Category Archives: Link Love

Ten for Tuesday

Love this week’s crop of links. Here we go!

1. Shoe-Shi: Edible Sneakers That Combine an Artist’s Love of Footwear and Sushi

Because people are awesome.

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2. Instructions for Not Giving Up

Thank you to Arianne Lehn for sending this my way this morning. Poem by Ada Limón

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

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3. Pacific Crest Trail, one second at a time

Wow I love this video, shot by a through-hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail. He recorded one second a day. Makes me want to take up hiking as more than just an occasional cross-training activity!

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4. Man Flushes His Friend’s Ashes Down Ballpark Toilets Across the Land

This is just the best. My dad’s 70th birthday would have been Sunday, and somehow I think he would approve of this.

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5. ‘That’s not who we are’: How a besieged heartland community rallied around its refugees

Read about Twin Falls, Idaho (home of Chobani!), and how they seek to be a “neighborly city” toward refugees. Heartwarming and fierce.

The actions were in response to more than a year of controversy and negative stories in right-wing media and assorted comments sections, a trying time for a city that’s accepted refugees for decades but found its image sullied and citizens threatened. It’s an example of how the worst elements on the Internet can bleed into everyday life, and a cautionary tale of how the charged politics of immigration can play out in a community that believed it was doing the right thing by welcoming families displaced by conflicts in distant countries. After three Muslim refugees — all children — were charged in a sexual assault on a 5-year-old girl, right-wing media conjured up a lurid crime wave among the Muslim immigrants in the community. Breitbart embedded a reporter in Twin Falls to look for stories that “[don’t] fit the narrative about the benefits of diversity that the media and politicians try to spin.”

Twin Falls weathered sensationalized charges, grotesque threats and a militia group’s anti-immigrant demonstration. And the community has become the venue for a defamation lawsuit by yogurt maker Chobani, one of the area’s largest employers, against conspiracy monger Alex Jones, for stories with headlines such as “Idaho Yogurt Maker Caught Importing Migrant Rapists.”

After a long two years, Twin Falls residents didn’t recognize the city that was being portrayed in the media — so they decided to do something about it.

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6. Fidget Spinner for the Ultra-Stressed

James was given a fidget spinner by a friend, and is impatiently waiting for his fidget cube which is finally shipping from the original Kickstarter campaign! But here’s another option:

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7. An Elegant Flower Time-Lapse Three Years in the Making

Enjoy this beautiful celebration of spring from filmmaker Jamie Scott, without the nasty allergies!

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8. A Letter to My Mother That She Will Never Read

A hard read but a good one by Ocean Vuong:

The first time you came to my poetry reading. After, while the room stood and clapped, I walked back to my seat beside you. You clutched my hand, your eyes red and wet, and said, I never thought I’d live to see so many old white people clapping for my son.

I didn’t quite understand until, weeks later, I visited you at the nail salon and watched as you knelt, head bent, washing the feet of one old white woman after another.

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9. Imposter Syndrome

Don’t know where this originated, or even which of my social media friends initially posted it.

If I were writing a clickbait headline for this graphic, I’d say “You’ll never believe who struggles with imposter syndrome!” But really…

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I also think “I just went where I was sent” will preach somehow.

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10. The Largest Analysis of Film Dialogue by Gender, Ever

Already posted to Facebook, but in case you missed it. I plugged in all of my favorite “drop of a hat” movies (i.e. films I’m always in the mood for), and only one comes close to a 50/50 split in dialogue: Stranger Than Fiction.

How does your favorite movie fare?

 

Ten for Tuesday

We’re all over the map this week! Off we go:

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1. What the Last Nuremburg Prosecutor Wants the World to Know

This is a wonderful, important interview:

Lesley Stahl: Did you meet a lot of people who perpetrated war crimes who would otherwise in your opinion have been just a normal, upstanding citizen?
Benjamin Ferencz: Of course, is my answer. These men would never have been murderers had it not been for the war. These were people who could quote Goethe, who loved Wagner, who were polite–
Lesley Stahl: What turns a man into a savage beast like that?
Benjamin Ferencz: He’s not a savage. He’s an intelligent, patriotic human being.
Lesley Stahl: He’s a savage when he does the murder though.
Benjamin Ferencz: No. He’s a patriotic human being acting in the interest of his country, in his mind.
Lesley Stahl: You don’t think they turn into savages even for the act?
Benjamin Ferencz: Do you think the man who dropped the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima was a savage? Now I will tell you something very profound, which I have learned after many years. War makes murderers out of otherwise decent people. All wars, and all decent people.

