Enter the Octagon
Yeah, I know. Long time.
In my own defense, this has been an incredibly busy summer, what with historic interpreting and college visits with younger teen and trips1 and general existential malaise.2 I want to write all about the one trick (tm) that will fix democracy but that’s not how any of this works. We’re all going to have to do a lot of little things that feel inadequate but really add up. Like, say, this.3
Anyhoo, I have no big thoughts at the moment, only lots of little ones.
My love for 99 PI and Roman Mars and Avery Trufelman is a known thing. But this episode really is a great one, if only because it hits on two topics I did not realize went together: octagonal houses and phrenology.45 Along the way, Mars says something that has and should launch a thousand tales: A house is a way to concentrate stories.
Look at your pennies. And every single thing about this art project makes me swoon.
The quote below is from this Oldster interview with Ayun Halliday. She is a delightful human.
This NYT Magazine story thoroughly examines the state of gender-affirming surgery. But it must be noted that this phrase is absolute perfection: “… go see Gillies about a penis.”
As Rick Steves wrote (and I am paraphrasing): Iceland7 will find ways to kill you. Here’s how locals do their best to save people and/or recover their bodies from misadventures in this geothermically active land.8
On being a slow runner, which is the best kind of runner to be.
And now I can close all these tabs, which brings me a very small joy. How are you finding very small joys despite it all?
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Related to the below footnote: Scott and I are going to Iceland very soon. I welcome any tips or tricks. We’re making Reykjavik home base and doing day trips to Notable Sites.
Speaking of - I am going to write about Secrets of the Sprakkar, which is a good book about Icelandic women and how that tiny country is kicking our butts in terms of actually treating all people like people. But that is a big topic I don’t currently have the bandwidth (see: malaise) for so you’ll just have to sit tight. I’ll get there.
Also? You don’t get to say “we’re fucked.” That’s the coward’s way out. Humanity has always been fucked, more or less, and we’ve slowly been lessening how fucked we are over the millennia. Need a pep talk? Tune in at about 1:25:27 of this episode of Lovett or Leave It.
Oneonta has its own octagon house, btw. I’ve been tempted each time its been on the market but then I’d need to, you know, move. Which I really have zero interest in doing.
The Farmers’ Museum will be opening an exhibit on phrenology later in the summer, btw. I had no idea the topic was still kicking around in the collective ether. I should get my ether reader checked.
Craig Mod went to Venice, which is one of those impossible, wonderful, doomed places I could visit over and over again.
This may just become an Iceland-centric newsletter. All puffins, all the time.
I intend to respect all warning signs and marked paths.
NB: Mark and I are friends who have never met in real life. Unpack that how you will.
If anyone out there has any contact info for Conover, I’d love to talk with him about what it’s like inside local government, where so many important decisions are made and cause a ripple effect in the great big systems more people seem to care about. His new Netflix series The G-Word should be required viewing for all Americans.