The Moolah Tree

“Pluck, an irritable and featherless rooster, and his best pal, the awkwardly unsocialized but lovable teddy bear known as Fuzz, met long ago in a garbage truck. A tenuous if decidedly co-dependent friendship between Fuzz & Pluck followed, sending them on a series of not-so-heroic adventures. But now, we find them on a ramshackle barge, slowly drifting out to sea. How did they get there? How will they escape? The answer lies in the book’s title, but the true fun is in the Picaresque and often Swiftian adbsurdities that our heroes find themselves in along the way. Ted Stearn’s work is rich with pathos, wit, farce, existentialism and drama. Sometimes cruel but always funny, like aWinnie the Pooh for adults.”

The Moolah Tree published by Fantagraphics

Sold at “Winnie the Pooh for adults.”

Older and Living Apart Together (LAT)

Open Question: Does living alone position people for having a broader social support network?

“I don’t want to take care of anybody. I want to take care of me,’ said Nadell, who divorced her second husband two decades ago. ‘You want to be friends and get together, when I say it’s okay to get together? Fine. But to be in a relationship where I have to answer to somebody else? Been there, done that, don’t want to do it again.'”

As these solo dwellers age, the question becomes what happens when they grow frail and need someone to lean on. DePaulo argued that those who live alone often maintain broader networks of support than married couples do, pointing to a raft of international research. Partners who live separately for some portion of the week still tend to each other in sickness, and are well-positioned as caregivers because “we have our own place to recharge our batteries and avoid the all-too-frequent caretaker burnout,” said Hyman, 57, who has lived away from her partner for 20 years.”

-Zosia Bielski, “The new reality of dating over 65: Men want to live together; women don’t.” The Globe And Mail. November 26, 2019.

Suckin' at Something…

“Every winner begins as a loser,” …But not every failure leads to success…It turns out that trying again and again only works if you learn from your previous failures. The idea is to work smart, not hard. ‘You have to figure out what worked and what didn’t, and then focus on what needs to be improved instead of thrashing around and changing everything,’ says Wang. ‘The people who failed didn’t necessarily work less [than those who succeeded]. They could actually have worked more; it’s just that they made more unnecessary changes.’

[A] key indicator (besides keeping the stuff that works and focusing on what doesn’t) is the time between consecutive failed attempts, which should decrease steadily. In other words, the faster you fail, the better your chances of success, and the more time between attempts, the more likely you are to fail again. “If someone has applied for a grant and they are three failures in,” Wang says, “if we just look at the timing between the failures, we will be able to predict whether they will eventually succeed or not.”

-David Noonan, “Failure Found to Be an “Essential Prerequisite” for Success.” Scientific American. October 30, 2019.

Or, to put it another way, a focus on process produces better outcomes.

Garbage Day

“I 👁 actually 😳 decided 👯 to 💦 go 🏃 to 💦 Thanksgiving 🍁 dinner 🍟 this 👈 year 🎉 in 👏 my 👨 fursuit. When 🍑 I 👁 walked 🚶 in 👏 the 👏 door 🚪 my 👨 step 👞 daddy 👨 gave 🎁 me 😭 a 👌 weird look 👀 but 🍑 I 👁 ignored 😒 him. 👴 Then 😮 my 👨 stupid 💩 step-cousin started 💢 laughing 😅 that 😐 I 👁 was 👏 wearing 👙 a 👌 diaper 💩 over 👏 my 👨 suit and 👏 I 👁 screamed 😫 at 🍆 him 👴 that 😐 he 👨 was 👏 being 😑 furryphobic as 🍑 fuck 🍆 towards me 😭 , and 👏 that 😐 I 👁 identify 🔬 as 🍑 a 👌 crinkler both 🌜 in 👏 body 💃 and 👏 in 👏 pronoun. So 💯 anyway 🔛 when 🍑 they 👥 started 💢 serving the 👏 Turkey 🍗 every 👏 person 🚫 who 😂 took 👫 the 👏 meat 🍆 I 👁 whispered 😮 “You’re 👉 dead” under 😡 my 👨 breath 😷 as 🍑 they 👥 didn’t 🚫 recognize 🌚 the 👏 sacrific of 💦 the 👏 6 🕕 million 😂 Algonkin Indians 💩 who 😂 died 💀 so 💯 they 👥 can 💦 eat 👉 that 😐 meat. 🍆 When 🍑 they 👥 were 👶 about 💦 to 💦 eat 👉 I 👁 started 💢 making 👧 my 👨 best 👌 Rick Sanchez impersonations but 🍑 they 👥 didn’t 🚫 get 🔟 it 💯 due to 💦 them 💦 being 😑 ignorant 😂 as 🍑 fuck. 🍆 Finally 🙏 when 🍑 they 👥 started 💢 talking 🗣 about 💦 how 💯 my 👨 step-cousin got 🍸 his 💦 first 👆 job 😕 I 👁 laughed 😂 that 😐 he 👨 was 👏 some 👨 wage-cuck and 👏 that 😐 when 🍑 the 👏 communist 😈 revolution 💥 comes 💦 he 👨 will 👏 be 🐝 sorry. 💔 Suddenly my 👨 step 👞 daddies 👨 dad 👴 bursts into 👉 anger 😡 and 👏 he 👨 started 💢 calling 📲 me 😭 a 👌 freak 😈 and 👏 I 👁 just 👏 picked up 🔺 the 👏 mash potatoes and 👏 threw it 💯 in 👏 his 💦 face 😀 and 👏 scream 😱 “Bash the 👏 Fash”. I 👁 was 👏 then 😮 put 😏 in 👏 a 👌 headlock but 🍑 my 👨 fursuit protected me 😭 because 💁 the 👏 mouth 💋 piece 🍗 is 💦 operated with 👏 my 👨 hand. 👋 So 💯 I 👁 was 👏 able 💪 to 💦 flee like 💖 in 👏 my 👨 favorite 📑 episode of 💦 Ricky and 👏 Morty. 👏 I 👁 hid in 👏 the 👏 bushes and 👏 when 🍑 he 👨 was 👏 being 😑 wheeled away 😐 by 😈 the 👏 paramedics I 👁 cheered as 🍑 he 👨 was 👏 a 👌 WW2 vet so 💯 that’s 😦 like 💖 a 👌 50% 👌 chance 🚫 he 👨 was 👏 a 👌 nazi. 🙅