Let all who have ears to hear, listen.

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2. You’re Not Going to Believe What I’m about to Tell You: The Oatmeal

Learn about how the lizard brain works. In all of us. And resolve to do better.

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3. Don’t Let Facebook Make You Miserable

You’ve heard it said, “Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides.” We know people’s Facebook personas aren’t completely authentic, but it’s easy to forget that when we’re tangled up in our own insecurities.

A fascinating exercise, to compare what gets shared publicly on Facebook with what people search for in the relative privacy and obscurity of Google:

The Las Vegas budget hotel Circus Circus and the luxurious hotel Bellagio each holds about the same number of people. But the Bellagio gets about three times as many check-ins on Facebook.

Lots more fun examples in the article.

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4. Reflecting with Scripture on Community Organizing

Churchy friends–I had the sad privilege of attending a memorial service on Saturday for Jeff Krehbiel, a friend and minister colleague here in the DC area. It was a wonderful celebration of his life. Jeff was a community organizer as well as a pastor, working with the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) on all kinds of initiatives with the people of Washington DC. He also wrote a short book connecting scripture with organizing. Here is an excerpt. Beautiful and wise. He will be missed.

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5. Fun Home!

I got to see Fun Home at the National Theater in DC a couple of weeks ago. What a fantastic show–about coming of age, coming out, and coming to terms with a family secret. Here’s a little taste from the Tonys a few years ago. (Sydney Lucas. WHOA.)

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6. Finding Your Ideal Adaptation Rate

OK, this is a running link, but I promise it relates to “real life” as well. The author, Greg MacMillan, argues that we get stronger by stressing the body. The body adapts to this stress, and we improve. But we have to stress it the right way:

The optimal rate of adaptation occurs when the body is stressed to a tolerable level, allowing it time to adapt without having to draw on every ounce of its physical and mental reserves. It gradually adapts and is at far less risk for injury or burnout. At the end of a training run you feel pleasantly fatigued but also know that you could have done a little more.

Thus, the challenge during speed work is not to give the old 110 percent, or even 100 percent — it’s to train at around 90 percent. Great coaches such as Arthur Lydiard, David Martin, Bob Larsen and Bill Squires advocate this method of “controlled” training. You’ll find that your body is never overstressed and adapts gradually but progressively, always leaving you hungry for more. A little control will make training more enjoyable and lead to greater overall improvement and, most importantly, better race performance. I call it finding your sweet spot in training. Once you do, you’ll never have so much fun with your running.

See what I mean? How many of us work right up against the red line, pushing through exhaustion, and crowing “Eh, I’ll sleep when I’m dead”? We need to calibrate our activity level better. I heard a different coach say last week, “It’s better to be 10% undertrained for a race than even 1% overtrained.” Good advice for running and life.

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7. Biisuke!! (video)

What’s the only thing better than a Rube Goldberg device? A Rube Goldberg device that tells a story of courage and family.

“You did it, brothers!”

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8. Cool Tools

I love the Improvised Life blog–they feature all kinds of creative, inspiring artists and thinkers there. This week they were singing the praises of the Cool Tools catalog, which we have and have enjoyed as well.

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Read more about Cool Tools.

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9. Badass of the Week: Athena

I am on a big Athena kick lately (I’ll explain why in a future blog post), and I loved Badass of the Week’s romp into Greek mythology. (Rated PG-13 for language; you’ve been warned, so don’t send me letters.)

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OK, I’ve been sitting here trying to excerpt just one piece of this blog post, and I can’t. I can’t. It’s all awesome and badass and again, PG-13 so REALLY don’t send me letters, but go read it.

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10. Wonder Woman!!

Speaking of strong goddess-women, I am so stoked for this movie. (Also worried they’ll mess it up–like the Pop Culture Happy Hour team, I’m feeling some “antici-ppointment”).

I’ve also added the song “Warriors” by Imagine Dragons to my running playlist. RAWR!!

What are you stoked about today?

Ten for Tuesday: Preacher Camp Edition

I’m at preacher camp with my loveys this week, aka The Happiest Week of the Year. (No offense to my family, who bring me slow-release happiness the rest of the year.)

