ALDI has a Christmas tree-shaped frozen pizza. Just like the early Christians used to eat.
ALDI has a Christmas tree-shaped frozen pizza. Just like the early Christians used to eat.
I think one of the things I find most impressive about Micro.blog is how it effectively productizes technology that can be painful on its own (Hugo, Webmentions, etc.).
Another in a series of outrageous claims made by fruit vendors. These raspberries are “limited edition.”
For whatever reason, a couple of days ago, Jonah decided that he was scared of me for a bit. He snapped out of it by the end of the day, but it was strange.
So, the Christmas decorations are up. If you think it’s too early, you’ll have to take that up with my lady friend.
It feels weird to listen to Metallica while doing something as domestic as ironing.
“Master of puppets, I’m ironing my pants! Working out wrinkles and straightening things!”
Too small to fail.
Pac-Man about to have lunch. AWS booth: All Things Open
My iPad is too old to run Stage Manager (it’s last year’s model — groan). I’m loving it on the Mac, though. It keeps the pile of windows that ordinarily clutter up my desktop nice and tidy. My lady friend appreciates it, as well.
I know we’re all somewhat prone to hyperbole these days, but I feel like labeling a bag of apples as having “infinite possibilities” is taking things a bit too far.
It’s nice to see HEY World getting bio text and pinned posts in today’s HEY update.
I wasn’t using Obsidian very much anymore, and then they released 1.0. Wow, this app has come a long way. It feels a lot more solid and closer to native now. There are some pretty easily detectable bugs lingering, but you can maintain a beautiful digital garden.
I’m going to be so bummed when my little guy isn’t into his plush buddies anymore.
Our current political binaries and the vocabulary that has evolved around them is woefully inadequate for linguistic expressions of moral complexity. That makes it difficult to discuss ideas that would come from something like a faith tradition.
I appreciate this blog post because it uses real life examples of how amazing technology has become. A normal morning can make us marvel that we are now living in the future we once only dreamed of.
Elon is buying Twitter, Kanye is buying Parler and Micro.blog just added expanded support for the ActivityPub open protocol. I know where I’m more comfortable putting my words.
A little bedtime reading.
Please pardon the mess as I clean up my domains.
My cats get defensive about their “property rights” when other cats come around. I’m pretty sure they’re libertarians.
Adam Wood writes about the allure of returning again and again to the internet to cure boredom.
And so the huge internet cog spins endlessly, driven by the momentum of the uncountable smaller cogs belonging to its every user: individuals, corporations, bots, advertisers, data-harvesters. I might lean my mind forward with the intention of contributing a little input to the whole — the slightest impulse of momentum. But, in doing so, I’m met with billions of other minds and wills, all doing the same thing: feeding the whirr, the dizzying spin. It’s not a fair fight. Any single human mind is outmatched by the architecture of the modern internet, because it has been built and tuned precisely to ensure that we repeatedly subject ourselves to its perpetual motion. Why wouldn’t we engage with a machine built to stimulate, and which requires so little effort from us in return? Lean forward your minds one and all; don’t let a good limbic system go to waste.
Wood takes a break from the internet in the autumn and winter. He doesn’t go full on “strict monasticism” but drastically curbs his usage of the overwhelming megalith of always-connected technology. It’s an interesting practice. I wouldn’t take it on at this point in my life, but I may adopt some of the principles in a less ascetic way.
When I read that the Elon Musk purchase of Twitter was back on, I felt like writing that I have no personal investment in Twitter. From an emotional standpoint, it feels that way. That wouldn’t literally be true, though. I do have (personal) money invested in Twitter and, when the Musk deal goes through, that money is going to make friends with other money. So, from that perspective, I’m happy that Musk got tangled up in all his lies and duplicity and has to follow-through with the deal.
“He was staring down the business end of what was likely going to be a very unpleasant deposition,” Talley says. “It was going to include a lot of things that, let’s just say, charitably, were extremely inconsistent statements that he had made.” Those statements have been called into question by records and statements other people provided, Talley says. “The less charitable way to put it is that he just made stuff up. That would have been very uncomfortable for Musk and his legal team, and that’s definitely a motivation” to settle.
As a consumer, I’m not very attached to Twitter, so I see a couple of bright sides to this petulant billionaire buying the service:
People I know insist that they will quit Twitter after the acquisition goes through, so it will be interesting to see if that happens. It will also be worth watching to see what, if anything, changes on the network. I think the most likely shift would be in content review and moderation, based on Musk’s previous statements and the reason for his interest in Twitter.
Happy to see that a 2.0 beta of my all-time-favorite Mac notes app Bear is going to come out this week. I’ve been waiting a while on this one.
Finished reading: Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried 📚. I was hoping this book would contain more practical advice on how to improve remote work culture. I guess, pre-pandemic, convincing people that remote working could succeed was the order of the day.
Finished reading: Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton 📚. This book was dense prose but it’s possbile that Christian apologetics has never sounded so much like poetry. I highlighted numerous sentence fragments.
Matter is taking a cue from HEY and including notes (that you can now also take from the extension when you save an article) inline with your reading list.
As far as Netflix goes: If we won’t see a Season 2 that takes place in the Grishaverse, I’m not sure I want to hear about it.
Jonah the cat started this Sunday by eating a paper on Sabbath observance. Now what do I use to guide my practice?
I come home and my son is singing and playing some tasteful covers on his accoustic guitar:
Sebadoh - Think (Let Tomorrow Bee)
Slowdive - When the Sun Hits
Time for that covers EP?
Thankfully, this Anne Applebaum cover story (from December of last year) for the Atlantic is aging rather badly.
Hopefully, her piece from yesterday, It’s Time to Prepare for a Ukranian Victory will fair a bit better.
Getting crazy goosebumps reading about the success of the Ukranian counteroffensive.
Doing a thing this week where I drink dessert flavored teas instead of eating desserts. Much fewer calories.
Obsidian has a new default theme called “Dragonglass.” The theme has only been released in the insider builds, so I haven’t had a chance to play with it. It looks appealing, though. I like the idea of tabs, which have been adopted in many other apps (at least on MacOS). I also appreciate having a theme that looks OS native and doesn’t require community plugins (which bring security concerns with them) to achieve that look.
