Books Libraries Reading

Reading Books in 2022

In a post last week, David Sparks (MacSparky) wrote about his book purchasing and consuming choices. David’s post motivated me to share some of my approaches to reading – which I’ve been doing a lot of during this Covid era. Here we go…

  • eBooks make highlighting easy – Like David, I prefer reading most books on either my Kindle Paperwhite or in the Kindle app on my iPhone or iPad rather than reading a paper book. Amazon has made the Kindle “ecosystem” seamlessly available on all of my devices. I’m a big fan of using highlighting on Kindle and I can move from device to device continuing to read the same book while my highlights are captured online in the Amazon cloud. I have found that highlighting in a digital book is so much better than the old school way of highlighting paper books.
  • After finishing a book – When I finish a book, I can easily download my highlights from the Amazon cloud and save them in my digital journal where they’re easily searchable – along with my comments on the book. Highlights made in a paper book aren’t nearly as useful as those highlights are left buried on the paper pages of the book and not readily searchable or re-discoverable. There are also services like Readwise which can make use of your highlights and remind you of them on a daily basis.
  • Text vs Audio – Sometimes, but not often, I’ll use Audible to get an audio book version of a title I think I’ll want to “read” in the car or in my headphones while traveling, etc. Since I like to highlight, audio can be problematic for that so much of the time I’m actually reading and not listening to books.
  • Libraries not booksellers – With the Libby app on my iPhone I can checkout an eBook from a local library and then download it to my Kindle. A few years ago I made some trips around the Bay Area to pickup library cards from various local libraries. In California, you can get a library card if you’re a California resident – even if you’re not a resident in the local area of the library. Having multiple library cards is especially useful when using the Libby app to search for books in electronic form. Libby makes it easy to see which local library might have a particular book available or, if not immediately available, where the hold time might be shortest. I’ve found that some local libraries are much more responsive to eBook requests than others with my holds often being satisfied very quickly – especially for the most popular titles.
  • Downsides – While there are a lot of pros to my approach but it’s not without downsides. The biggest is that by relying primarily on reading eBooks rather than paper books I’m not often supporting my local bookseller with book purchases. I also frequently used to donate physical books after reading them to local libraries – something that’s not possible with eBooks.

I have some similar processes for managing the rest of my daily reading. At some point, I’ll share what I’ve learned from doing so.


The Weekender

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Morning Reading – Saturday, January 09, 2021

And what a week it has been. Time to move on.

What We Found in Robert Caro’s Yellowed Files – The New York Times

“There’s a belief among some — not all — nonfiction writers that all that matters is to get the facts,” Mr. Caro said, reflecting on his continuing quest to find the right words. “I don’t believe that. I believe that the quality of writing is just as important in nonfiction as in fiction.”

Meanwhile, at the White House this morning, the president’s schedule: President Trump will work from early in the morning until late in the evening. He will make many calls and have many meetings. Indeed.

The Inciter-in-Chief | The New Yorker

Donald Trump is just days from his eclipse. It cannot come soon enough.

Opinion | Trump’s Capitol Offense – The New York Times

Donald Trump’s inhumanity, his sick torrent of lies and incitement, came to its inevitable, shameful end on Wednesday, when a mob smeared blood, excrement, hate and death all over the Capitol.

The American Abyss – The New York Times

Post-truth is pre-fascism, and Trump has been our post-truth president. When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place. Without agreement about some basic facts, citizens cannot form the civil society that would allow them to defend themselves.

How Jamie Raskin Survived the Capitol Attack and His Son’s Death – The Atlantic

“Enough, my beloved colleagues. It is time for America to heal. It is time for our families and communities to come together. Let us stop pouring salt in the wounds of America for no reason at all.”

Here lies @realDonaldTrump, having tweeted itself to death –

The Twitter account @realDonaldTrump died Friday. It was 11 years, 8 months old and had issued nearly 47,000 tweets. None of them survived. The cause of death was hubris.

Twitter warns of Inauguration Day violence, million MAGA march, as reason for Trump ban – The Washington Post

Citing the potential for Trump’s words to incite others — even in the absence of clear references to violence — took Twitter’s enforcement actions to a restrictive new level

George Washington foresaw the Capitol riot. It’s why he hated political parties. – The Washington Post

George Washington warned us that this could happen.
Our nation’s first president wanted to unite Americans, and he believed political factions and parties were antithetical to that goal. He was the only president to avoid claiming one.

