What is something incorrect that you learned as a little kid...

Next: Breaking up.

How does this work? Each week you’ll see one reader’s answer to the previous week’s question. Then you’ll see the question they have for the list, which you can respond to if you’d like. Or you can just read and enjoy.

Previous ask:

What is something incorrect that you learned as a little kid and how did you discover it was not true later in life?

Scott answers: 

I have distinct memories of driving around my suburb in the back of my parent’s car, nose pressed against the window, watching the shops in my hometown drift by. My town wasn’t awful, but it was bland — which is why I couldn’t believe that several of the shops noted on their awnings that they were “world famous.” I would marvel at the fact that our little coffee shop or hair salon was something that people all over the world knew about. How did they find out? Were people taking pilgrimages to our town to visit? I’d keep my eye out for people who looked… worldly?

How did I discover this was not true later in life? I suppose some combination of the internet and common sense. But I remember feeling a real sense of betrayal when it started to dawn on me. Someone can just make that claim and not face any consequences? What’s up with that.

Scott’s Ask:

Why did (or do you think) the last person that broke up with you break up with you?

If you’d like to answer this question, you can simply hit reply to this email and write it in. Be sure to also include a question that you’d like to submit next. And tell us a story — your answer will be the bulk of the next newsletter.


Bits and Pieces

From time to time, I’ll throw some updates, links, and other notes at the bottom of the newsletter.

  • Over at 30 for 30 Podcasts, we’ve got a great August lined up. All summer we’ve been doing a series marking the 10th anniversary of the film series. Talking to directors and subjects about films like “The Two Escobars,” “OJ: Made in America,” “Fab Five” and more. It’s been really fun. There’s another batch next week, all leading up to — the announcement of our next big season! Look for the trailer on August 15th.

  • Some perfect songs:

    • Shimmer by Sinjin Hawke

    • It’s Not Easy by Ofege

    • Loves Happening by The Impressions

  • Here’s a very fun sub-reddit I just discovered —> r/nextfuckinglevel

What is something that you really enjoy doing, despite being objectively poor at doing it?

Next: Stuff you learned as a kid.

How does this work? Each week you’ll see one reader’s answer to the previous week’s question. Then you’ll see the question they have for the list, which you can respond to if you’d like. Or you can just read and enjoy.

Previous ask:

What is something that you really enjoy doing, despite being objectively poor at doing it?

Emma answers: I am not good at knitting. I’m generally bad at completing projects, following intricate directions, and untangling things. Knitting is not and should not be my forte. When I get in the groove, I find it relaxing and meditative, but even once I’ve gotten there I find myself making mistakes and inevitably putting down my project for extended periods of time. 

I want to be able to see myself as a knitter. Someone who’s a little quirky and crafty, who’s comfortable sitting in silence and relaxing for extended periods of time. But I’m far too restless and jumpy to truly be good at this hobby.

I have a bad habit of gifting unsolicited beanies made with inexpensive Walmart yarn to crushes and new friends. Trying to keep up my image as someone who knits while surrounded by fairy lights and DIY decorations. 

I always cringe a tiny bit when I’ve convinced someone I’m a capable knitter. It feels like I’m an imposter, who’s spent far too much money on yarn and needles. 

[[Ed note: First off, we all feel like imposters, always. So, don’t sweat it. My answer: singing. If I could snap my fingers and immediately be twice as good at something, it would be singing. Has anyone out there taken singing lessons? Worth it? — Jody]]

Emma’s Ask:

What is something incorrect that you learned as a little kid and how did you discover it was not true later in life?

If you’d like to answer this question, you can simply hit reply to this email and write it in. Be sure to also include a question that you’d like to submit next. And tell us a story — your answer will be the bulk of the next newsletter.


Bits and Pieces

From time to time, I’ll throw some updates, links, and other notes at the bottom of the newsletter.

  • Yesterday was an incredibly tough day in journalism. A lot of people I read and admire lost their jobs. It’s deepened my resolve to support journalism with my dollars, especially journalism being made in new and hopefully more sustainable models. (More on that in this great thread.) And, a smaller thing that at least feels good to do — throw some money into the Buzzfeed beer fund.

  • Some perfect songs:

    • Colorado by The Flying Burrito Brothers

    • I’ll Be Around by Yo La Tengo

    • Sweet Wanomi by Bill Withers

  • If you happen to be reading from Atlanta, I’ll be in town next week in the run-up to the Super Bowl, hosting the panel discussion after we premiere the new 30 for 30 film “Deion’s Double Play.” Let me know if you want to meet up or attend the screening.

