That thing where you listen to a competently conducted interview that nevertheless doesn’t address the questions you have in your own head.
A bassist admitted to burning 3 churches to raise his profile as a black metal musician. I knew there was a reason I didn’t like black metal, beyond simply the terrible aesthetics.
Patrick Rhone writes about why he used Amazon for affiliate links and why he no longer does so. He now favors a site called Indiebound, which serves to federate a group of independent bookstores and positions itself as the conscientious consumer alternative to Amazon.
In the post, Rhone quotes Dan J on the danger of using the ubiquitous e-commerce site for book recommendations.
The problem with linking to Amazon as a “safe default” is the same as the problem with just publishing your book on Amazon and calling it a day: it entrenches Amazon as The One True Place Where Books Are, and, while convenient, that’s not good… it’s not good for society to have one big private corporation responsible for distributing such a huge proportion of the collective written work of the human race.
This highlights a problem that pops into my brain every time I make a purchase from Amazon. Not only do I not want Amazon to own the market on books, I don’t want them to own the market on almost any category of consumer goods. I would rather they not be the leading retailer of apparel, furniture, electronics, vinyl records, hygiene merchandise or any other product groups.
When I was younger, Blockbuster Video was in its ascendency. As they grew, I watched a pattern emerge. When there were good, independent video stores in the same area, Blockbuster aggressively sent out coupons that offered excellent deals on rentals. They were enticing and certainly gave a customer reason to choose them over the competition. When, inevitably, the independent stores went our of business, the well of coupons from Blockbuster magically dried up. I witnessed this phenomenon play out a number of times.
I can’t help but think of the Blockbuster strategy whenever I can choose between Amazon and a viable alternative. The alternative would preferably be an independent business, but even another corporate chain is better. A chain or independent, hopefully, that specializes in a certain segment of products and that can build their business around enthusiastic customers.
I say all of these things as an Amazon shareholder who fully believes the market has room for a variety of retail establishments and that, despite that, Amazon will continue to grow.
🍿 Just watched A Marriage Story. As an alternative, I could have just stabbed myself in the heart 20x.
From Deviantart, a beautifully subtle Mandalorian wallpaper in an assortment of colors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0.
Baby Yoda forever!
This winner of the Best Bocumentary (Short Subject) Oscar this year went to the film Learning To Skate In A War Zone (If You’re A Girl), about the courageous girl skateboarders in Afghanistan.
I fear for the individuals involved in this just as I revel in their enthusiasm. Having been a skateboarder myself, I recognize what an important outlet it can be and I believe that goes doubly for these girls from Afghanistan.
This California fire is going to make already long waits for vinyl records even longer. The only other lacquer manufacturer is in Japan and is really backed up already.
John Pavlovitz found himself buying bananas the day after his father died. He was going through such a normal part of life, but inside he felt anything but normal.
Everyone around you; the people you share the grocery store line with, pass in traffic, sit next to at work, encounter on social media, and see across the kitchen table—they’re all experiencing the collateral damage of living. They are all grieving someone, missing someone, worried about someone. Their marriages are crumbling or their mortgage payment is late or they’re waiting on their child’s test results, or they’re getting bananas five years after a death and still pushing back tears because the loss feels as real as it did that first day.
I can vividly remember, in 2007, taking a walk on my lunch break from work, after finding out that my father was terminally ill. It was the most beautiful day imaginable, the sun was shining and the temps were in the seventies, but I was completely unable to feel the comfort of the perfect weather. I couldn’t even contemplate ever getting my way past that internal ache that was so much stronger than anything nature could provide as soothing balm.
Who among us hasn’t had these times? There are almost inevitably seasons where we’re unable to feel the cool breeze cutting through the punishment of a blazing sun. We don’t go around wearing signs, but Pavlovitz visualizes how helpful it would be, anyway. There often are no noticeable signals. No helpful indicator lights to let people know our emotional tanks are almost on empty.
Whether your reference point is Ecclesiastes or The Byrds, “to everything there is a season.” It can be hard to know in which season a person is dwelling, though. So we have to tread carefully with those around us.
Pavlovitz sums it up nicely.
We need to remind ourselves just how hard the hidden stories around us might be, and to approach each person as a delicate, breakable, invaluable treasure—and to handle them with care.
Every week, Medium sends an email about an article urging people not to “fall in love with a smart, introverted man.” For some reason, they seem to feel this is a particularly clear and present danger for me.