The G.O.P.’s New Distancing Policy – The New York Times

Some Republicans may be trying to jump off the Trump train at the final station. But they’ve already spent years helping fuel the engine.

Some Pro-Trump Rioters Wanted More Violence – The Atlantic

The building’s silence carried with it a sense of relief, like the end of a horror movie, when viewers can finally exhale. But it could just as easily mark the beginning of something worse.

The Capitol Riot and White Conservatives’ Extremism – The Atlantic

That means, to win elections, virtually all Republicans now need superheated turnout from the Trump base: white, non-college-educated, nonurban, and evangelical Christian voters. And that means Republicans of all stripes will feel pressure to continue portraying Democrats not merely as misguided or wrong, but as an existential threat to GOP voters’ lives—even as Wednesday’s riot captures how those alarms are exacerbating the greatest strains on the nation’s cohesion since the Civil War.

It’s 2021, and the pandemic is still here – The Verge

I regret to inform you that even with all of the other news happening this week, there is still a pandemic going on.

The Tiny Satellites That Will Connect Cows, Cars and Shipping Containers to the Internet – WSJ

Like so many innovations in their early days, from the internet to the smartphone, no one is quite sure what low-cost, low-power data relays from space will enable—or whether there will be enough demand to sustain the many companies jostling to provide it. In the next year, hundreds of satellites from more than a dozen companies are set to launch.


First Friday

Photo by Sunyu on Unsplash

Morning Reading – Friday, January 08, 2021

What a sad week in America. Twelve days to go…

Donald Trump’s Final Days – WSJ

He has cost Republicans the House, the White House, and now the Senate. Worse, he has betrayed his loyal supporters by lying to them about the election and the ability of Congress and Mr. Pence to overturn it. He has refused to accept the basic bargain of democracy, which is to accept the result, win or lose. It is best for everyone, himself included, if he goes away quietly.

Bring the Insurrectionists to Justice – WSJ (Peggy Noonan)

He is a bad man and not a stable one and he is dangerous. America is not safe in his hands. It is not too late. Removal of the president would be the prudent move, not the wild one. Get rid of him. Now.

Donald Trump must be held to account for storming of the Capitol | Financial Times

American institutions have come under attack before. Never, though, at the instigation of its own president.

First GOP lawmaker calls for invoking 25th Amendment to remove Trump | TheHill

“Here’s the truth. The president caused this. The president is unfit and the president is unwell. And the president now must relinquish control of the executive branch voluntarily or involuntarily,” Kinzinger, a centrist Republican and frequent Trump critic, said in a video message posted on Twitter.

POLITICO Playbook: A fitting end to the Trump presidency – POLITICO

We all knew President DONALD TRUMP’s term would end badly. It had to. There were just too many lies. Too many conspiracy theories. Too many times where journalists searched their syllabuses for new ways to say “unprecedented” and where Americans across the country sat aghast learning just how low we could go in our own eyes and in the eyes of the world.

A Self-Pardon Won’t Save Trump – The Atlantic

To grant him dismissal would allow every future president to negate every future criminal investigation of himself, and to give himself a get-out-of-jail-free card upon his exit from office. I would be very surprised if there are five votes on the Supreme Court for this position.

Editorial: Hawley should resign. Silent enablers must now publicly condemn Trumpism. | Editorial |

Hawley’s presidential aspirations have been flushed down the toilet because of his role in instigating Wednesday’s assault on democracy. He should do Missourians and the rest of the country a big favor and resign now.

Jan. 6 Was 9 Weeks — And 4 Years — in the Making – POLITICO

The “fringe” of our politics no longer exists. Between the democratization of information and the diminished confidence in establishment politicians and institutions ranging from the media to corporate America, particularly on the right, there is no longer any buffer between mainstream thought and the extreme elements of our politics.


The Day After

Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

Morning Reading – Thursday, January 07, 2021

What happened yesterday was a travesty, an embarrassment, a very sad and dark day for America – provoked by a president. “I love you,” he said to his supporters. It’s time for change. Our leaders need to react.

Trump’s Reckoning—and America’s | The New Yorker

On his way out, Trump is leaving destruction—actual, not metaphorical—in his wake. What wreckage will tomorrow bring?