All you need is…
Just finished reading: Radical Candor by Kim Scott 📚. There is a misperception about this book. It’s not actually about being harsh with fellow employees. There are some good strategies for fairness in management within its pages.
Last night, my son was listening to Slowdive and asking me about setting up a blog. You treasure these times.
Just updated my Now page (definitely beachy edition).
A new issue of the Week on the Web newsletter is out today: Moving past disruption in tech, metal Elizabethan poetry, Christian anonymity online, catching up with TikTok and not swerving to the right or left.
Experimenting a bit with putting longer posts (>1000 words) behind a login.
DALL-E prompt: Adam Sandler at the Louvre wearing basketball shorts.
Just finished reading: What If Jesus Was Serious? by Skye Jethani 📚. I didn’t stick with the plan of reading it with my kid, but it was edifying for me personally.
A friend and colleague put the name of my site into DALL-E and these are the images it generated.
I won’t deny that I’ve had some problems with my Macbook, but when I see the Dell laptops at work and their engorged trackpads from swollen batteries — like cans of tomato soup with botulism — I’m glad I have a Mac.
Finished reading: The Life We’re Looking For: Reclaiming Relationship in a Technological World by Andy Crouch 📚. A necessary book for today’s society. More explicitly Christian than I would have expected from the reviews, but I’m not complaining.
I’m past the point in my life where I want to argue with strangers on the internet, but I do feel like I need to point this out: Being reliably right-wing doesn’t confer upon you the status of being an “orthodox Christian,” even if it is with a small “o.”
This article on the meta-layer for notes within HEY email is even more relevant now that the app has stickies for cover art (which I love).
This new button in Reeder hooked up to Feedbin kind of rules. It takes you straight to the tweet in your Twitter client. No more messing with that insane algorithmic timeline.
It’s time to admit that I’m never going to traverse the length of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo 📚 on a short loan from the library.
This post on why you should never change your blogging platform unless you have to resonates with me because I’m always looking at different solutions. Takeaway: Staying where you are is helpful to your readers.
First time playing in a while and that was… weird.
Wordle 412 5/6
I thought the game was broken.
The dealership seems to want to buy my car back more than they wanted to sell it to me in the first place.
Errata: The post on the Alvvays song Pharmacist incorrectly compared the guitar solo/noise breakdown to Sonic Youth. On further listen, it’s clear that this segment is more like Yo La Tengo. The editorial staff of Frosted Echoes apologizes for any confusion this may have caused.
If you can tolerate discussion of religion and American politics, this is a fantastic episode of French Friday with David French and Skye Jethani.
Capcom always milks their properties for all they are worth.
Thanks to @zioibi for the Arc invite. This browser is wild!
So… I added my “Posted” folder of published blog posts to the favorites list in iA Writer and it ate the directory. It’s nowhere to be found.
My ten-yr.-old has informed us that he doesn’t want to have kids because it’s “too much responsibility.” Can we renegotiate this?
Sometimes Twitter is an absolute cesspool and sometimes I checkin and find myself laughing at so many tweets that my lungs feel lighter.
Spider senses tingling.
I have a pretty ridiculous reason for sometimes preferring a digital PKM over my analog bullet journal — my cat likes to eat the strings on my bujo.
I love this post from Austin Kleon using a DJing technique as a metaphor for how we can exit the hedonic treadmill.
I’m really hopeful about what iA Presenter can bring to slide decks. Just thinking about easily creating slides from text files makes me somewhat giddy.
I came upstairs this morning to find my lady friend sending an email from my email account. This kind of invasion of privacy is going to make it difficult to carry on a torrid love affair.
My little guy printed out pictures of some of his favorite things.
This would be helpful.
Finished reading: The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker 📚. Absolutely as good as The Golem And The Jinni. Once things started to come together and paths started colliding, this book had me enthralled.
The Twitter Circle feature is a major improvement for the platform. I’m excited to see what this does for the overall tone of the discussions there.
It’s healthy to be able to engage with different opinions. It’s not healthy to encounter them expressed so frequently, and with such vitriol, that you are constantly arguing with people in your mind (as we introverts tend to do).
Praying for Sameer Vasta, whom some on Micro.blog may know, as he is going through some really tough medical procedures. He has also quit blogging after 24 years.
Thanks to @toddgrotenhuis I’m participating in the Readwise Reader private beta. This app is impressive. It covers a lot of my use cases for a read-it-later solution.
“It’s like The Princess Bride but they’re on acid and at Medieval Times.”
~ My son, describing a story he wants to write
I heard my son exaggerating to his friend that I was a “master LEGO builder.” That seems like the modern equivalent of “my dad can beat up your dad” but less combative.
My self-hosting experiment was going along swimmingly all weekend. I used JSONLint and Gulp to get me over some humps. Then, I announced that I was switching my blog over and almost immediately started having availability issues.
Jason Morehead writes for Christ and Pop Culture about how reading the Ms. Marvel comic helped him to deal with his kids with a new sense of reciprocal respect.
Our afternoon and early evening was an unrelenting mix of fighting, complaining, and whining. I felt suffocated, unable to think or process beyond the blind rage building up within. I was nearing rock bottom, that particularly low point beyond mere annoyance and exhaustion where you aren’t just upset with your kids — you begin to actively dislike them. I was nearing that point at a disturbingly fast clip. That is, until Ms. Marvel — and her mom — changed everything.
I never read the comics, but I’m looking forward to checking out the Ms. Marvel series on Disney+ as soon as we are through watching Obi-Wan Kenobi.
iA Writer 6.0 will support wiki links. That’s pretty huge.
Who needs a Playdate for retro gaming when you’ve got one of these?
Open for business.
Basic Apple Guy pulled together a WWDC bingo card. He has some ideas about what may turn up at the conference next week. Some come from the rumor mill and some are wishful thinking. I thought that it was interesting that he speculates about a classical music service.
