Friday, August 21, 2015

Staff Picks: Winning, Possums, an Arkansas Times 'End of Summer' mix and more

Posted By , , and on Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 4:00 PM

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Here is a short mix I made this afternoon inspired by the end of summer (still about a month off — I think about it all the time) and by something called the "Abilene paradox," which I read about on Wikipedia recently and have since found applicable to just about everything in life. Other recommendations this week:

1. Key and Peele: Outkast Reunion

2. "Hidden Water: From the Frank Stanford Archives" is out now via Third Man Books

3. "Japan: Moss-viewing excursions gain popularity"

4. Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, and Wim Wenders on the set of "Paris, Texas"

— Will Stephenson

Apparently someone named James Harrison from someplace called Pittsburgh got the nation's attention this week by loudly and self-righteously returning the "participation" trophies his 6- and 8-year-old sons received in some sport or another. Said Harrison on Instagram, "I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best...cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better ... not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy."

Supposedly, this taught a valuable lesson to his sons, and, by extension, the rest of us sad, soft sheep bleating out our complaints here in the easy pastures of entitlement-land America.

If I were remotely invested in sports (which I'm not) and if I were a parent (which I'm not), I would recommend this short Deadspin essay by Albert Burneko in response to James Harrison, which begins by pointing out, "I do not think that the world is in any danger of running out of people who believe winning is the only thing worth feeling good about":

The big grown-up world is coming up behind my children—behind James Harrison’s kids and yours, too, if you have them. To sort them: those who will prosper, or falter; those whom the barbarism we have enshrined into our way of life will reward, and those it will devour; those who will strive with their whole selves to make their way in that grown-up world and then unknowingly choose to attend the same prayer meeting as Dylann Roof and be snatched out of it in violence and fear and confusion, whether they got trophies for participating in sports or not. Along the way it will beat them up and overwhelm them and punish or exploit what is best and bravest about them; it will make them feel small and lonely and bad about themselves, each and every one, because that is what the grown-up world does to all our little kids when they grow up into it.  
...
For now, for now, for as long as I can have it, the reason to do things —- to play sports, to do work, to get out of bed in the morning -— is because the privilege is a fucking miracle, because it might allow my children to be children now, now, today, before the least consideration of long-term goals and competition and getting ahead may intrude upon the impulse a little kid gets to put a balloon inside his shirt and make another little kid laugh. Before the world barges in with its repulsive notions of good enough and demands to know whether these two small people have earned their place in it. They earned more than the world can ever give them when they woke up this morning. So did James Harrison’s kids. So did you.

Since I don't have children, though, I'll just recommend this video of a bunch of possums eating bananas. — Benji Hardy

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I broke my kneecap a couple of weeks ago, which most annoyingly (at least for today) means that my ankle and foot swell throughout the day. The way to reduce swelling apparently is to rest your foot above your heart for an hour a couple of times a day. In my office that meant lying under my desk and reading whatever I could find ("Garner's American Usage") and screwing around on my phone. That's how I cam to download the Giphy Cam, a brand new iPhone app that turns selfies into animated gifs. I've never really gotten into selfies before, but I'm all about the idea of sending one of these to someone in a text like an emoticon. I tried out this one with my wife. Her response: "How do I delete this?"  — Lindsey Millar

Since the untimely death of Heartbeat 106.7 FM my roommate and I have been missing our oldies and throwback jams. Scouring the internet for quality throwback playlists my roommate stumbled across this 30 minute long compilation video of the hottest hip hop songs of the early 2000s. It's not quite the oldies but it has more than a few of our favorite baby makers, rump shakers and club bangers. If you're looking for something to do for the next 30 minutes or put off something else you should be doing, check it out. — Kaya Herron 

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