The day Trump broke the GOP – POLITICO

Republicans started the day losing the Senate. They ended it with President Donald Trump’s supporters losing their minds.

It’s time to deplatform Trump – The Verge

It’s time for Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to remove Trump.

Trump and Twitter – Stratechery by Ben Thompson

Turn off Trump’s account.

Update from Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook

We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.

Opinion | Trump caused the assault on the Capitol. He must be removed. – The Washington Post

Responsibility for this act of sedition lies squarely with the president, who has shown that his continued tenure in office poses a grave threat to U.S. democracy. He should be removed.

Opinion | Impeach and Convict. Right Now. – The New York Times

For five years, Republicans let him degrade political culture by normalizing his behavior. For five years, they let him wage war on democratic norms and institutions. For five years, they treated his nonstop mendacity as a quirk of character, not a disqualification for office. For five years, they treated his rallies as carnivals of democracy, not as training grounds for mob rule. For five years, they thought this was costless. On Wednesday — forgive the cliché, but it’s apt here — their chickens came home to roost.

U.S. Capitol Insurrection Was a Trump Show, From Start to Finish – Bloomberg

It was inevitable, perhaps, that one of his final presidential acts would involve stoking an assault on the Capitol. It’s not inevitable, though, that the Pandora’s Box he inherited and so gleefully opened will remain a permanent fixture.

MO Sen. Josh Hawley to blame for mob, Capitol coup attempt | The Kansas City Star

This revolt is the result, and if you didn’t know this is where we’ve been headed from the start, it’s because you didn’t want to know.

The Capitol Invaders Enjoyed the Privilege of Not Being Taken Seriously | The New Yorker

The invaders may be full of contempt for a system that they think doesn’t represent them, but on Wednesday they managed to prove that it does. The system, which shrugged off their violence like it had been a toddler’s tantrum, represents them. It’s the rest of us it’s failing to protect.

FBI — FBI Seeking Information Related to Violent Activity at the U.S Capitol Building

The FBI is seeking information that will assist in identifying individuals who are actively instigating violence in Washington, DC. The FBI is accepting tips and digital media depicting rioting and violence in the U.S. Capitol Building and surrounding area in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021.


Vote Counting Wednesday

reflection of gray mosque on water
Photo by Kendall Hoopes on

Morning Reading – Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Today is the day when the U.S. Congress officially counts the Electoral College votes for the presidential election. We are finally here. We are hoping for a rational process today!

Did the Coronavirus Escape From a Lab? – New York Magazine

What happened was fairly simple, I’ve come to believe. It was an accident. A virus spent some time in a laboratory, and eventually it got out. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, began its existence inside a bat, then it learned how to infect people in a claustrophobic mine shaft, and then it was made more infectious in one or more laboratories, perhaps as part of a scientist’s well-intentioned but risky effort to create a broad-spectrum vaccine. SARS-2 was not designed as a biological weapon. But it was, I think, designed. 

Covid-19: U.S. Has Been Down This Vaccine Rollout Road Before – Bloomberg

Just as the U.S. is now struggling to distribute Covid-19 vaccines, so did the nation struggle in the mid-1950s to distribute the polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk. There were shortages, mistakes and self-inflicted impediments. In some ways, the parallels are striking. To delve into the history of the polio vaccine is to realize that it has lessons for the here and now.

My January 6 Trump Protest Nightmare – The Atlantic

He could have said, “Any mass gathering right now is going to put police officers and Secret Service agents at much greater risk of getting sick or dying.” But he values the lives of others too little to have done so. He chose instead to feed his own ego at the price of American carnage.

Opinion | Jeff Flake: ‘Trump Can’t Hurt You. But He Is Destroying Us.’ – The New York Times

Today, the American people deserve to witness the majesty of a peaceful transfer of power, just as I saw, awe-struck, two decades ago. Instead, we find ourselves in this bizarre condition of our own making, two weeks from the inauguration of a new president, with madness unspooling from the White House, grievous damage to our body politic compounding daily.

Opinion | Have Trump’s Lies Wrecked Free Speech? – The New York Times

The essence is that the business model of advertising added to the editor-free world of the internet, means that it pays for them to make us crazy. Think about the comparison to the processed food industry: they, like the internet platforms, have a business that exploits a human weakness, they profit the more they exploit, the more they exploit, the sicker we are.