Our days are full, so I wasn’t planning to do Ten for Tuesday, but I have some links collected, and I decided if I can put the post together within 30 minutes, I’d go ahead and do it. So…

1. Running Adds Years to Your Life–obligatory running post!

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2. Artists Redraw Their Old Work to Show How Much They’ve Improved

My friend Keith Snyder posted this with the comment that he wanted to show it to his middle school-aged boys. Excellent idea:

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3. You’re Too Busy–You Need a Schultz Hour

When George Shultz was secretary of state in the 1980s, he liked to carve out one hour each week for quiet reflection. He sat down in his office with a pad of paper and pen, closed the door and told his secretary to interrupt him only if one of two people called:

“My wife or the president,” Shultz recalled.

Shultz, who’s now 96, told me that his hour of solitude was the only way he could find time to think about the strategic aspects of his job. Otherwise, he would be constantly pulled into moment-to-moment tactical issues, never able to focus on larger questions of the national interest. And the only way to do great work, in any field, is to find time to consider the larger questions.

Pondering what this would look like for me. I work from home and set my own schedule, but find myself as beholden as anyone to the constant churning of social media and emails.

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4. An artist replaced the men in these classic Westerns with women. The images are awesome.

Yes they are:

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5. Nevertheless, He Persisted

This is so good. Devastatingly, cringingly good.

Even after two too many after-work old-fashioneds, Jim Talbott, 33, sensed that the woman on the Brooklyn-bound L Train was not quite as attracted to him as he was to her. She didn’t smile or thank him when he told her, slurringly, that her dress was “real nice.” Instead, she plugged her ears with ear-buds and turned the volume all the way up. “Is that Beyoncé?” he asked, twice, to no reply. He guessed he should probably stop talking to her, should stop staring at her legs, should absolutely not follow her off the train when she rushed out at First Avenue. Nevertheless, he persisted.

6. Balloon Popping Underwater

So fantastic.

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7. Shame and Disconnection: Shame and Disconnection: The Missing Voices of Oppression in Brene Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability”

I am an unapologetic Brene Brown fangirl (she’s the big sister I need and deserve) but this is so, so important.

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8. Ikigai:

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I post this image without necessarily endorsing it. I have spent some time with it as a tool for contemplation and discernment. However, it’s pretty privileged to even have the luxury of thinking that what you love and are good at is something the world will pay you for. Many people are just trying to get by on the jobs that are available. Even if you’re higher up on the pay and privilege scale, you may be geographically limited or constrained due to familial commitments. In which case, I’m a fan of blooming where you’re planted, aka improv. Still, I can’t quite let this image go.

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9. Turning Negative Thinkers into Positive Ones

This is not to say that one must always be positive to be healthy and happy. Clearly, there are times and situations that naturally result in negative feelings in the most upbeat of individuals. Worry, sadness, anger and other such “downers” have their place in any normal life. But chronically viewing the glass as half-empty is detrimental both mentally and physically and inhibits one’s ability to bounce back from life’s inevitable stresses.

*clearing throat uncomfortably*

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10. Tires Rolling Down a Ski Jump

I posted this to Facebook last Friday, because it just couldn’t wait for Ten for Tuesday. But in case you missed it. Trust me, it is worth your time.

What makes this video great? The task itself? The excited narration? The dramatic music? Yes… but what puts it over the top is that the dude wears white gloves and a lab coat.

Rolling a tire down an Olympic ski jump to see how far it will fly

Ten for Tuesday–Tanned, Rested, and Ready Edition

Happy Tuesday!

I’m back from vacation in the Florida Keys with Robert and the kids. The last time all five of us got away together for an entire week was summer 2015, when I was chaplain at the Presbyterian House in Chautauqua. Which was a bit of a busman’s holiday. This was a true vacation, and much needed. And as often happens during these getaways, I got tremendous clarity on some vocational things, including what my next book will be about. Sabbath time is powerful that way!

Ten for Tuesday was on hiatus last week, so I’ve been sitting on these links for a while. They’re still good though!

1. Turtles!! A highlight of last week’s trip to the Keys was touring the Turtle Hospital, which has been rescuing, rehabbing and returning sea turtles for decades. I’ve always loved turtles, and these animals were truly special. Some had survived being hit by boats AND being attacked by sharks. Most of them are returned to their natural habitats, but five turtles are permanent residents, one of which we “adopted” in honor of Easter and in lieu of big Easter baskets.

