Newsletter: Issue Three

Happy Thanksgiving. Be grateful. Tell someone you love them. Eat pie.

I know Thanksgiving is past. But maybe we can be thankful more often than the awkward 30 seconds it takes us to come up with something to say at one meal a year. And maybe, as a rule, we can eat more pie.


Henriette Black toes a nice line between trendy bookish slab serifs and an almost comic casualness. The font is based on Viennese street signs originating in the 1920’s. In my opinion it’s an elegant upgrade to the US’s utilitarian Highway Gothic.

They made better toasters in the 1940’s.

I quoted David Cain in Issue One, but his essay this week is too good to not include.

In my experience, breakthroughs happen when the advice gets specific. “Seize the day” is good advice, in the sense that it contains a powerful truth about living well. But it’s not nearly as useful as, “Do something that intimidates you before noon,” or “Never put something off a third time, if you plan to ever do it.”

“Live in the present” might be the most profound advice of all time, but it doesn’t tell you anything about how to do it, or even what it really can mean. On this blog I’ve tried to offer forms of this advice that are specific enough to use:

• Notice how background sound changes whenever you pass through a door
• Listen to your mental chatter as though it’s a TV in the other room, rather than a speech you’re giving
• Look at the room you’re in as though it’s empty of people, including you

When you start taking these more specific actions, the power of present-focused living starts to reveal itself. When these revelations happen to you, they feel fresh and concrete—the opposite of what you’d expect from an abstract, familiar phrase like “Live in the present.”

–David Cain in “Advice Gets Good When It Gets Specific” at Raptitude

Bumper sticker platitudes might’ve had some basis in the profound. But specific, actionable advice is far more valuable.

Cancel Mel Gibson. Really.

Now, I love the Lethal Weapon movies (at least the first few). And Danny Glover’s a gem. But Gibson? Yes, he’s a talented man. Many horrible people produce wonderful art. Put me down as an ardent fan of Roald Dahl, Pablo Picasso, and Edith Wharton; can’t get enough of what they’re selling. But these three had the good taste to die. That makes it a lot easier to enjoy their output.

–Joshua Malina in Cancel Mel Gibson for The Atlantic

And by “cancel” I mean stop hiring him. I have complicated feelings about whether to consume art made by people known to be terrible. For instance, I’ve had Gibson’s 2020 Christmas film Fatman on my list since I first heard about it. It looks to be that kind of trashy action movie that’s just fun to watch. But how can I separate the terrible human being from the art? When that art is acting and you have to see their stupid face the whole time, it’s very difficult.

At least Picasso would’ve been largely unrecognizable if he’d inserted his face in everything he created.

Adult advent calendars are my thing now. Last year my better half bought us our favorite local roaster Speckled Ax’s coffee advent calendar. We managed to score another this year. They include tasting notes and a blurb about their grower relationships and experiences around the world.

And for the other end of the day, Lone Pine—one of my favorite local breweries—has released a beer advent calendar. Yum. Why can’t we do this every month?