Snow Days

Thanks to co-workers who heroically came into work last week even though they were hacking, coughing and sneezing, I have the fortune/misfortune of being home sick today. The good news is that I won’t be distracted from today’s snow storm by things like meetings, e-mails and phone calls. I will be home all day to watch the storm and, assuming I don’t fall asleep, documenting it throughout the day.

9:00 am

9am

This is how it looks at the start of the day. There is some leftover snow from the weekend but it’s not much. I was hoping for everything to be covered in white.

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Lochte’s Privilege Blindspot

When the news broke that Ryan Lochte’s story didn’t hold up under (minimal) scrutiny, I, like everyone else, waited to hear what Lochte and the three other US swimmers (Gennar Bentz, Jack Conger, and James Feigen) were covering up. It is the way of the world to tell an outrageous lie to hide a minimal transgression. In Lochte’s case, the real story was that he and the other swimmers had been out late partying, and then kicked open and broke a bathroom door at a gas station, and urinated in public. The incident should have been resolved when Lochte and the swimmers agreed to compensate that gas station for the property damage, except Lochte told his mother that they had been robbed at gunpoint. From there it became an international incident.

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Things I Read and Recommend from 2016

Every December writers on the information superhighway (what’s up Clive) write posts with links to the best stuff they read during the year. Those posts are great because they sometimes turn you on to stuff you missed, but also because they remind about how much you enjoyed something you read.

I decided to keep track of good things I read in 2016 and post it in December and that was fine until I asked myself why not post it around the midpoint of the year and then post an update in December. That way stuff from the first half of the year wouldn’t get lost.

This list is not exhaustive of all the great stuff that’s out there. Much of it, most of it, resonates with me personally, which means if you have a similar world view to me then you’ve probably read most of this and will like some of the stuff you missed.

Originally I was going to limit myself to one link per writer but there are some writers, like Laurie Penny, who are so versatile that I discarded my arbitrary limit. Others like Helena Fitzgerald and Matt Zoller Seitz write directly to my soul. Looking through this list now I see that writers like Mo Ryan, Emily Nussbaum and everyone at Vox (especially Caroline, Dylan and Todd) are underrepresented or not represented at all.  I also notice that I have nothing from Annie Lowrey or Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine, which I regret. I’m going to stop now because the list of people I’ve overlooked could go on forever. I endeavor to do better.

I still have a lot of stuff from the first half of the year that I’d plan to read so things will be added. I welcome any suggestions.

The final thing I want to add is that there are countless more great things out there to consume but two things I especially enjoy are Helena Fitzgerald‘s TinyLetter (straight to my soul) and Jonah Keri‘s podcast. I will try to get my TinyLetter off the ground later this year. (Watch this space.)

Enjoy!

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Faith in a Scary World

One morning, years ago, I was coming up the stairs from the subway platform and I heard and then saw a man preaching about his god. The man was indifferent to the general indifference of the commuters and kept on preaching with enthusiasm and volume. It occurred to me that the man’s life must be very comforting. He knew what he was going to do when he got up in the morning and he was more energized by this chosen work than I have ever been about mine. I will also add that the man was clearly mentally ill, although I can no longer remember how that was.

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Well I was young and I didn’t know what to do

For October 10, 2015

So yesterday I wrote about my father and maybe it was a bit of a downer. About eight or so years after Springsteen wrote yesterday’s song he wrote today’s, which means he was closer to my current age when he wrote it. It seem like Springsteen had started to mellow just as I had.

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Nothing we can say is gonna change anything now

For October 9, 2015

There are a lot of songs by Springsteen that are about his relationship with his father. The two of them never really connected. While this is not one of the main reasons that I’m a fan, it is something he and I have in common. Maybe that’s just the way it is with fathers and sons. I’m pretty sure I’m not the son that my father wanted me to be, and I know that works in reverse.

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You better look hard and look twice

For September 18, 2015

When Tunnel of Love came out in October 1987 I have to admit that I didn’t get it. I don’t mean that I didn’t like it (I thought the album was excellent), but that I didn’t understand it. I remember watching the video for “Brilliant Disguise”, the album’s first single, a video that is a continuous shot of Springsteen playing guitar and singing the song (the vocals in the video are live), and the camera just keeps pushing in until it’s close up on Springsteen’s face. It fit the song, of course, not that I go it.

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Now you’ll be hangin’ tight when we hit the top

For September 7, 2015

I’ve written before about the State Fair which would should up i my hometown annually around Labor Day. It was exciting for us growing up as it was the only time of year when there were thrill rides closer than an hour’s drive from our house. Once my sisters and I were old enough we started questioning the safety of those rides, and exchanging urban legends about how one fell apart and someone was killed, but that didn’t stop us from wanting to go.

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My sweet Jenny, I’m sinkin’ down

For September 1, 2015

So sometimes a Springsteen song is also a history lesson, and sometimes its the history of something other than the band. In the case of today’s song, it’s a short history lesson about a steel city in Ohio. Have you ever been to Youngstown? I never have. It’s at the intersection of I-80 and I-76, east of Akron and northwest of Pittsburgh.

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You got a one way ticket to the promised land

For August 31, 2015

America likes to think of itself as the Promised Land, or at least as a promised land. The Land of Opportunity. The American Dream. You can be anything you want in America, as long as you are willing to work hard. That’s the idea, right? That’s the big lie, because there are things (like race, like gender) which matter more than how hard you work. It’s the big lie because not everyone gets an opportunity.

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Now the joke’s coming up through the soles of my feet

For August 30, 2015

After about a year of therapy we (my therapist and I) have finally started to make some progress. To be clear, this is not my therapist’s fault. I am a believer in being honest in therapy but there were two problems with my approach. One, being honest doesn’t require telling everything. I spent a lot of time not quite getting around to some of the most useful topics. Two, being honest doesn’t do much good if you lie to yourself. Once I realized I was doing that things became more interesting.

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