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2. José M. Hernández’s journey to space lasted over two decades. The son of Mexican migrant workers was rejected 11 times by NASA before becoming a part of the 19th class of astronauts in 2004:

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3. Teaching Our Children to ‘Stay Soft’ in a World that Wants to Toughen Them Up

This hits close to home. When I went to pick up our cats from boarding yesterday, James opted not to go with me, because it makes him sad to hear them meowing in their carriers on the way home.

Teaching Our Children To Stay Soft In A World That Wants To Them To ‘Toughen Up’

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4. Plans for the 2017 Ragnar Relay DC are underway! Our team is mostly formed, and under a new name, That Time Clark Tried to Kill Me 😉

I loved this photo from Ragnar’s Instagram. The night run is one of the things that makes Ragnar special.

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5. Did Reddit Solve the Problem of Online Hate Speech?

Oh, if wishing made it so. Still, this was a VERY cool experiment, starting with a blank “canvas” of pixels and these instructions:

There is an empty canvas.
You may place a tile upon it, but you must wait to place another.
Individually you can create something.
Together you can create something more.

I am certain there are connections to improv in this experiment. In any event, read about what happened. It’s fascinating, quirky and hopeful.

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6. Author Nancy Schlossberg frames aging well as an act of improvisation 

Speaking of improv! I appreciated the connections between improv and “reframing,” and the kaleidoscope is a rich image–sometimes the tiniest shift can lead to a whole new picture.

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7. The Most Famous Book That Takes Place in Every State

Many quibbles with this list: What makes a book “famous”? Shouldn’t Texas’s choice be Terms of Endearment? And can’t North Carolina do better than a Nicholas Sparks novel? Still, lots to add to your reading list! A 50-states reading goal would be fun.

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8. Parents, It’s Time to Get Out of the Way and Let Your Kids Just Play

When I speak to groups about Sabbath, I sometimes include a module entitled “Why Sabbath is Good for Children.” This article is along those lines.

As a parent, I get it–unstructured play can be messy; there are conflicts; kids can get bumps and bruises. And with so many two-parent households, structured, supervised activities become a child-care necessity. Still–get out of your kids’ business as much as you can and let them play!

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9. Moody Views of a Frigid Chicago by Mike Meyers

Courtesy of Colossal, some lovely views of one of my favorite cities:

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10. And finally, a little resurrection note, courtesy of my friend Roy Howard and Roberta Bondi:

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Ten for Tuesday: “Coastal Elite” Edition

I call it that because a lot of this week’s links come from the WaPo and the NYT… so be it. But don’t be bothered by the source 😉

1. God Says Yes to Me

I had forgotten about this poem by Kaylin Haught, but I recently rediscovered it during a re-read of Patty Digh’s Life is a Verb:

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2. Stunning Science Photos

Lots at the link. Here’s just one. Whoa!

The Julie Dorrington winner: Intraocular lens ‘iris clip’ This image shows how an iris clip, also known as an artificial intraocular lens (IOL), is fitted onto the eye. An iris clip is used to treat conditions such as myopia (nearsightedness) and cataracts (cloudiness of the lens). This particular patient, a 70-year-old man, regained almost full vision following his surgery. Mark Bartley, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust/Wellcome Images

The Julie Dorrington winner: Intraocular lens ‘iris clip’ This image shows how an iris clip, also known as an artificial intraocular lens (IOL), is fitted onto the eye. An iris clip is used to treat conditions such as myopia (nearsightedness) and cataracts (cloudiness of the lens). This particular patient, a 70-year-old man, regained almost full vision following his surgery. Mark Bartley, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust/Wellcome Images

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3.  How the Scarcity Mindset Can Make Problems Worse 

NPR: When you really want something, you start to focus on it obsessively. When you’re hungry, it’s hard to think of anything other than food, when you’re desperately poor, you constantly worry about making ends meet. Scarcity produces a kind of tunnel vision, and it explains why, when we’re in a hole, we often lose sight of long-term priorities and dig ourselves even deeper. Here’s Sendhil.

MULLAINATHAN: What if it’s not that poor people are somehow deficient but that poverty makes everyone less capable, that it’s the – that it’s you and I tomorrow, were we to become poor, would all of a sudden have the same effect, that poverty is in some sense changing our minds?