yayayamie quoted in Ryan Broderick, “tfw your parents find your Thanksgiving homemade fleshlight.” Garbage Day. November 29, 2019.

Garbage Day is a once a week dose of artisanal Internet garbage for people who aren’t looking for click trauma. Still not something for work, people raging at the world for going downhill, or the innocent.

The Vulnerable World Hypothesis

“Scientific and technological progress might change people’s capabilities or incentives in ways that would destabilize civilization. For example, advances in DIY biohacking tools might make it easy for anybody with basic training in biology to kill millions; novel military technologies could trigger arms races in which whoever strikes first has a decisive advantage; or some economically advantageous process may be invented that produces disastrous negative global externalities that are hard to regulate. This paper introduces the concept of a ​vulnerable world​: roughly, one in which there is some level of technological development at which civilization almost certainly gets devastated by default, i.e. unless it has exited the “semi-anarchic default condition…

Type-1 vulnerability​: There is some technology which is so destructive and so easy to use that, given the semi-anarchic default condition, the actions of actors in the apocalyptic residual make civilizational devastation extremely likely…

Type-2a vulnerability​: There is some level of technology at which powerful actors have the ability to produce civilization-devastating harms and, in the semi-anarchic default condition, face incentives to use that ability…

Type-2b vulnerability​: There is some level of technology at which, in the semi-anarchic default condition, a great many actors face incentives to take some slightly damaging action such that the combined effect of those actions is civilizational devastation.

Type-0 vulnerability​: There is some technology that carries a hidden risk such that the default outcome when it is discovered is inadvertent civilizational devastation.

-Nick Bostrom, “The Vulnerable World Hypothesis.” NickBostrom.com. 2018.

Kelsey Piper has a nice explainer on Vox.

100 (or more) Gays

“Annotate your books, but please, make it good. Make it like the anonymous owner of 100 Gays, who signed their notes only ‘R.’, but gave us everything else they had. On the spare pages at the front and rear of the book, R. has added their own notes, remarks, poems and theories…

…This is a whole worldview; each person appearing on TV, each voice on the radio, assessed for sexual similarity, for tells, for giveaways, for something shared. This is being raised in a hateful and homophobic society, where every rumour of queerness in a filmstar, a writer, a politician, is clung to as a sign of a secret underground of desire. Who keeps lists of names of queer people in their head, their sexuality, their secret loves, their supposed desires ranked? Other queer people, that’s who.”

-Huw Lemmey, “100 (or more) Gays.” Utopian Drivel on substack.com. November 18, 2019.

The Worth of Defeated Valor

“…yes, you may be up against a monster that creeps in the night and eats people, you may be up against a dragon far stronger than you, you may be up against the bottomless pit of student debt and climate change anxiety, you may be up against whatever it is you’re up against… and truth be told, you may not overcome it, but the very attempt to overcome it is admirable beyond words. it’s the whole point of life. the life worth living is the one spent fighting against all the Grendels in the world.”

—Night Heron, “the worth of defeated valor.” TinyLetter.com. October 17, 2019.

Moab Truth

“But if at this stage of the game, given what we know about how social media work and about the incentives of the people who make TV, you’re still getting your dopamine rush by recycling TV-news clips and shouting at people on the Internet, you’re about as close to beyond hope as a human being gets. There is no point talking to you, trying to reason with you, giving you facts and the sources of those facts. You have made yourself invulnerable to reason and evidence. You’re a Moab truther in the making. So, though I do not in theory write anyone off, in practice I do. It’s time to give you up as a lost cause and start figuring out how to prevent the next generation from becoming like you.”

—Alan Jacobs, “on lost causes.” Snakes and Ladders. November 12, 2019