Moving.Office since ’09. Best memory: finding my lost wedding ring in garbage bag full of cigarettes.Worst: past week pic.twitter.com/6GGnR1dySU
— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) July 22, 2015
Julianne Escobedo Shepherd
Good news! NASA “has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet in the ‘habitable zone’ around a sun-like star.” EARTH 2.0! Looks like I’m done recycling!#
Are invisibility cloaks possible? If you have ever walked down a street muttering “Keep it together” to yourself under your breath while squinting your eyes at the corners to hold back the tears and doing whatever you can to think of anything other than the persistent pain that presses down on you with its endless insistence—if, during that regular ramble, you look around to see if anyone else is glancing back at you and taking notice of your anguish—you will already know that not only do they exist, but you’re wearing one.
“A Tesco shopper had her tooth shattered after biting into a rusty blade which had somehow got into food she purchased from the supermarket giant.”#
There’s an hour a day that you don’t want to die, but they spread out the minutes so you won’t do the math. Your mind has an interest in keeping you conned, to prevent you from seeing how much sadness goes on. The little things that briefly bring you joy are inflated in such a way that you never quite comprehend just how hopeless everything else is. A song like this, which is perfectly pleasant and actually a bit better than it has to be, could, in the right moment, seem like something that might make your whole morning worthwhile. I mean, I hope it does: You need all the help you can get to keep going. Enjoy. [Via]
★★★★ Clouds thickened over a humid morning. An immense bead of sweat slid down the three-year-old’s face as he test-pedaled a bicycle on training wheels around inside of the rental shop. The children rode slowly back home, and then the bikes had to be parked in the living room for protection. Thunder boomed and the crape myrtle tossed. The floor vibrated. White sheets of rain slammed into the parking lot and buffeted the deck like wave spray breaking over a ship. A solid sheet of water poured down the kitchen window. The children fretted about whether the house was genuinely waterproof. The storm held at its peak for a good while, then subsided. A lesser shower followed and passed too. There were puddles in the bike lanes. Another mass of clouds built up, but then the sun broke through. The late sky was clear; laughing gulls flew by, tinged pink.
Like several great memes before it, this one began at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which has since its inception been ripe for rabid online ingestion via themes of humiliation, fear, and triumph of the adolescent spirit. It’s a live television event akin to the grammatical Hunger Games, wherein wee sprouts still small enough to crawl into the gears of a massive piece of industrial hardware in order to fix it from within are tasked with correctly spelling increasingly challenging words. You know the drill. We tune in for the joy and the sorrow and for the chance to witness the occasional mortifying cultural fissure.
A viral video from the more temperate seasons of YouTube (2008) comes to mind—an adorable blonde cherub of a boy from North Carolina is tasked with puzzling out “negus.” Clearly unfamiliar with the word, which indicates the sovereign of Ethiopia, and immediately chastened by what it rhymes with, we watch him struggle to do a backbend over a century-plus of internalized racial epithets before finally spelling it correctly. It’s of course extremely awkward, making for top of the line Internet chow.
Scripps owes its recent re-appearance within the plastic ball pit of viral content to a Vine whose subject is 5th place finalist Dev Jaiswal of Louisville (the Bee’s first winner, a patent lawyer born in 1913, was also from Louisville). Dev is 13 years old, bespectacled, and the owner of a truly tragic bowl haircut. Coming into the finals with a perfect score, he immediately wins over the crowd with his easy, goofy smile and unbridled enthusiasm for the game. When asked what word best describes him in a sidelines interview with USA Today, Dev replied: jovial. “I love having fun and just being myself and enjoying every moment that I can.”
Everyone is like, “Do not sleep with your phone! “Keep Your Phone in Your Backyard at Night!” “Sleeping with your phone is literally killing you!” “iPhone 5 Burns 2-Inch Hole In Teen’s Forearm While He Sleeps!” (Gross pic, also maybe fake.) But you probably still sleep with your phone anyway, so here are several ways I have found, through trial and error, to actually use my phone to avoid thinking about mortality and the future and the terrible Internet and fall asleep in under five minutes.
(Background: last fall, when I realized the government would soon be knocking on my door to find out why I hadn’t started meditating yet, I downloaded the Headspace meditation app and used it for ten minutes each day for five days. Each time I used it, typically mid-morning, sitting up straight, I fell asleep. Even when I wasn’t tired. Eureka! What follows is my journey toward the perfect use of non-music phone audio to fall asleep.)
Last year’s putative “Song of the Summer” was a national embarrassment; as a result, American songs—and for safe measure, all songs in English—are no longer eligible. Each month, until summer has died, the Awl will present alternatives.
“Bare Min” by Morgan Sulele
#1 in Norway (VG-Lista)
Check it out, I brought you a Scandinavian bizarro-world Jason Mraz clone! You’re welcome. Much like summer flings, summer pop songs are certainly allowed to both be appropriate in the moment and then absolutely insufferable later; this one drafts a few dozen schoolchildren into an caterwauling choir almost as if to peer pressure you into enjoying it. The kids probably just don’t know any better, but their maestro’s unreasonably cheery spirits are probably going to be the song’s undoing when winter and seasonal affective disorder show up in a few months. In the meantime, you are still clearly better off than you’d be with the regular Jason Mraz, whatever he’s up to.
“It has become harder over the last 130 years or so to see Van Gogh plain. It is practically harder in that our approach to his paintings in museums is often blocked by an urgent, excitable crescent of worldwide fans, iPhones aloft for the necessary selfie with Sunflowers. They are to be welcomed: the international reach of art should be a matter not of snobbish disapproval but rather of crowd management and pious wonder… We have a problem of seeing, just as we often have a problem hearing (or hearing clearly), say, a Beethoven symphony. It’s hard to get back to our first enraptured seeings and hearings, when Van Gogh and Beethoven struck our eyes and ears as nothing had before; and yet equally hard to break through to new seeings, new hearings. So we tend, a little lazily, to acknowledge greatness by default, and move elsewhere, away from the crowds discovering him as we first discovered him.”
—Julian Barnes on Vincent Van Gogh? Yes please.#