There have been rumours that Apple will introduce some classical app/service for Apple Music. Whether that becomes a separate app or an enhancement to the Music app, I’m not sure, but I expect I’ll make finding and curating classical collection far more manageable than asking, “Hey Siri, play: Cantata No. 89 Was Soll Ich Aus Dir Machen, Ephraim?, BWV 89: V. Aria - ‘Gerechter Gott, Ach, Rechnest Du?’ [Soprano] by Ad Mater, Gustav Leonhardt & Monteverdi Choir Hamburg”
We’ll have to see if this comes to fruition, but if it does, I highly doubt there will be a separate app for it.
Matthew Ismael Ruiz writes for Pitchfork as an obsessive digital music collector. He shuns all-you-can-eat streaming services, instead opting to patronize sites like Bandcamp, that allow downloads and ownership of digital music files. He acknowledges that he is in the minority in our entertainment post-ownership culture, but is aware that there are others like him. They, too, accept the overhead of maintaining a digital music collection.
Though the ranks of digital collectors have shrunk in the streaming era, I’m certainly not alone. So what kind of person does this? Digital collectors largely are collectors first and foremost—people who enjoy, at least to some degree, the meticulous organization the activity requires. To maintain a digital collection for years and years requires a mix of passion, knowledge, and more than a little bit of obsession. Digital collectors are often—but not always—gearheads and audiophiles fixated on fidelity. They’re people with appetites for music that far outstrip their budgets for physical media. And they tend to be, as I’m devastated to admit, people of a certain age, music fans that grew up organizing files and folders in a way seemingly alien to young people whose main interface with digital files is a search bar.
I can relate to Ruiz’s piece, but I can’t imagine myself abandoning the embarrassment of riches that streaming music services provide anytime soon. My preference is a mixed catalog, such as what Apple Music provides, where you can incorporate your downloaded rare tracks into your streaming library.
My wife and I celebrate our 20th anniversary today. I’m so glad we’re together. Of all my girlfriends, she was the girlfriendliest.
Lauren Goode wants to bring back the age of presence indicators — like the AIM Away Messages — to give us all a break from the burden of synchronous communications.
I miss Away Messages. This nostalgia is layered in abstraction; I probably miss the newness of the internet of the 1990’s, and I also miss just being … away. But this is about Away Messages themselves. The bits of code that constructed Maginot Lines around our availability. An Away Message was a text box full of possibilities, a mini-MySpace profile or a Facebook status update years before either existed. It was also a boundary: An Away Message not only popped up as a response after someone IM’ed you, it was wholly visible to that person before they IM’ed you.
I really like the presence indicator, but I think, in terms of tech culture, we’ve moved past the barrier that “away” messages put up. People with whom I work ignore the presence indicator in Teams. It’s not unusual to have multiple people trying to message me, while my Teams message clearly says that I’m on the phone.
🎵 It has been too long since I last listened to Hammock and the journey back into their soundscapes has been revelatory.
The MUNYA record my mom got me for Christmas was just delivered. The vinyl pressing plants really are backed up! I decided to take it for a spin while I was still over at her house.
TIL the web version of Microsoft Office is free if you are using the Edge browser.
Another Sunday Divine Liturgy at All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church. Beautiful service.
Andy Phelps writes about how, growing up in California, near Edwards Air Force base, he had to deal with the constant reminders of the possibility of nuclear war. To cope with the existential dread, he found comfort in an arcade game: Missile Command.
But in that moment, playing Missile Command was transformative: it provided a way for me to process my frustration, my fear, and my anger. It offered an outlet for my grief, and it also, amazingly, provided a sense of agency and control over a situation in which I had none of either. While the hopelessness of my plight was being reflected in the press covering the Cold War, in popular music on MTV, and in the comic books and action heroes of the day, Missile Command did a unique and (at least to me) profound thing: it didn’t offer some escapist view of the situation — everyone that plays the game eventually loses — but it did offer both a way to trivialize and compartmentalize the fear (it is, after all, an arcade game and you can play it again with a quarter so there is always another life) — while simultaneously holding out the idea that you can win for a while, and for a pretty significant while at that. You can laugh at yourself for the stress you feel while playing the final moments of the game, and then savor the fact that you’re still alive in the arcade and get a piece of pizza.
Anything that gets you over the pressures of the world so you can enjoy a slice of pizza can’t be too bad.
My son was playing his guitar and singing “All My Little Words” by the Magnetic Fields this morning and it sounded so good. My heart swells with pride. I feel like he should record a covers EP.
Just updated my Now page (no swimming edition). frostedechoes.com/now/
We tend to think of government corruption as happening in other places. Third world countries. It’s time to start thinking about, and rooting out, the corruption in our country. All of those who take money to jeopardize the safety of our children have to be exposed and brought to justice.
Elizabeth Bruenig lays out her case that this is a society coming apart.
But these aren’t the growing pains of a society making difficult advances toward an orderly peace. These are the morbid symptoms of a society coming undone, and they arise largely from policy choices made by interested parties with material motives.
“Material motives” from politicians (especially Republicans) trump the well-being of our children.
I will never forget this piece. Since it was written, America has only grown more devoted to our own Moloch. Our craven politicians are his acolytes. Citizens armed to the teeth are his followers.
The gun is not a mere tool, a bit of technology, a political issue, a point of debate. It is an object of reverence. Devotion to it precludes interruption with the sacrifices it entails. Like most gods, it does what it will, and cannot be questioned. Its acolytes think it is capable only of good things. It guarantees life and safety and freedom. It even guarantees law. Law grows from it. Then how can law question it?
The new Feedbin app for iOS is super snappy, designed well and seems less buggy than the previous incarnation.
Just finished reading: David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell 📚. Gladwell rarely disappoints. The stories he presents of the little guy up against the big guy are entertaining as well as instructive.
Sunday worship at the Antiochian Orthodox Church.
Things are heating up here in NC, and it’s about time to spin one of my favorite summer records: Washed Out’s Paracosm.
It looks like Matter took into account one of the primary criticisms of the app — that it was too cluttered — when designinng the second version.
Brave Rewards seems like a cool way to pay creators. I wish more people were verified, but I think I’m going to add my blog.
I looked into migrating over to blot.im last year (because it was so easy to post from Obsidian), but noticed that the platform had some issues that weren’t being addressed. This is the second time in a few months that users have wondered whether the project has been abandoned.
I’m leaning towards face tattoos but I’m open to suggestions on how to deal with my midlife crisis.