The Electoral College Isn’t Supposed to Work This Way – The New York Times

“The possibility that politicians of either party could change an election’s outcome through postelection manipulation of the Electoral College is destabilizing. And the idea that the vice president, sitting in the chair as presiding officer of the joint session of Congress to “count the electoral votes,” could decide on his own to ignore electors certified by the states and replace them with impostors certified by no one leads straight to the end of democracy.”


First Tuesday

Photo by Scott Loftesness

Morning Reading – Tuesday, January 05, 2021

How Donald Trump’s Presidency Ends – The Atlantic

A tall metal barricade has been erected at Lafayette Square, just north of the White House, and is covered top to bottom with signs—welcome proof that as Donald Trump maneuvers to defy the Twelfth Amendment and cling to power, the First is very much intact. you’re fired, one sign reads.

The Beleaguered Chroniclers of the Trump White House

“The greatest challenge in covering this White House has been to aggressively seek out the truth. But how do you strive to be fair and accurate when you’re covering a president who is calling you a traitor?”

Giant Viruses Can Change Their Hosts’ DNA – The Atlantic

Leave it to viruses, however, to keep surprising us: Giant viruses don’t just kill their hosts. In some cases, according to a recent study, they can keep their hosts alive and become part of them.

Sourav Chatterjee awarded prestigious mathematics prize – Stanford Today

“When you’re going to have this one mathematical idea that is a leap, it’s completely unpredictable,” he added. “I might be taking a shower, or driving my car. But that moment when the big idea comes, it’s just amazing.”

My best photographs of 2020 – Charlotte Gibb Photography

When I reflect on everything that happened in 2020, it is a wonder I was able to make art at all.

COVID-19 concerns: Air New Zealand crew to overnight in Hawaii instead of US mainland

Air New Zealand explains that the Hawaii stop will allow “our crew members to overnight in Honolulu rather than Los Angeles” in an effort to reduce the risk of crews catching the virus on the mainland, where positivity rates have climbed as high as 15% and up.

Electric car sales jump to record 54% market share in Norway in 2020 but Tesla loses top spot – MarketWatch

However, Tesla’s TSLA, +0.73% popular midsize model — the bestselling car in Norway in 2019 — fell to second place in 2020, losing out to Volkswagen’s VOW, +0.18% Audi e-tron with Volkswagen’s ID.3 in third.

The Beatles saved me in 1970. Can music save others in 2021? | 48 hills

I have not the slightest doubt that I survived adolescence because of four musicians I never met, but whose sounds permeated my life from the age of about 10. Two of them are still with us, though at the ages of 78 and 80 we can’t be sure for how long. They were in a band together a long time ago and you might have heard of them. Their names are Paul and Ringo.a

Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach on the Drama of ‘Walk On By’ – WSJ

Hal had just three lyric lines. They would become the song’s opener: “If you see me walking down the street / and I start to cry, each time we meet / Walk on by.” I came up with a melody line and we evolved from there. 

The Art of Coincidence: Street Photos of Special Accidental Moments

Because we are surrounded by coincidences, it is often difficult for us to pay attention to them. The camera is an amazing tool to preserve the moment and in the perspective of time also to infuse it with additional meanings.

5 Ways to Be Creative with Your iPad in 2021 – Holly Pixels

What was it Bob Ross said? “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” Yeah, let’s do that. 


First Monday of 2021

Morning Reading – Monday, January 4, 2021

Let’s hope American democracy survives this week. This morning’s stock market action certainly reflects uncertainty – about both this as well as the state of the Covid pandemic. It’s a time to be hopeful about this new year – but we’ve got these huge irritants from 2020 still lingering and fouling everything up.

A moment of grave danger for US democracy | Financial Times

Extraordinary as it may seem, what amounts to an undeclared coup d’état is being attempted in the US. It will almost certainly fail. But the next two weeks will severely test the strength of America’s institutions — and the courage of its public officials.

“But as infection rates in the Bay Area climb during the winter surge, and I.C.U. beds finally start to fill up, the lesson to take from Berkeley, San Francisco, and many other successful cities isn’t that, by listening to science, an educated and careful population can stop the spread. It’s that, even within a city that has systematically priced out the most vulnerable populations, an outbreak can still happen. The virus will find vulnerable people where they live—even if it’s in barns on the outer edges of the city, even if almost nobody knows they exist.”

