So … it has been a bit slow these past two weeks. Anything going on with you?
Ya’ll Crazy Now, y’Hear?
Well the US Election happened. And yep, it was as messy as many predicted it would be. Unbelievably, more Americans voted for President Trump this time around even after having seen his performance over the past 4 years, but whatever, let's not dwell on that. We'll see what happens over these next few months as (hopefully?) the transition takes place. I suspect the messiness isn't over.
At the very least, he has 76 days left in office to use his power as he sees fit and to seek revenge on some of his perceived adversaries. Angry at a defeat, he may fire or sideline a variety of senior officials who failed to carry out his wishes as he saw it, including Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases specialist, in the middle of a pandemic.
And if he is forced to vacate the White House on Jan. 20, Mr. Trump is likely to prove more resilient than expected and almost surely will remain a powerful and disruptive force in American life. He received at least 68 million votes, or five million more than he did in 2016, and commanded about 48 percent of the popular vote, meaning he retained the support of nearly half of the public despite four years of scandal, setbacks, impeachment and the brutal coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 233,000 Americans.
Fun with electoral maps
Now, for me, aside from the ultimate result, the best thing to have come out of the 2020 Election has been the variants on the US Electoral College Map. You can learn about the US Electoral College here. You probably shouldn't waste your time though because it's a batshit insane system and your life is more precious than that.
What we should do though is take the opportunity to appreciate how clever design and infographics can tweak the same base image to present much more useful information. Some examples below.
and then …
Chop wood, carry water
Ok, that's enough politics for now. Something much more heartwarming and optimistic is this life advice written by a man for his daughter. Hit me right in the feels.
As we wade through life’s muddled waters, especially as young adults, we tend deep down to be hopeful that we will eventually manage to settle down well and find perfection in a number of areas. We dream of one day securing healthy relationships, deeply fulfilling work, happy family life, and the respect of others. But life, as it is, has a habit of springing surprises, and rushing us in its overwhelming tide. It sometimes deals us a range of blows, leaving our dreams shattered. And like a favorite cup or plate, we sometimes crack. We may even break.
Obviously, you must not throw yourself away when this happens. Instead, you can relish the blemishes and learn to turn these scars into art – like ‘kintsugi,’ an ancient Japanese practice that beautifies broken pottery. In Zen aesthetics, the broken pieces of a ceramic pot should be carefully picked up, reassembled, and then glued together with lacquer inflected with gold powder. The Japanese believe the golden cracks make the pieces even more valuable. It embraces the breakage as part of the object’s history, instead of something unacceptable to be hidden or thrown away.
How much is a jousting stick worth, Dad?
We Aussies love a bargain. And so after I recently went through a free trial of @decryption's tech newsletter, the Sizzle, the one thing that really delivered value to me was his trawling of the excellent website OzBargain.
OzBargain is essentially a Reddit-style website listing all sorts of deals and, well, bargains, available throughout Australia. For example, readers from last week will know I'm frustrated with my mobile provider and might be looking to switch back to Telstra. Thanks to OzBargain, I now know there's a deal that would get me a $400 Good Guys voucher for doing what I had essentially planned to do anyways! It's worth a bookmark and a quick flick through from week to week.
And, while Googling the Castle ‘Jousting Sticks’ quote to make sure I got the subheading right, I also found this article from 2017 on the market price for a pair of jousting sticks in pretty good condition. Everyone's kicked a goal!
To finish off, let's talk about penises.
A little bit under 50% of the World's population has one. I assume. And yet they are generally treated with either hushed reverence or casual disdain. We need these things to operate properly - for the survival of our species, sure, but also for the survival of our loved ones.
That's why I thought this guide by Dr Piet Hoebeke looked interesting. Described as a 'no nonsense guide every penis user needs', Dr Hoebeke discusses topics such as the penis’ many uses, how to relax about things that don’t matter, and how to spot things that might be a problem.
In the book, Hoebeke discusses the phallus in all its functions: a tool to urinate from, and to be used for sex; the mysteries of the foreskin (whose average surface area is as large as a postcard, and whose sensitivity – for those still in possession of one – can improve sex); and how it is really far better to pee sitting down, as nature intended.
Christmas is just around the corner - get on it.
Members Club: A user's guide to the penis (Affiliate Link)
Eagle-eyed subscribers may notice we’ve reverted back to the original format for these newsletters. It has to do with the service I’m using to power them. In short, I’ve swapped back to Substack after having tested out Squarespace/MailerLite. If you’re ever thinking of starting your own newsletter we should chat as I’d be happy to talk you through my experiences to save a lot of trial and error!
If you enjoyed any of these links, please consider asking a friend or family member to subscribe. Just forward this email straight from your mail app - and they can click this link to subscribe. They can also browse past issues here.
Thanks for reading!