I know @vincent probably hears this often enough, but, the new version of Gluon for Micro.blog is such a pleasure to use. I love the “hide replies” feature.
📺 Finished watching Moon Knight. What a strange trip it has been.
When I see someone with a bumper sticker that has “class of 2026” on it, I think, “but what if you fail out or die in the next 4 years?” I mean, that’s a while from now. Does that make me a pessimist?
🎵 I’ve had this song stuck in my head all week, so I added to my mini-review. You can’t beat a well-executed cover that retains the strengths of the original and builds on them.
I love this story of a Catholic church in Austria that actually has a road running through it. At Sankt Maria, the pastor preaches from one side of the road, while the congregation sits on the other. The church started its life as a roadside shrine and was later replaced by a chapel.
It sounds like the chapel is not regularly used, and the road going through it is now a bypass, so there’s less traffic than there used to be. Still, the idea of a pastor having to pause his sermon for traffic is a strange one.
The church is regularly renovated and thus preserved, though today only a few regular services are held there. Preservation is carried out by the city of Gmünd, because in the 19th century the community representatives committed themselves by a document to keep the church forever, and this document is binding.
This would be a fascinating place to visit someday.
📷 Image Source: Johann Jaritz
Wordle seems to have been a boon for the New York Times, bringing millions of new users to the site and helping to add subscribers, as well.
Overall, the Times said it added 387,000 net digital-only subscribers last quarter, though it didn’t say how many of those are Wordle players. The Times also offers a dedicated subscription to its cooking content, and an overall digital package.
I kind of wondered how much the acquisition of the popular word game would help The Times. They had indicated that the game would only be free temporarily and it’s unclear if they could convert its fanbase to paying customers. If it continues to be a gateway to subscriptions, though, they could keep it free indefinitely, which would be good for everyone. I’m still playing the game almost every day and enjoying it, having only lost once.
It’s cool to see Mastodontis get an official iPad app. Wondering if it’s time to check it out.
There’s definitely an extent to which posting about personal situations on social media and public websites can be difficult and perhaps even inadvisable.
I realize that I just pointed to some writing tips from Clive Thompson, but here’s another post with some more. Thompson makes his first drafts look totally unlike anything that could be mistaken for something official. For instance, he starts the sentences of those drafts with hyphens and lower case letters and ends them with two forward slashes.
But when I write in my strange style, the sentences and paragraphs just seem like jottings. They’re Lego bricks I’m combining and recombining see what shape they might make. Words written with no proper casing and punctuation seem much easier to tear up and revise. I get less emotionally attached.
The problem with his particular method is that markdown turns hyphens that begin a sentence into bullets. For that, he suggests using a tilde, instead. However, Ulysses treats a tilde as a special character as well. In some text editors, it might be best to come up with your own conventions along the same lines as his.1
I’m using an equal sign in my trials of this method. ↩︎
Pratik writes about the degeneration of Twitter by comparing it to your favorite bar going downhill.
I liken Twitter to a favorite bar that hateful elements have taken over. Now, you may have found a dark, comfortable corner with your friends and can insulate yourself from the noise, but increasingly, you cannot help but notice all the chaos around you. Lecherous men are hounding women, making lewd gestures, and even people from other tables barging in on your conversations so that they can disrupt you.
This is how Twitter feels to me. Even if you try to insulate yourself from the misconduct, it’s all around you. The algorithm is sure to insert reminders of it, lest you ever come close to forgetting.
I’m done writing about Twitter for now, but I liked this piece so much that I had to share it.
One of the first things I did when I got my new backscratcher was use it on my cat. Then I saw the “not tested on animals” text on the booklet that came with it. Whoops!
I would be interested to know if anyone else is using Glasp for web highlighting. Seems like a pretty useful and flexible new service. I’m not using Chrome, but the extension does work on Brave, as well.
Craig Mod promotes his piece in the New York Times — A Long Walk In A Fading Corner Of Japan:
“And if you dig it, please consider sharing on your nearest horrible social network of choice.”
David French takes on the government in Florida on free speech. Based on his analysis, the state’s removal of Disney’s special tax status as a reprisal for advocating against House Bill 1557 should not stand. Corporations cannot be discriminated against by the government for their political affiliations.
“You get what you ask for” or “they will deserve it” are not principles of constitutional law or a free society. In fact, the opposite is true. The First Amendment affirmatively protects the right of private institutions to engage in political speech, and that protection extends to safeguarding them from government reprisal for their speech.
He references the time in 2019 when San Antonio, TX, tried to ban Chick-fil-A from the airport due to their religious beliefs. The Texas state government acted quickly to protect the restaurant chain from discrimination. The same principle of free speech/freedom of expression applies in the case of Disney.
Clive Thompson wrote an ode to the em dash. After reading his fawning tribute to the multipurpose punctuation, I suddenly have the urge to use it everywhere.
So it’s a shapeshifter, which makes it hard pin down. Yet that’s also makes it exciting for me — because it suggests you can bust out an m-dash, for, like, no reason at all except that you feel like it.
If you didn’t already await new posts on Frosted Echoes with bated breath, now you can look forward to more em dash.
I mentioned the building of the new Epic Games HQ in a recent issue of my newsletter, and now they have drone footage of the mall where I used to work being demolished to make way for the new headquarters. The News & Observer has the full story. That mall (Cary Towne Center) has played such a big role in my life. I didn’t work there that long, but I went there probably hundreds of times. Now this means no more of those hot pretzels and massage chairs that were a staple of the mall kiosk landscape. It’s sad to watch the mall get destroyed but I’m glad the spot is going to be used and gain back some of the vitality it lost while the mall was dying.
Flickr is making some interesting changes to their Terms of Service. After the changes take effect, if you want to provide moderate or restricted content, you will need to be a paying customer by upgrading to a Pro account.
Free accounts with Restricted or Moderate content will be considered in violation of our terms of service and subject to removal. Accounts found in violation of our terms will need to either subscribe to Flickr Pro or remove the content in violation.
The changes make sense, from a cost standpoint. Providing restricted or moderate content necessitates that Flickr provide more resources to content moderation. Therefore, to offset that resource expenditure, they are requiring customers to pay if they want to take advantage of those services.
