And we’re back. This site has been resurrected so many times, no further discussion is needed. Passive voice has been initiated. People are encouraged to move along. Some simple recommendations are being made, and then direction will be considered from there:
1. [Large Commitment] Read: Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature. The chase: despite perceptions [based in the media], we are living in less violent times than you might think. He puts modern age in gruesome historical context (think devices of torture used on any person who may have had an inkling of a reasonable thought back in the middle ages) and somehow you feel somewhat optimistic actually. Kind of. Read some of his argument here.
2. [Small Commitment] Read: Jonah Lehrer’s Groupthink: The Brainstorm Myth. If you’ve ever been subjected to a “no idea is a bad idea” brainstorming session, and you can’t think of one goddamn thing because you can’t stop arguing the very premise in your mind which is inevitably proven by someone who comes up with something so lame and awful, it’s all you can do to stop yourself from saying, “Nope. See? That right there is a really terrible idea.” Then you might like this article. It doesn’t dwell on how brainstorming is dumb as much as it talks about the beauty of intellectual cross-pollination by way of MIT’s Building 20.
3. [Small Commitment] Listen: Mayer Hawthorne and/or Fitz & the Tantrums. Here’s the deal–I lost all faith in the power of rock/roll after The Black Keys. They still rule like Oswald of Northumbria (circa 640, of course). But if you lose faith that anyone else will rock above/beyond the ultimate, then you search elsewhere. Soul is always a good place to dig. These two (Hawthorne/Fitz) lay it down and keep it down as well as anyone in the recent past. Add to your Pandora or your Spotify. You won’t regret it.
4. [Small Commitment] Living: Don’t be a dick. This is easy (and obvious) advice. But let me explain: Grocery store lines are ripe for frustration. It’s the end of the work day, you need stuff and just want to get home. You grab stuff and are in line to check out. It’s not fast. Tonight, I witnessed The Very Thing that DFW talked about in his speech to the graduates at Kenyon College happen in the check-out line. The check-out guy was deaf–Z and I had been in his line before; he has taught us “Thank you” and “Your welcome” in sign language. The man behind me left his wallet in his car, and while the check-out guy bagged our stuff, he said, “Hey buddy, can I keep my stuff here while I go to my car and get my wallet?” Check-out guy didn’t answer (obvious reasons). Dude behind me lost his chili. “What the hell is your problem, man? I’m asking you nicely. Blah, blah, blah.” When I politely informed him that our check-out guy is deaf, he actually said to me, “Why the hell would they hire a deaf guy for this?” And he left the line. So. Don’t do that.