Disappearing Moment reflects my need to keep things simple. We can be mindful about how we spend our time and money. We can practice empathy and kindness. We can treat others the way they want to be treated ("The Platinum Rule"). Neither reading Disappearing Moment nor writing it should feel like an obligation.
This newsletter is a way for me to share my ideas and experiences. Sometimes you respond to something I have written. The handful of people who read this newsletter are some of my favorite people. Your observations are keen and well stated.
I want a way for these conversations to include more than just me and one other person. For them to occur without my intervention, and also without dopamine or reinforcement. With care and acknowledgment and cadence. So I created Perpetual August.
I think of it as a digital analog to Beth’s and my potlucks. We invite our friends and ask you not to respond. That way no one feels any pressure. Accepting responses would create an obligation. If you say you're attending, you feel bad if you don't, and we feel disappointed. The lack of obligation frees our friends to make decisions that feel right to them. No matter which or how many friends attend, Beth and I are elated.
Perpetual August is an opt-in community. Don't feel bad if you choose not to join, or join and choose not to take part. Or if you join and don't have much to say. Obligation is asphyxiation.
Many of us have been part of emergent, intimate, fulfilling online groups. Text threads. Mailing lists. Classes. Peer mentoring. Editorial boards. Tilde Clubs. MetaFilter. Mastadon. For the first two years of the pandemic, Beth and I chanted with friends, via Zoom, every weekday from 7 –7:15 a.m.
In its early days, many areas of the Internet felt intimate and fulfilling. Each September, a fresh batch of college students invaded these areas. Over the next few months, the newbies would acculturate. Then the process would repeat itself. Later on, the Internet's floodgates opened. I joined these communities, along with others like me. Longtime participants dubbed it "Eternal September".
Dross like Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Zhang Yiming make our spaces harmful. Their rent-seeking endangers our independence, privacy, and safety. “The paradigmatic 21st century business model is probably giving a product away for free, or at least below cost, in order to collect data that can be used for lucrative targeted advertising. This is how most email works, and basically all of social media....” One alternative is Perpetual August.
Welcome to January 2024’s Disappearing Moment, an inventory of my experiences. I hope you enjoy it.
Guaranteed (A Personal Favorite): My favorite host and interviewer, Eve Ewing, on basic income. If she makes a podcast, subscribe. A Ewing-Hobbes podcast would be the best ever.
We got a coffee percolator last month. We’re kickin’ it like my Mommu. Damn good coffee! And hot!
Personal Finance and Investing
Poor Charlie’s Almanack was an inter-library loan mainstay when I bought it for Collingswood Public Library. Stripe published it as a free ebook.
- Michael Azzerad, Our Band Could Be Your Life (2012) (I Loved It): Reagan-era American Punk as Lord of the Flies. (And Great Lakes Region, always.) The readers make it a worthy audiobook.
- Erin Berman, Sara Dallas, et al, Action Requested on behalf of the ALA Core Vales Task Force (A Personal Favorite). An inclusive process that made an important document short, clear, and memorable. It achieved its aim... and it annoyed entitled blowhards.
- Will Crichton, Portable EPUBs (I Loved It): Inexpensive, accessible technology can solve real problems. It's possible to explain complex ideas with plain language. Like this: HTML is good; PDF is trash.
- Laura Olin, You don’t have to have kids (A Personal Favorite): Laura Olin is the best. I love everything she writes. That’s not how I feel about Anne Helen Petersen and How to Kid-Proof Your Friendship.
- Leon Paternoster, Knowing your network: blocking Google from indexing your website (I Loved It). Fuck. Google.
The Most Underrated Women Runners in the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon
Earlier this week, I published an essay on the Women’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. It’s called, Olympic Trials: Predicting Orlando. I want the essay to appeal to people who don’t follow running, and also people who do. I want to tell a story that others aren’t telling. I want people who read it to watch the race on February 3 and care about the runners. Especially the most underrated athletes in the race.
- Tristin Van Ord
- Maggie Montoya
- Des Linden
- Jacqueline Gaughan
- Emily Durgin
Thanks for spending a few moments with me. I look forward to corresponding again next month.