Hey, Is Anyone Else Writing Some Good Stuff?

Yes, Indeed. Today We Share a Sample of Worthwhile Reading

A Lot of People Are Writing Well, About Important (and/or Fun) Matters

I invest more time than I probably should reading the work of other writers, particularly bloggers and columnists. Part of this is a desire to learn more, part of it is admiration of good writing. Some readings are like a hot fudge sundae – completely satisfying.

I thought you might enjoy a few of such outstanding examples that have come across my computer screen in recent days. I hope you enjoy them and learn from them as much as did I.

Politics & People

Pete Buttigieg

Wired magazine has a fine interview with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. Delightful reading about one of the better minds of our time. This really is one of our brightest, most talented up and coming politicians. I hope we see a lot more of him in the years to come. He offers America a lot. Take a few minutes to read the interview. https://www.wired.com/story/pete-buttigieg-interview-god-beer-electric-mustang/

A nice bonus in this article is a link to an interactive map that plots the 32,000 projects now underway, in every state, to rebuild America’s infrastructure, thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law the Administration got passed. Secretary Pete has oversight responsibility for a great many of these. It is a fun thing to peruse: https://d2d.gsa.gov/report/bipartisan-infrastructure-law-bil-maps-dashboard

Aging. Two very different but equally accurate articles.

First check out 80 Is the New (…Um, I Forgot). It is a funny AND a thoughtful read. Several of my contemporaries passed this one around among us. The author (from the blog The Mort Report) makes a good case that aging is a pretty individual process, and no small number of people may lose ground on some issues – say mobility and some short term memory- but they have so much experience and wisdom, it is more than a fair trade.

This is a timely conversation, as there is some fretting in the land about Biden’s and Trump’s age. As Mort says, OK replace Biden with who right now? Not a blindingly obvious choice at hand, ready to go today. Trump may actually live longer and do better once he gets on a healthy prison diet, but I digress (sorry, could not resist). Enjoy the read:

Now, to acknowledge the flip side, give a read of this article in The Conversation, talking about the current state of affairs with Senator Feinstein. This is sad and painful in the extreme. Sometimes people are too quick to write off someone with advanced years, but sometimes people persist to need to step down. Not sure what a singular approach would be, but the article gives us much to think about. The need is here, in more than this one case.

Legislators and AI

If you have ever watched members of Congress deal with technology issues, especially things like the internet and social media, you know what this is like. In general, one cannot decide if it would be more appropriate to laugh or cry. Both are appropriate.

The recent hearing about AI was no exception. It was clear most knew there was something to be concerned about and something of great potential, but that is as good as it got. Much of the hearing reminded me of my dog trying to get treats out of one of those dog puzzles one loads with hard to access treats.

I ran across a good article  from NPR that addresses this effectively. The author proposes serious training, familiarization, and updates on these issues for members of Congress and staff. A splendid idea. Some members will never get it (or even agree to sit for the training), but enough could do so to make a difference. Let’s do this.

Food, Friends, and My Man Aristotle

Boxed Wine

Yes, I know what we all think about boxed wine – and we are generally right. This is the cheap, often bad stuff. But the NY Times recently had an interesting article about this that at least raised my curiosity.

Here is the short version: Remember, that not long ago only really bad, cheap wine came with screw tops. “Real” wine came with a cork. A few outliers came with plastic corks but they irritated everyone. Well, some good wine producers are starting to package wines in those boxes. In part this is for environmental reasons (about 15% of the impact the same amount of wine would have in a bottle), easier to ship, easier to store.

So, the Times critic went on a large-scale taste test and found 10 wines that were absolutely a good wine to consume, with prices running from modest to pretty substantial. One tries to jazz up the presentation by using a wooden box. Cute. Anyway, the write up was good enough that I think I will try to find a couple of these and see what results. I’m betting the practice will spread (even though I still love the ritual of uncorking a bottle of fine wine). https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/04/dining/drinks/best-boxed-wines.html

Lessons from Aristotle

We never run out of good ideas and solid advice from Aristotle. If I could spend time with one historical figure, this would be my guy. I just ran across a piece, in Business Insider, of all places,  that recapped and reflected upon Aristotle’s advice on friendship. He thought this was a seriously important part of human life, recognized the various types of friendship, and suggested ways to improve a friendship in any of those types.

I consider myself just slightly removed from being a hermit. On any given day, I find myself saying that I have had enough of my fellow man for one day. But, as usual, Aristotle is right. As you get wiser in life (hopefully), you know what he says is true. Read on and think about your own friendships. Work on them.

Two Bonus Thoughts

 Disney vs DeSantis

This has been almost amusing to watch. The Mouse has outsmarted, out maneuvered and out done the Little Would-Be Dictator on every count, over and over. Think it was just economics that caused Disney to announce “Never mind” on a billion-dollar project in Florida? Think again. DeSantis is in over his head. A condition he will get accustomed to once he announces formally his candidacy for President.  He is not going to have a good run.

Who after Biden -Trump?

We mentioned the age factor earlier, but beyond that, both parties, sooner or later will need to pick new leaders and new candidates. It is not all that hard to imagine a pretty good list of prospects for the Democrats. The Republicans actually have a couple popping up of late that have at least some promise, but the party they would lead is gone. Hard to imagine a reasonable, capable person getting that nomination or winning a national election anytime soon – maybe never. Still need that new center right party.

See You Next Week

Wonder where our budget deficit will be then. Nice if we decide to honor our debts. Once again, China must love this spectacle. I can see a formula that could pass both houses but cannot see how our illustrious Speaker of the House avoids getting out of a vote of confidence fight by the dozen or so extremists he allows to run amuck. Chickens are about to come to roost.

           Bill Clontz

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3 replies to Hey, Is Anyone Else Writing Some Good Stuff?

  1. “WAKE UP WITH PURPOSE” written by Sister Jean 103 years old in Retirement Home Clare in Chicago! A must for Loyola basketball fans!

  2. Janet is particularly fond of Heather Cox Richardson, who has been writing Letters From An American since the insanity of Trump’s presidency began. See https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com for her quite substantial CV and to subscribe.

    And I echo your speculation — adding my profound hope — that Trump lives longer once he receives his healthy prison diet. That way, he’ll be around to be buried in the avalanche of civil suits accumulating o’er his head.

    • Oh yes, have been a Heather Cox Richardson fan for some time. Does nice work.

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