5L Issue #032

A great day for dogs and other animals; Referencing retirement

Songs that tell a story..

A video came up in my YouTube feed that got me thinking: I wonder if anyone has ever written about the best ‘story as a song’ song ever released. You know, the songs that are essentially just a ‘this one thing happened one time’ story. I don’t know why it got me thinking that but at least now you know the kind of sophisticated razor-sharp thoughts I’m regularly coming up with.

Anyways - turns out there were a few listicles out there. And there were lots of songs listed that I had never would have considered. Yes, there’s the obvious favourites like father-and-son-story Cat’s in the Cradle and the tear-jerker Last Kiss, but also story-about-annoying-spoiled-rich-girl Stairway to Heaven and the breakup classic, Somebody That I Used to Know. Fast Car was also often listed, but I think that one’s a bit too abstract.

Anyways - in my view the absolute king of the hill and winner of all time greatest ‘story as a song’ ever released is by New Zealand’s 4th best folk-parody duo, about a love story that never was. Enjoy.

Funny photos of animals are always a hit..

There’s some great finalists in this year’s Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

2021 Finalists | Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

(via Brainpint)

Making every shitpost count..

I thought this was a clever idea. It’s essentially Twitter, except each account gets a total of 100 tweets across its whole life. So there’s a lot of pressure to make each post worthwhile. Or is there? I don’t know. The whole social media space seems like a waste of electrons right now and so perhaps this is all energy that could be better spent mining for bitcoins or something. But of all the social media channels, I think I dislike this one the least.


(via the Land of Random)


I was asked to give a reference for someone last week. It was fun. But also, it got me thinking whether, if a candidate gets to the reference checking stage of the hiring process and then they give the employer their hand-picked references but later find out they didn’t get the job — is that actually an indictment on the referees?

Put another way — If I find out later the lady I was giving a reference for doesn’t get the job, does that mean I’m the one that failed? I didn’t even ask to be a part of the process and now all of a sudden this uppidy employer that has called me out of the blue isn’t happy with my performance?!

Anyways — I thought this was a really useful article about the referencing checking and reference giving process.

Questions I ask when checking references

Removing the statue that isn’t David..

The reason this newsletter is ever so slightly late today is because I wasn’t sure how to describe this last link. It’s a wonderful but slightly longer read about how an academic in the prime of his career thinks about the prospect of his professional life winding down. And the slippery slope into depression that lurks at the end of such a decline.

I loved it. It’s sad and it’s sweet (another song-as-a-story reference) and it’s relevant to us all — we’re all going to get older one day. If we’re lucky.

And also it has given me an excuse for my lack of professional success. No, I’m not lazy and unable to hold a respectable career, I’m simply protecting against the risks of Pyschoprofessional Gravitation. It’s all those successful people that are doing it wrong.

Some snippets -

Whole sections of bookstores are dedicated to becoming successful. The shelves are packed with titles like The Science of Getting Rich and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. There is no section marked “Managing Your Professional Decline.”


What I need to do, in effect, is stop seeing my life as a canvas to fill, and start seeing it more as a block of marble to chip away at and shape something out of. I need a reverse bucket list. My goal for each year of the rest of my life should be to throw out things, obligations, and relationships until I can clearly see my refined self in its best form.


Vanaprastha is a time for study and training for the last stage of life, Sannyasa, which should be totally dedicated to the fruits of enlightenment. In times past, some Hindu men would leave their family in old age, take holy vows, and spend the rest of their life at the feet of masters, praying and studying. Even if sitting in a cave at age 75 isn’t your ambition, the point should still be clear: As we age, we should resist the conventional lures of success in order to focus on more transcendentally important things.

and lastly

Bach finished each of his manuscripts with the words Soli Deo gloria—“Glory to God alone.” He failed, however, to write these words on his last manuscript, “Contrapunctus 14,” from The Art of Fugue, which abruptly stops mid-measure. His son C.P.E. added these words to the score: “Über dieser Fuge … ist der Verfasser gestorben” (“At this point in the fugue … the composer died”). Bach’s life and work merged with his prayers as he breathed his last breath. This is my aspiration.

Your Professional Decline is Coming (much) Sooner Than You Think | the Atlantic

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- Bennett


Cover Photo by Viktor Nikolaienko on Unsplash