M.G. Seiegler writes about the hypothetical that Microsoft could buy Twitter. Unlike the aspirational aquisition by Elon Musk, Microsoft might actually be a good fit for the platform.
And Microsoft has proven themselves good stewards of giant buys. GitHub. Mojang. LinkedIn. The latter might make the bid more complicated as it was once lumped into “social networking”. But obviously Twitter is a different beast. And Microsoft famously/infamously wanted another, newer entrant: TikTok. To the point where they were willing to absurdly and problematically kiss Donald Trump’s ring. That deal didn’t happen. But this could.
Siegler doesn’t believe that the Musk deal (which is problematic for a number of reasons) will go through. This leaves Twitter ripe for another company to step in.
I really enjoy the roundups that Matt Poppe does of new Disney+ series for Christ and Pop Culture. From his writing about Moon Knight, it sounds like his background and the churches he’s attended give him a particular insight into some of the religious aspects of the new series. Specifically, he addresses how the intentions of followers of a “cult of personality” type of faith can be misled.
Like many of us who live and breathe inside circles of faith, Marc (and now Steven) are beginning to realize that leaders who capture our commitment often twist their followers’ zeal and idealism toward their own selfish ends. There you were, happily shedding your time, money, and talents to planting churches throughout India and Ethiopia. It comes as some shock, then, to learn you actually propped up the domestic expansions of Mark Driscoll’s vanity projects instead.
I’ve had mixed feelings about the series, so far. I like Oscar Isaac, and I think he’s done a fantastic job, but I also feel sometimes like they are trying to stretch his acting skills too far with jamming multiple characters inside his body and it comes out as a bit schizophrenic.
The views from a lunchtime walk today.
🍿 Got around to watching the Oscar for best picture winning CODA and I’m very glad that I did.
The first time I said, “he is risen” this morning, it was to my cat.
Working on probably the longest blog post I’ve written in years and just passed my goal.
Finished reading: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt 📚.
Likes include vegan ice cream flavors named after jam bands.
I love the idea of a non-profit grocery store to serve the needs of those living in a food desert.
In what feels like a sign that h*ck hath indeed frozen over, Google Docs now supports markdown.
The best revenge… by Topher McCulluch via Flickr.
I kind of love the Comic Helvetic font. Currently playing around with it for my newsletter masthead.
Garrison Keillor has probably the best take on the confirmation hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson and the ridiculous show put on by her opponents.
When her parents were born, segregation was lawful in America, and here was a Black woman of unquestioned qualifications nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, and against that heroic background, Senators Cruz, Cotton, Hawley, Graham, and Cornyn performed shameless acts in broad daylight before millions of people. These men should not be allowed to eat in public restaurants. They should go to the drive-up window and eat in the parking lot.
The first time ever in two. Better than a 7/10 split.
Wordle 278 2/6
Jodie Cook makes the case that the hidden benefit of two-factor authentication is that it creates friction that can help you to be more intentional about checking social media or email.
I got to play around with a Moog today and it was really fun. Switched on Robert.
Just updated my Now page (opening back up edition).
Jonah is on Cat TV on his first birthday.
Fluffy cat, velvet cat.
Jordan Peterson has a song now. My son called “it a Pink Floyd rip-off done by a bunch of muppets.”
Clive Thompson on why you should switch to a browser with vertical tabs.
Catherine the Great invited the Mennonites to settle land in Ukraine. Less than 100 years later, Russia was persecuting them. My great-great-grandfather fled Ukraine with his family for Minnesota in the 1870s.
Praying for the Ukrainian people.
I changed my avatar because the old pic was taken when the pandemic started and I really feel like we are coming out of it soon. Plus, gradients have come back into fashion.
🍿 Watched Encanto on Disney+ and wrote a short review. Thanks to all for the recommendations.
It will be interesting to see if the introduction of downvotes on Twitter improves the discourse.
I feel like our new kitten, Jonah, doesn’t have a lot of integrity. He doesn’t always do the right thing when no one’s looking (like abstain from jumping on the kitchen counters).
I just introduced my boss (who used to work in radio at the BBC) to Ronnie Martin’s new album. I believe my work is done for the week.
Those who doubt the potency and pervasiveness of Covid need but attend the Joys and Concerns portion of one of the worship services at my church. So many people are impacted.
My lady friend is an Evernote gal, and I’m an Obsidian guy. Will it work between us?
Freddie deBoer wrote some thoughts after being told a book was “taken down” on Twitter. In this sense, “taken down” seems to colloquially mean something like “entirely refuted.” deBoer takes a stance that is not expressed often enough: Something like a book refutation is not possible within a limited medium like Twitter.
There is no such thing as a damning review of a book in tweet form. Such a thing is beyond the affordances of the medium. A longform book review can do more, but has limits of its own. A book review can be cutting, if it’s rigorous enough - and yes, a certain length is a prerequisite for rigor. A book review can be informative and humorous and generative and entertainingly mean. I write some myself and hope to achieve such goals. But no review alone can rebut an argument expressed over hundreds of words. It might be better, or at least easier, if it were so. But we live in a world of irreducible complexity, and our efforts to wrestle it into digestible chunks to match diminishing attention spans - well, that last part is exactly the contentious issue at hand - don’t magically make life simple enough to understand through maxims or fortune cookies or tweets. It doesn’t work that way.
I wish more people understood the constraints of a platform like Twitter.
Our new kitten is learning that our older cat is really good at cat tower defense games.
From Ross Douthat, an attempt to fuse together the themes of his two books, The Deep Places and The Decadent Society.
Both decadence and chronic ailments cut against the human tendency to imagine a crisis as something that either leads to some kind of fatal endgame quickly or else resolves itself and goes away. Being sick for a long period of time has a baffling effect on friends and family and acquaintances, not because they’re unsympathetic or unwilling to help, but because our primary image of sickness is something that comes and quickly leaves, or comes and threatens your life and needs to be treated intensely with the highest stakes — and it’s harder to know how to respond to having something that apparently isn’t life-threatening but also doesn’t go away.