VEDANTAM: Of course, if this hypothesis is true, then…

MULLAINATHAN: The same person, when they’re poor, should have very different cognitive capacity than when they’re rich.

So critical for empathy. Also helpful to understand as we discuss policy solutions to poverty.

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4. Waking from Hiberation, The Hard Work of Spring Begins

Several animals profiled here! I’d never given much thought to what happens when animals emerge from hibernation.

Arctic ground squirrels hibernate farther north than any other animal. They enter torpor in August or September, and stay in suspended animation underground for up to 270 days, reducing their metabolism by well over 90 percent to survive.

To achieve this, males shrink their testes and stop testosterone production, which means they must experience puberty every spring. When they awaken in mid-March, they live off a cache of seeds, berries, mushrooms and willow leaves while sexually maturing and bulking up.

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5. People in Prison Stay Connected to Loved Ones Through App

The article profiles Marcus Bullock, the chief executive of Flikshop, an app that helps people in prison connect with friends and family. He also leads apprenticeship programs for former inmates through the nonprofit Free Minds Book Club.

He got the idea for the app when he himself was in prison. For me the key insight is here:

Do you have any regrets?

No. Because my failure has been my tutor my entire career. And the thing is, I never would be able to be in the markets I am, with this technology, had I never gone to prison. Obviously, I wouldn’t, you know, give anyone advice to go to prison so you can come home with a good idea. [Laughs.] But what I will say is I was able to somehow take the adversity of a situation and really build out the next steps of my life.

I think it’s OK for people to feel regret. But what he’s describing is improv, people. Yes-and.

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6. How to Start Running

You’ve probably picked up the fact that I love running. It has given so much to my life, mentally as much as physically. Click the link for a whole collection of articles to help you get started. I’d love to cheer you on!

Pro-tips (from me, but many of them echoed in the article)

  • get fitted for shoes at a running store
  • start slow and easy–slower and easier than you think you should
  • listen to your body–pain does not equal gain, especially in the beginning
  • don’t believe the hype that running ruins your knees–that’s been debunked.)
  • if running really doesn’t work for you after giving it a decent effort, move. Do something.

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7. We Get to Carry Each Other

Speaking of running, I never tire of videos like this. This one’s from this weekend’s Philadelphia Half Marathon:

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8. I Loved My Grandmother. But She Was a Nazi.

The article is poignant and important, but I especially want to highlight one of the comments on the article. (Side note: the reader- and NYT-curated comments are a worthy exception to the rule never to read the comments. They are frequently insightful.)

Read the article, but here’s the comment:

A few years ago I inherited papers from some German relatives, whom I had come to know as gentle and lovely people. The elder relatives claimed they were never Nazis. I did not argue with them but also did not believe them. I assumed they were among the so-called ordinary Germans, who later re-wrote their own role. I asked a student of mine to please translate the papers, and that is how I made an incredibly moving discovery. Buried in those papers was a letter they had received from the Nazi party, upbraiding them for failing to do their duty and join the party. The letter was obviously a form letter sent to anyone who had not joined. The letter concluded with a line that chilled me to my center–it said something like this: “You will be judged in the future by what you fail to do today”. The letter’s intent, obviously, was to shame recipients into joining with a triumphant cause. Instead, a great granddaughter wept as she read a letter confirming the fact that some Germans indeed did refuse, as long as possible, to allow shame to shape their actions. Just as the courageous author of this op ed shows, our seemingly innocuous decisions in the midst of confusing times may haunt or profoundly influence our descendants. Today’s actions matter not just for today.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

Or for good people to gradually, incrementally, go along with terrible things.

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9. With Friends Like These–Interview with Adam Savage

I continue to appreciate Ana Marie Cox’s podcast about difficult conversations. A description of this week’s episode:

Disagreeing about facts is one thing, what if you disagree about reality? Adam Savage (“Mythbusters,” Tested.com) joins to help a WFLT listener whose sister has embraced right-wing conspiracy theories. MTV’s Ezekiel Kweku comes by to discuss how America’s dystopian future could be based on its dystopian past.

Our family looooooooves Adam Savage and misses Mythbusters every Sunday night during our basement pizza picnic when we watch a show together. He was very wise on this episode, and Kweku was also insightful in explaining the appeal of conspiracy theories–on both sides.

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10. Adorable Humans

This was charming:

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Go be adorable!