What the San Francisco Bay Area Can Teach Us About Fighting a Pandemic – The New Yorker

“But as infection rates in the Bay Area climb during the winter surge, and I.C.U. beds finally start to fill up, the lesson to take from Berkeley, San Francisco, and many other successful cities isn’t that, by listening to science, an educated and careful population can stop the spread. It’s that, even within a city that has systematically priced out the most vulnerable populations, an outbreak can still happen. The virus will find vulnerable people where they live—even if it’s in barns on the outer edges of the city, even if almost nobody knows they exist.”

Airline workers face mask resistance with scant government backup – The Washington Post

As the man returned from the lavatory with a mask dangling from one ear, a flight attendant asked him to put it on properly. “Why? Is something going on that I should know about?” the passenger asked, before grabbing the mask and ripping the string. “Damn it, I guess I can’t wear it now.”

We Must Keep This Republic – The Atlantic

“These past four years and this week have shown, as no doubt the weeks, months, and years to come will show, that the challenge remains—that free and democratic government was, is, and will always be a fraught and uncertain enterprise. But despite the damage, on the evidence, the people of the United States and their institutions will meet that challenge.”

Divided U.S., Not Covid, Is the Biggest Risk to World in 2021, Survey Finds – Bloomberg

“With the global economy still in the teeth of the Covid-19 crisis, the Eurasia group sees a divided U.S. as a key risk this year for a world lacking leadership.”

Predictions for the state of travel in 2021 from our editor – The Points Guy

“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is how important human interaction is and that one of the most amazing aspects of travel is that it teaches us about others. As we all venture out in 2021, I hope that we view our trips through a new lens and realize just how lucky we are to travel.”

Love Hurts — a song recorded 60 years ago by the Everly Brothers has had a colourful afterlife —

Heartbreak, it seems, is never out of style.


The Weekender

Photo by Scott Loftesness

Morning Reading – Saturday, January 02, 2021

Today is one of those excellent January partly cloudies in which light chooses an unexpected part of the landscape to trick out in gilt, and then shadow sweeps it away. You know you’re alive.

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

As Understanding of Russian Hacking Grows, So Does Alarm – The New York Times

At a minimum it has set off alarms about the vulnerability of government and private sector networks in the United States to attack and raised questions about how and why the nation’s cyberdefenses failed so spectacularly.

Airline workers face mask resistance with scant government backup – The Washington Post

As the man returned from the lavatory with a mask dangling from one ear, a flight attendant asked him to put it on properly. “Why? Is something going on that I should know about?” the passenger asked, before grabbing the mask and ripping the string. “Damn it, I guess I can’t wear it now.”

What I Ate on My Weight Loss Journey of 2020 | by Mark Suster | Jan, 2021 | Both Sides of the Table

Eating matters 10x more than working out. Both are important but as they say “you can’t outrun your fork.” In periods where I did MONSTER work outs (running 13 miles / day and still hiking afterwards) but eating more than normal I still gained weight. In periods where I worked out much less (or not at all) but stuck to my eating plan I always lost weight. It’s the simple.

Some people can eat anything and not gain a pound. How metabolism affects the calories you burn each day. – The Washington Post

If you really want to give your metabolism a jolt, the easiest way is to bump up your muscle mass and activity level. By increasing muscle mass, you’ll also increase the base number of calories needed to maintain those muscles. Instead of complaining about a slow metabolism, you can try to turn it up to be at least a bit quicker.

Seniors Can Stay Fit During the Pandemic With Basic Weight Training. Here’s How. | Barron’s

Concentrate on total body exercises like deadlifts, overhead presses, and power cleans.

3 Easy Workouts You Can Do While Sheltering at Home, According to an Exercise Coach | Barron’s

A brisk 30-minute walk around the neighborhood five days a week will keep you in decent shape. If you want to get fitter, take two or three 30-second sprints during that walk.

The Benefits of Sticking to New Year’s Resolution to Work Out More – WSJ

“In the past, we ignored activity if it was not at a moderately intense level, like brisk walking, but light-intensity activity has a lot of health benefits,” Dr. Richards said, particularly for people who are sedentary.

A Monster Wind Turbine Is Upending an Industry – The New York Times

The G.E. machines will have a generating capacity that would have been almost unimaginable a decade ago. A single one will be able to turn out 13 megawatts of power, enough to light up a town of roughly 12,000 homes.