I can sympathize with Douthat’s attempt to draw parallels here. I certainly understand where he is coming from with regards to how people respond to chronic illness. Most people have difficulty understanding how to deal with illness that doesn’t go away with some modern treatment option or, on the flip side, doesn’t leave you dead. Many times, if people don’t hear from you, they assume you are better. Similarly, I suppose, unless people are raising an alarm, a decadent society is thought of as getting better, as well.
🔗_Via Alan Jacobs_
Watching The Neverending Story with my last night of Netflix. This movie is such a product of its time. Maybe my favorite movie theme song, though?
Jason Morehead wrote a fair and even-handed review of 2025: The World Enslaved By A Virus, the Plan 9 From Outer Space of Christian virus conspiracy movies. I appreciate the approach because, while I initially enjoyed seeing the tweets poking fun at this low-budget amateur production, I’m not sure if that’s the appropriate reaction. My teenage son watched it for a larf with his friends.1 There’s a point at which you are laughing at something and you have a moment of self-realization that causes you to pause. For me, that pause happened when my son pointed out that the ending credits gave thanks to Jesus Christ as the second credit and started cackling. I just didn’t see where the humor was, and it seemed like laughing at something people created in earnest just for the sake of making ourselves feel superior to them.
Online, of course we’re not savages who meet with people in person, like the revolutionaries depicted in the movie. ↩︎
I’m following Austin Kleon’s advice.
START A MAILING LIST, Y’ALL.
I even displayed the subscribe form on my blog’s home page so you can easily signup. Frostedechoes.com
There is finally a new Pinboard iOS client and it looks good.
Discussions of cryptocurrencies seem to be on everyone's lips, these days. Most of the opinions I am reading are against crypto. Stephen Diehl has spent so much time explaining the problems with cryptocurrencies, that he's outlined them in a blog post called The Case Against Crypto.
Cryptocurrencies aren’t currencies and have no mechanism to ever become currencies. They are effectively unregulated securities where the only purpose of the products is price appreciation untethered to any economic activity. The only use case is gambling on the random price oscillations, attempting to buy low and sell high and cash out positions for wins in a real currency like dollars or euros. Yet crypto cannot create or destroy real money because unlike a stock there is no underlying company that generates income. So if you sell your crypto and make a profit in dollars, it’s exactly because a greater fool bought it at a higher price than you did.
I remember many times people have tried to tell me that buying stocks is just gambling. Some people simply don't understand the purpose of an investment in a company that is creating value and being able to share a financial stake in that company's outcome. However, buying and selling cryptocurrency, as Diehl points out, does actually feel like gambling.
Matter just added a send Articles to Kindle feature. Now if they would just do that for the Kobo…
The always insightful Russell Moore writes in his latest newsletter about Insurrection Day. He came to a realization about another factor compounding our polarization after reading the Nonzero newsletter.
Over the Christmas holidays I read a fascinating account in Robert Wright’s Nonzero Newsletter of his epiphany about social media and political polarization. Wright had listened to a podcast in which psychology and political science professor Philip Tetlock “noted that once people have taken a position publicly, they have trouble abandoning it, even if evidence against it accumulates.”
The easy ability we all now possess to make our opinions public, without going through any gatekeepers, may be making us more entrenched in those opinions.
Finished reading: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 📚. I have to say I like the Crows series better than the Shadow and Bone series but I love the way the TV show merged them.
Austin Kleon has a post remembering poet and musician Dave Berman on the week of his birthday.
I’m not much of a lyrics guy. They’re usually an afterthought for me and, to be honest, a lot of music I listen to buries the vocals, anyway. Berman is an exception though. That man was a true lyricist with lines you could scribble in notebooks and in hastily erased pencil on classroom desks.
Half hours on earth, what are they worth?
I don’t know.
~ Silver Jews - “Trains Across the Sea”
Twitter frequently recommends contextless rage tweets from people I don’t even know or follow to me to “boost engagement.” This is one of the reasons we find ourselves in such an absurd state of affairs.
Given the recent damning ProPublica piece that focuses on Facebook’s role in the January 6th attack on the US Capitol, there is a profound irony in a good Democratic Congressman using Facebook to host a discussion called “January 6th: Democracy Under Attack.”
Finished reading: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 📚
Andy Nicolaides over at the Dent urges us to take it easy on ourselves when it comes to social media. Look around the interwebs and you will find no shortage of people berating themselves up for their time spent on social media or trying to concoct ways to curb their use of those platforms.
A big one is the use of Twitter. A huge amount of people are using this service multiple times a day, for various reasons. I’ve started seeing quite a few posts, or comments just as an aside in a post however, with the authors both figuratively and literally apologising for using the service. They beat themselves up for using it too much, or for wasting time ‘just scrolling’. I’m starting to question why that is. I mean, don’t get me wrong, if you’re leaving a dog or child to starve to death because you’re too obsessed with Twitter to feed them you’re most definitely an animal and you should be ashamed. If, however, you’re a hardworking individual that likes to utilise (not waste) your time flicking around Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, or whatever your service of choice is then you go for it.
Social media can be addictive and you don’t have to be Jaron Lanier to understand the ways those companies use psychological tricks to keep you coming back. However, if you can manage the urge and make reasonable use of Twitter or similar platforms, then you should give yourself a break and recognize that it’s an enjoyable activity for you.
Two days ago, I was literally sweating at the dinner table because it was so hot and today we got snow. ❄️
It would be difficult to come up with a more precise and succinct description of our modern political predicament than this one by former religion advisor to Barack Obama, Michael Wear, from his new Substack newsletter. Sure, things are not exactly this simple, and there are so many dynamics at play, but at a macro level, this feels like it nails the current climate.
In an earlier post this year, I reiterated a basic dynamic in our social life that I am not the first to identify, but that I think generally holds: that conservatives have significant political power but feel embattled and resentful due to progressives’ cultural power, and progressives have significant cultural power, but feel embattled and resentful due to conservatives’ political power. That basic assessment requires significant explanation and caveats, but there’s a core truth to it that is helpful as you look out and try to make sense of our politics and broader public life.
What I like about Wear is his consistent optimism. Despite the seeming enormity of the problems that plague us now, he is always looking at how we can mitigate them. He frames problem solving in terms of developing virtues in a way that I rarely see elsewhere.
Trailing clouds of glory do we come,
From God, who is our home.
