bush v. Gore (Recommended): In a corrupt system led by broken people, political catastrophe is innevitable. Leon Neyfakh of Slow Burn (Highly Recommended) documents these breakdowns in interviews and restrained exposition.
- Floodlines (Highest Recommendation): I was wrong about Katrina; it wasn’t about the storm. Vann R. Newkirk II’s humanities-centric journalism returns an indelible story to its owners.
- In the Dark (Highest Recommendation): Madeleine Baran combines forceful narratives with fearless, exhaustive research about corruption and incompetence. The concluding episodes of Season 2 are heartbreaking and gratifying.
- Lolita Podcast (Highly Recommended): Jamie Loftus is everywhere, including My Year in Mensa (Highly Recommended). She reveals her genius for nuance in this series about Lolita’s genesis and afterlife.
- The Shakeout (Recommended): A Canadian running-themed show hosted by Olympic-hopeful Kate Van Buskirk. Topics include social justice, doping, and community building. I skip the race results episodes.
- Somebody (Highly Recommended): Shapearl Wells searches for justice for her slain son, Courtney. A beautiful, painful, unpredictable story about racism, agony, and determination. He should still be alive.
- Two Minutes Past Nine (Highly Recommended): Leah Sottile first covered fascist bigots in Bundyville (Highly Recommended). In this series, she tells the story of Timothy McVeigh and the seeds of Trumpism.
- Who We Are (Highly Recommended): Carvell Wallace’s Closer Than They Appear (Highest Recommendation) is a masterpiece of self-exploration. Who We Are is about context: the omniprescence of structural racism.
Most passwords that you can remember are too simple to protect you. Use Bitwarden to create and store secure passwords. It’s free and open source.
We use the Soyabella Automatic Nut and Seed Milk Maker 3–4 times per week. Better, cheaper oat, rice, or nut milk is life-changing.
Personal Finance and Investing
For Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing, BlackRock has the best screens and the lowest prices. Also, they’re a Problem of Twelve superpower. Decisions, decisions.
A Demi-Abecedarian Enumeration
- “…and more”
- “from [X] to [Y]”
- Intimate (as a verb)
- Jam (indicating preference)
- Killer (indicating superiority)
- “May or may not”
Thanks for spending a few moments with me. I look forward to corresponding again next month.