April 4, 2023

Looking for delight

If you asked my what my favorite word in the world is, I’d say it’s a toss up between delight” and grace.”

I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to say about grace sometime soon, but today, I’m thinking a lot about delight.

Every day, I look for the little moments of joy, the little bits of delight that cross my path. I even have a prompt in my nightly journal to encourage me to look back upon the day and describe what delighted me.

Today, I’m delighted that we can see a brief sliver of the moon just above the rising sun. Yesterday, I was delighted by the colors of the tulips on our kitchen counter. The day before that, the delight of a robin singing outside the window in the early dawn.

This pursuit of delight is a conscious one; it involves closely noticing the environment that surrounds me and seeing the joy in small moments. Noticing is, after all, a way to show we care, and seeking out small delights is my way of showing love to the world around me.

It is also good for my mental health. adrienne maree brown captures it well:

put your attention on joy, being connected and feeling whole, and you will find it everywhere. your heart will still break. you will know grief. but you will find it a reasonable cost for the random abundance of miracles, and the soft wild rhythms of love.

I am constantly in search for the random abundance of miracles” in my life. That you are reading this is one of those miracles; thank you for bringing delight to my day.

A poem

Instructions on Not Giving Up
Ada Limón

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

Fun-Size Hustle:

The message of school fundraising is the same one that adults are taught about jobs: Working hard is rewarded, whether with a paycheck or a toy. And if your paycheck is too small or you want more than one backpack tag, work harder. Never mind that this message completely disregards the fact that who a person knows and where they’re from can lead to wildly different outcomes for doing the same work as their peers.

There Is No Such Thing As Countries:

Firstly and most obviously, countries are merely a social construction. They are collectively produced fictions (like money, or religions) rather than mind-independent objects (like stones). Being fictional does not mean that countries do not matter, but it does mean that they only exist so long as enough people agree to act as if they do.

Secondly and more significantly, countries are places not agents. Places on a map cannot have interests or goals or take actions to achieve them.

On Antibiotic Resistance:

Antibiotic resistance develops through evolution by natural selection. Bacteria can double their numbers in minutes or hours, and some of them, through random mutations, acquire tricks that circumvent the action of the drug. Bacteria have little molecular pumps in their walls to expel toxins; these can undergo modifications that enable them to pump out antibiotics. In the case of antibiotics that have to latch onto a protein to be effective, a small mutation in that protein can be enough to confer resistance.

When Shipping Containers Sink in the Drink:

Things have been tumbling off boats into the ocean for as long as humans have been a seafaring species, which is to say, at least ten thousand and possibly more than a hundred thousand years. But the specific kind of tumbling off a boat that befell the nearly five million Lego pieces of the Tokio Express is part of a much more recent phenomenon, dating only to about the nineteen-fifties and known in the shipping industry as container loss.”

We’ve Lost the Plot:

In the future, the writers warned, we will surrender ourselves to our entertainment. We will become so distracted and dazed by our fictions that we’ll lose our sense of what is real. We will make our escapes so comprehensive that we cannot free ourselves from them. The result will be a populace that forgets how to think, how to empathize with one another, even how to govern and be governed.

That future has already arrived.

Made it:

You can’t get good at something without first acknowledging that it matters. And then agreeing to be a beginner at it, even though it’s uncomfortable, even though it’s difficult.

Best Friends’ Are a Surprisingly Recent Phenomenon:

Why are we so taken with dynamic duos? Perhaps it’s because they mirror a long-held romantic ideal in American culture: monogamous partnership, in which love is considered more real for its lack of competition. But many people’s ideas about romantic relationships are changing. Can our friendship paradigms change with them?

I don’t want to log in to your website:

The web is becoming a miserable experience because some salesbro who is trying to meet his KPIs is doing stuff to marginally increase the number of paying customers. (And you know, the hell with the rest of us!) The more each site tries to create its own little walled garden, the less valuable the open web becomes.

How to Take Back Control of What You Read on the Internet:

Introducing a quarter-century-old technology as if it were novel might seem a little strange. But despite the syndication format’s cult following, most internet users have never heard of it. That’s unfortunate, because RSS provides everyday internet users with an easy way to organize all of their online-content consumption—news media, blogs, YouTube channels, even search results for favorite terms—in one place, curated by the user, not an algorithm. The answer to our relatively recent social-media woes has been sitting there all along.

Millennials are hitting middle age:

When you’re not financially stable until your mid-30s and you don’t have children until your late 30s, you don’t have the time or the funds to have a meltdown. You’re in a brand-new life stage that hasn’t yet had time to grow stale. As Mark Blackman, who was born in 1984 and lives in Baltimore with two kids under 5, said: Many of my similar-age friends also have young children. It feels too early for a midlife crisis, or we’re still too occupied by child care for additional crises.”

Hip-Hop at Fifty: An Elegy:

The hip-hop generation, in the places where it was born, is still dying younger than it should, just more subtly, more quietly, and in ways that are less likely to inspire public vigils and memorial T-shirts.

everything I’ve watched in however long it’s been since the last one of these, part one:

Dads are resigned. Dads are a wine bar, dads are a book about a dead president, dads are a Sunday night. Dads are the luxurious comfort of failure, the softest part of the couch, and a story about what could have been. Dads are when the whole karaoke bar sings Piano Man.” Dads are a slow jam, a minor key, a basketball game where your team is losing but they tried their best. Dads are tired, and Tom Cruise has never been tired once in his life.

Dads are a rock song in which the lead singer apologizes for something; dads are a song that sounds like a love song but is actually about getting killed by the mafia and it’s your own fault for not making better choices in your life. Dads are the way that when a professional athlete retires and becomes a commentator on the same game he used to play, his suits never quite fit him right. Dads are a Volvo driving ten to fifteen miles over the speed limit but not more than that. Dads are the way that caring for other people often means allowing yourself to be the butt of the joke; when someone succeeds at applying this principle, that’s about dads, and when someone fails at it, that’s about dads, too. Love is being the fall guy, and so is being a dad.

AI and the American Smile:

In flattening the diversity of facial expressions of civilizations around the world AI had collapsed the spectrum of history, culture, photography, and emotion concepts into a singular, monolithic perspective. It presented a false visual narrative about the universality of something that in the real world — where real humans have lived and created culture, expression, and meaning for hundreds of thousands of years — is anything but uniform.

There’s Something Off About LED Bulbs:

There is a world, almost within reach, in which LED lighting could be aesthetically fabulous. But right now, it’s one more thing that overpromises and under-delivers. What we’re starting to glimpse is a new phase in which good light, once easy to achieve and available to everyone, becomes a luxury product or the province of technological obsessives. The rest of the world will look a little more faded.

This short film is positively delightful.

This might be the most strange and fascinating video on the web. It’s ostensibly about creating a diorama of a Michael Jackson performance, but it’s so much more than that:

And a few more:

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