~ William Wordsworth
Twitter is serious about suspending the accounts of those who spread disinformation about Covid-19 or the vaccines for the virus. They have just shown, yet again, that they are willing to remove individuals from the platform, regardless of their popularity or government status. In these cases, they are enforcing terms of service that have already been set down, not being arbitrary or capricious.
Twitter has long banned users from sharing misinformation that could lead to harm. In rare cases, the company has permanently banned high-profile accounts, including the account of former President Donald J. Trump, over a risk of “further incitement of violence” after a mob of Trump loyalists stormed the U.S. Capitol last Jan. 6.
What is interesting is to see those who would label themselves as “small government” conservatives wanting the government to step in and prevent private companies, like Twitter, or in the case of the Parler deplatforming, Apple, Google and Amazon, from upholding their own terms of service. As I’ve written in the past, I believe companies should be allowed to set and enforce their own terms.
The Book of Boba Fett and Star Wars LEGO.
My son just became a big boy.
There is absolutely no overlap in the Venn diagram of my favorite albums this year and those of the Bandcamp editors. Sometimes, with these lists from publications I wonder how much of this is treasured music and how much is performance.
Saw some vultures chowing down on roadkill like it was Boston Market on the way to my mom’s today. That’s a good omen on Christmas.
My wife loves it that we got each other the same Christmas card… again.
Christians love the part in A Charlie Brown Christmas where Linus gives his speech about the true meaning of Christmas, quoting from the book of Luke. I am not exempting myself from the devotion to that scene. A few years ago, I read this passage at a Christmas Eve service at our church, and, even though it wasn’t in the translation from which I was reading, I was tempted to use the phrase, “and they were sore afraid,” just to be like Linus.
In the movie A Charlie Brown Christmas, when a frustrated Charlie Brown asks, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” Linus, with his security blanket in hand, steps center stage and quotes Luke 2:8–14. In the middle of his recitation, as he says, “Fear not,” he drops his blanket—the thing he clung to when afraid.
One thing I hadn’t noticed before was the part about Linus dropping his security blanket, which his sister Lucy tried in vain many times to wrest from him, when he recites the scripture. It wasn’t until I read this passage in Our Daily Bread that I recounted that crucial part of the scene. Linus always carries that blanket to feel safe. The action has a symbolically profound implication about how we try to let go and trust in the Lord to guide us, especially during this season.
For those that read this blog post (which was one of my more controversial, for some reason), my bro is in the clear.
📺 Watched Steve Jobs last night. Fassbender was great as the titular character. The whole movie was a series of high-stakes conversations, which was fairly stressful and exhausting, but it was very well done. The format could be adapted to the stage.
It seems the Chinese government is starting to understand that a political system with no real values is not healthy for people. The citizens of the country are increasingly developing a sort of nihilistic tendency. “Among the online youth, for example, ‘sang culture’ (roughly the equivalent of “doomerism” in the West) has proliferated.”
To combat a lack of spirituality in their culture, the Communist party is turning to Marx to inspire. From People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Chinese Communist party:
Recalling the “warmth” he still feels after finishing this study of Marx, a “warmth [that] comes from spiritual excitement, spiritual joy,” the reviewer concludes with an account of the “deep sense of inner satisfaction and happiness” he has gained, before declaring himself, with the cry of a convert, “a Marxist believer!”
The piece notes that these pronouncements sound more like they come from mid-2000’s American Evangelical Christians than Chinese Communists. The party recognizes, though, that they need to combat the malaise that their culture has engendered.
This has kicked off a scramble, led by top Party political theorist Wang Huning, to “create core values” to fill this uncomfortably God-shaped societal hole with the comforts of a synthetic ideological alternative.
It remains to be seen if the Chinese can be spiritually fulfilled by Marxist theory, which is still purely materialist.
My sister was talking to my wife about a comedian who sounds just like me, “except that he’s really funny.”
Anne-Laure Le Cunff of Ness Labs was just interviewed by Indie Hackers. I really like the balance that she is able to strike between a fascination for work that requires a computer, and being able to extract time where she is not using a device.
What I spend the majority of my time doing: Sitting in front of my computer. Whether it’s learning, creating, connecting with other curious minds… I sometimes think it’s too much screen time, but there is such joy coming through this window on the world!
On her reading habit becoming a ritual:
Another thing that’s helped me move from routine to ritual is that starting last year, I’ve followed a strict rule of no electronic devices in my bedroom. It’s probably one of the simplest and best lifestyle changes I’ve made. It sounds obvious but not having devices in my room makes me sleep earlier, and better. I wake up with more energy and I’m more productive and creative.
While most of what she does involves screen time, she also puts hard boundaries around those activities to make time for other enrichment. I would find the part about putting away electronic devices in my bedroom pretty difficult. I wouldn’t give up my Kobo, of course, but even when you have an iPad, that lean back device form factor makes it too easy to use when supine. The closest thing I’ve got to her resolve is to set downtime to 9:30pm, but even that is too easy to break by putting in my screen time code.
Matt Birchler writes in Photography Needs to be Fun about how the new Glass photography network feels a bit too stilted and more like Unsplash than Instagram.
Meanwhile, Twitter and instagram are teeming with pros, amateurs, and everyone else, and they’re just more rich photography experiences for me. Social networks have cultures that form around them, and my feeling is that the culture in Glass is way too buttoned up and monolithic. I want photography to be diverse and fun, and the monolithic feeds I see in Glass don’t check either of those boxes for me now.
I wrote a few months ago about how Micro.blog fits into the Glass equation. I’ve seen some amazing photographs on the M.b. platform and there are people I follow that have near-professional photography skills. There are also quite a few amateur shots. It feels like a really nice balance.
The new kitten is thriving on a diet of faux Christmas trees, shoe laces and Moleskine bands.
Just Finished reading: Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman 📚. It seems the productivity craze from years past has inspired a sizable backlash.
I’m pretty happy with the way the first issue of my newsletter, Week on the Web, turned out. Muchas gracias to all of those folks who subscribed before I even wrote a word to promote it. To others, I would love it if you would subscribe here.
There’s something special about hearing your son playing the guitar part for a song you put on a mixtape for your wife in high school and singing along.