Welcome to 2021!

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

Morning Reading – Friday, January 1, 2021

The US reported a total of 345,737 deaths due to Covid-19 in the year 2020. By month:

February: 1
March: 3,768
April: 58,960
May: 42,099
June: 23,416
July: 26,164
August: 30,234
September: 23,341
October: 23,691
November: 37,172
December: 77,124

What Is Going To Happen In 2021 – AVC

I believe that we will continue to want to work from home, exercise from home, shop from home, watch first run movies from home, order in, livestream, and all of the other new behaviors we learned to enjoy and perfect in the last year. Where all of this shakes out will be the big reveal of 2021… –and– Climate will be to this decade what cloud was to the last one.

In Trump’s Final Chapter, a Failure to Rise to the Covid-19 Moment – The New York Times

Throughout late summer and fall, in the heat of a re-election campaign that he would go on to lose, and in the face of mounting evidence of a surge in infections and deaths far worse than in the spring, Mr. Trump’s management of the crisis — unsteady, unscientific and colored by politics all year — was in effect reduced to a single question: What would it mean for him?

Opinion | Josh Hawley’s heedless ambition is a threat to the republic – The Washington Post

What can be done? We can refuse to inhabit the lie. … And we must ensure that the aspirations of people such as Hawley — who has made the madness more mainstream — come to nothing. This begins with a simple and sad recognition: The ambitions of this knowledgeable, talented young man are now a threat to the republic.

For New Year’s Resolutions, Never Think You’re Too Old to Become a Beginner – WSJ

I had this feeling a few years ago when I suddenly realized, shepherding my young daughter to any number of classes and lessons, from swimming to piano, that I couldn’t remember the last new skill I had learned. I had gently ossified into a finished being, coasting along on midcareer competence.

How I Lost 65 Pounds In 18 Months Without Any Fad Diets or Gimmicks | by Mark Suster | Dec, 2020 | Both Sides of the Table

My wife said to me (I’m paraphrasing), “I wonder why in the past you weren’t able to get beyond your initial success and this time you were able to?” Because I was mentally ready to. It’s that simple. –and– You must weigh yourself every morning. Every single morning — good or bad. … Weigh yourself every day. Religiously. Obsessively.

In 2016, I decided I needed to get serious about weight loss. I was “morbidly obese” and my blood sugar levels were becoming ever more concerning. I had been on weight loss programs a couple of times earlier in my life but the results didn’t “stick” and I gained the weight back. I needed to fess up to reality and deal with my weight problem.

The keys to my success – echoing what Mark shares in the article I’ve linked to above – include the daily routine of weighing in (just before I step into the shower – it’s now totally a habit including entering my weight into the Health app on my iPhone.

In addition, I need to find a way to built in 20-30 minutes of exercise each day. Pre-Covid, that was a neighborhood walk most days. During Covid, I began the regular morning habit of using an elliptical trainer for 15 minutes or so first thing every morning. I also began wearing compression socks every day – which had a big impact on how my legs felt, seeming to make them “lighter” and less fatiguing when I walk. (Note: I highly recommend the Sockwell brand of compression socks. They’re not cheap but they seem to last almost forever – much longer than regular socks!).

In addition to paying a lot of attention to portion control, I totally gave up alcohol when I began my weight loss journey and haven’t had a drink in over four years. Eliminating the empty calories of alcohol was part of paying close attention to carbs in my diet as well.

Losing a lot of weight is one of the best things I’ve ever done – and, in classic fashion, I can truly say I wish I had done it years before!

Meanwhile, here’s a fun long post about carbs!…

Why Is There a Bucatini Shortage in America?

Being educated noodle consumers, we knew that there was, more generally, a pasta shortage due to the pandemic, but we were still able to find spaghetti and penne and orecchiette — shapes which, again, insult me even in concept. The missing bucatini felt different. It was specific. Frightening. Why bucatini? Why now? Why us?

The Liminality of Craig Mod – Chicago Review of Books

“One thing I’ve noticed is that I cannot photograph if I’m with someone,” Mod says. “It’s just really, really difficult […] to be present if I’m not alone. Being in that solitude and the mind space of solitude, almost [like] a mantra, like a meditative space of it, is critical for me to photograph in the way that that excites me or that feels true to it.”