Now that M.b. has better support for drafts and scheduling, I’d love to see a Drafts action that sends a post over as, well, a draft.
I’d estimate about 25% of the posts that the official Twitter client shows me are from people I follow.
Got a new kitten named Jonah yesterday and we are getting along famously. He and my other cat Snickers, not so much.
Kevin Crowley was caught in a crowd during a trampling incident that killed 94 people. He was severely traumatized. He tried therapy to help him cope, but it was initially to no avail.
But two years ago he spotted a poster advertising therapy over the internet, and he decided to give it another go. After dozens of regular sessions in which he and his therapist talked via text message, Cowley, now 49, is at last recovering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. “It’s amazing how a few words can change a life,” says Andrew Blackwell, chief scientific officer at Ieso, the UK-based mental health clinic treating Cowley.
What’s crucial is delivering the right words at the right time. Blackwell and his colleagues at Ieso are pioneering a new approach to mental-health care in which the language used in therapy sessions is analyzed by an AI. The idea is to use natural-language processing (NLP) to identify which parts of a conversation between therapist and client—which types of utterance and exchange—seem to be most effective at treating different disorders.
The NLP being used would operate something like sentiment analysis. The results from these findings could open up the door to much more effective, evidence based protocols and standards within psychotherapy. This type of research and rigor is crucial right now, when mental health issues are on the rise globally. As someone with a degree in psychology, I can state that I’ve never seen this type of a heavily data integrated approach to psychotherapy before and it gives me great hope for the discipline.
Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner writes about how Windows tries to get you to make Edge your default browser again through pop up windows once you’ve opted to change to another browser.
Microsoft’s moves seem desperate. And familiar. It is clear they don’t want you to use other browsers. They even offer to pay you to use the browser via their Microsoft Rewards program. This is not the behavior of a confident company developing a superior browser. It’s the behavior of a company openly abusing its powerful position to push people to use its inferior product, simply because it can. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Can you say monopoly?
Apparently, Microsoft isn’t worried about a repeat of its antitrust battles from the 90’s.
Vivaldi just launched version 5.0 of their browser, featuring in-depth theme customization and robust translation options.
Amazon employees yet again have reason to complain about their treatment from the company as it proposes reinstating a ban on worker’s cell phones in its warehouses. The employee perspective is that their phones can alert them to dangerous conditions, such as the tornado activity that ended up ripping apart an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, something that they don’t trust Amazon to do.
The concerns about phone access highlight the deep distrust between executives who make rules focused on productivity and efficiency to gain a competitive advantage, and hourly front-line workers who often fear their safety is secondary to moving packages.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest man after Elon Musk, only fueled such feelings by spending the earlier part of Saturday celebrating a celebrity space launch by his company Blue Origin while emergency crews at the warehouse dug through rubble looking for bodies.
Bezos eventually sent a couple of vague tweets pledging support for the employees in Edwardsville.
I can definitely see myself using this JSON to SVG timeline plugin to track my medical history.
Just on the heels of my posting of an old iPod Sock sitting in my dresser drawer, Basic Apple Guy has a piece on the similar AirPod Beanies.
We now have billionaires deciding whether to pay taxes to the government based on rudimentary Twitter sentiment analysis.
Just hacked my Kobo to allow me to export highlights to a text file. My workflow is feeling much better for the change.
The flickr blog has a post that looks at nearly two decades of Creative Commons licenses. The post shares some of the most popular images using CC licenses and includes some spectacular photos.
🎮 While everyone else is playing Animal Crossing, my lady friend is working her way through Stardude Valley. She goes against the grain.
Radiance. A collage.
This time of year can be busy with Motörhead Day (the 8th of May) following so closely in the heels of Star Wars Day. Many people report feeling exhausted during the holiday season. Pace yourselves.
There’s some irony in the fact that book delivery takes so long now from Amazon, due to their prioritized order fulfillment. Their humble beginnings are so far behind them.
My Harvard employed younger sister spent the better part of yesterday morning trying to virtually pet my son’s virtual dog in Minecraft. So I’d say this isolation thing is going well.
My son’s voice has changed during this whole COVID isolation thing and I hear him sometimes and wonder who is in our house.
Despite the ability now to immediately sample any piece of music for yourself, I still find value in writing and reading about music.
“Bright Eyes Reveal New Single ‘Forced Convalescence’ Featuring Flea on Bass” is not a headline I ever thought I would read.
Jason Morehead discovers Being an Introvert During a Pandemic Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be. I can relate to much of this.
“People described as essential should be treated and paid in a way that reflects that description.”
~ Dave Pell, on grocery store employees
Just updated my Now Page (my home is my castle edition).
Sometimes, I think the world just isn’t as black and white as it’s portrayed in the movies. Then I remember the president and his gang of miscreants and cinema-worthy villains.
🎵 It’s hard to believe that the Mogwai that just put out the house music inspired Reverso EP are the same Slint disciples that recorded Young Team in 1997.
I know I just blogged about it, but C.S. Lewis’ ‘Learning in War-time’ is one of the most interesting pieces I’ve read about our current situation. Lots of highlights.
Richard Burr should be prosecuted for insider trading for his role in spreading information that would massively effect stock performance to his friends while deliberately and systematically withholding that information from the public.
Screenshot Daily has a post on games with themes around mental health. Strong recommendation for Celeste from my brother.
📚 I rarely read a book quickly, because it’s hard for me to get past the feeling that a chapter break is something that means it’s time to put down the Kindle.
📚 David Sedaris - Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim: Sedaris has such a self-deprecating humor and a true love of people and their eccentricities.
🎮 The Final Fantasy 7 remake is really well done. Gorgeous, cinematic, and fantastic at managing the learning curve. Too bad Barret has a commanding lead in the race for most annoying video game character ever.
I love this review of Tot, the new note-taking app from the Icon Factory. You really get a sense for Jon’s passion for the app and his enthusiasm is infectious.
🍿 The Big Sick: I had been wanting to see this movie for some time but it seemed especially appropriate while going through health challenges. Really funny and touching. Such a fascinating and lovely true story.
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.
🍿 Just watched A Marriage Story. As an alternative, I could have just stabbed myself in the heart 20x.
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.
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.