Wow, Craig’s comment about needing to photograph alone is also my experience. There’s one exception – when I’m am out doing street photography with my friend Doug Kaye. Doug and I don’t seem to intrude on each other’s concentration – and we certainly don’t feel compelled to fill the silence with conversation. When we “work a block” we will work independently – and then flow back together when we conclude it’s time to search again for some better light or a better stage.

Working with a group – like in a photowalk – just doesn’t work as well for me as in a group setting there is an increased need to be participatory, having conversations, etc. which serve to break my concentration and pull me “out of the zone” I prefer being in when making photographs.


The End of 2020!

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Morning Reading – New Years Eve – December 31, 2020

More of my photography: @sjl on Instagram

Today is my Dad’s birthday. He would have been 99 years old today had he lived long enough to see the day. A member of the greatest generation, he would have been very disappointed at 2020.

Bay Area hit with 2 earthquakes Thursday morning

The San Francisco Bay Area was hit with two separate earthquakes early Thursday morning.

Happy New Year, don’t die – The Reformed Broker

I got a text the other day from the biggest smartass I know. Haven’t spoken to him in years. He said, “Happy New Year dont die”…
How does one respond to that? … Happy New Year, don’t die is a pretty fitting way to say goodbye to 2020. This one’s in the books. Another one to hang in the gallery. See you next year.

‘The Other Half of My Soul’: Widows of Covid-19 Bond Over Sudden Loss – The New York Times

“He made it back from two deployments, two separate, dangerous deployments. He came home and this is what killed him.”

Vaccination is going slowly because nobody is in charge – The Washington Post

How did we get from 100 million promised doses to just a few million people vaccinated? It is a lesson in misunderstanding American federalism and a failure of national leadership. The federal government and Operation Warp Speed saw their role as getting vaccines to the states, without considering what supports states would need to get vaccines to the people.

25 Days That Changed the World: How Covid-19 Slipped China’s Grasp – The New York Times

Politics stymied science, in a tension that would define the pandemic. China’s delayed initial response unleashed the virus on the world and foreshadowed battles between scientists and political leaders over transparency, public health and economics that would play out across continents.

Cowards Are Destroying the GOP – The Atlantic

Think about this statement for a moment: The incentives Josh Hawley and many of his fellow Republicans officeholders confront lead them to conclude that they should pretend the lie is true.

Sen. Sasse calls effort to overturn electoral college vote a ‘dangerous ploy’ – The Washington Post

“When we talk in private, I haven’t heard a single Congressional Republican allege that the election results were fraudulent – not one,” he said. “Instead, I hear them talk about their worries about how they will ‘look’ to President Trump’s most ardent supporters.”

8 Themes For The Near Future Of Tech 🔮 | by Scott Belsky

Like all of you, I am eager to move past the challenges of 2020. I’m hopeful that we emerge more productive from the “great refactoring” we all endured, and that we can all reclaim the ~30% of cognitive load that has been consumed by political craziness, gaslighting, and a seemingly never-ending stream of things to worry about.

Do Dogs Really Make Us Happier? – WSJ

But how exactly do dogs make us happier? In a previous study, Dr. Powell’s group had shown that owning a dog promotes the flow of oxytocin, a hormone that decreases our heart rate and fosters feelings of well-being and relaxation. Plus, she adds, dogs “encourage their owners to get out in nature, maintain a sense of routine, and stay in touch with their neighbors.

New Year’s Resolutions That Will Make You Happier – The Atlantic

Take 15 minutes on New Year’s Day and write down five things you are grateful for. Each evening before retiring, study your list for five minutes. Each week, update the list by adding two items. I personally do this, and I can tell you that the list gets easier and easier to build.

Opinion | The Year in Charts – The New York Times

If 2019 was the Year of Trump, then 2020 was the Year of Covid-19 and Trump. Only the most devastating pandemic in a century could have bumped our loudmouthed president into second place.

Opinion | 2020 Taught Us How to Fix This – The New York Times

It turns out that if you tell someone their facts are wrong, you don’t usually win them over; you just entrench false belief.

Opinion | My Joe Biden Story – The New York Times

I’ve known officeholders who could talk endlessly about policy or hand out political gossip as if it were candy. What I hadn’t encountered was a politician like Mr. Biden, willing to let his guard down and reflect on his vulnerabilities. I