  • Interesting, if technical, read: How David Byrne went completely wireless on his most recent tour.

What is one trait that you've inherited from your parents, and when did it you first notice it?

How does this work? Each week you’ll see one reader’s answer to the previous week’s question. Then you’ll see the question they have for the list, which you can respond to if you’d like. Or you can just read and enjoy.

Previous Question:

What is one trait that you've inherited from your parents, and when did it you first notice it?

Trent answers: Inefficient grocery shopping. I haven't owned a car for much of my life. So when I go to the supermarket, I'm frequently piggybacking on someone else's trip (a friend, roommate, significant other, etc.) Throughout the years, my shopping buddies have commented on my in-store procedures and habits. Apparently I have a tendency to serpentine through each aisle religiously—carefully surveying each shelf until I find something that I need (semi-regardless of how long my grocery list actually is).

I also default to a patient stroll and apparently end up focusing less on groceries than most other grocery shoppers do. All of this amounts to me taking much longer to shop than whoever actually drove me to the store, which I feel bad about. With extreme focus, I can break these habits. However, I inevitably revert my old ways over time.

I didn't realize that all of this was hereditary until the age of 23, when my mother and I went to the supermarket to pick up a few extra ingredients for dinner and ended up leaving the store nearly two hours later.


Ed note: This version of this newsletter will always be free. If you subscribe, you’ll be supporting my work and efforts to expand the project. You’ll also get bonus newsletters with other great answers, one of which will go our later this week. Think about it!


Trent’s Ask:

What is something that you really enjoy doing, despite being objectively poor at doing it?

If you’d like to answer this question, you can simply hit reply to this email and write it in. Be sure to also include a question that you’d like to submit next. You can also submit your answer anonymously here. And tell us a story — your answer will be the bulk of the next newsletter.


Bits and Pieces

From time to time, I’ll throw some updates, links, and other notes at the bottom of the newsletter.

  • I announced this week that I’m leaving the FiveThirtyEight podcast. Just seeing the news path ahead (eg the Mueller investigation and the 2020 election) it was clear that trying to balance 538 and my other work wasn’t going to be fair to either side. I’m very bummed to be leaving, but I’m already really excited to throw myself into 30 for 30, some other new efforts at ESPN, and a few new side projects (this newsletter has a bit to do with one of them). I’ve gotten a ton of really lovely notes over the last week; makes me think I should leave a job every six months, if only for the ego boost! But seriously, thanks for all your support, and shoutout to the team at 538, who are the best and funnest in the news business.

  • Hey, it’s the end of the year and, unlike anyone else, I’ve decided to catalog some of my favorite things. I’ll be tweeting about them over the next week, but for now here’s a playlist of Songs From 2018 I Loved. And I wrote about my three favorite podcasts for the Sunday Long Read.

  • One other thing that I truly loved from 2018: seeing David Byrne live. His “American Utopia” tour is over, but turns out there are a ton of videos on youtube of it. Put it on sometime.

  • Here’s a very good farro recipe to have in your pocket this holiday season.

  • The Moonlight Sonata but the bass is a bar late and the melody is a bar early.

Find Me: Twitter | Website | Instagram | Spotify

What is one thing your best friend does that annoys you?

Next: What is one trait that you've inherited from your parents, and when did it you first notice it?

Previous Question:

What is one thing your best friend does that annoys you?

Michael answers: My friend is very passionate about his rights as a pedestrian. He'll often cross the street the minute he sees a break in traffic,  even if a car seems very likely to drive across the crosswalk as he's crossing it. He loves to reiterate that, legally, drivers "have to stop for you." He's technically right, but I joke that that phrase will be printed on his tombstone. As someone raised by a New Yorker, the aggressive jaywalking doesn't bother me. Rather, it's my friend's reaction to being cut off or almost hit that I find irksome. Whenever there's a close call with a car that stops short, he slaps or kicks either the hood or the trunk, whichever is closest. I keep warning him that one day he's going to do it to the wrong car. That day came this weekend, when the driver and passenger of a car he slapped got out of their vehicle to confront him (his girlfriend defused the situation before it became physical). I'm sympathetic to my friend's hatred of almost getting hit, but the notion that you could strike someone's car without there being consequences reeks of privilege, arrogance, and recklessness. I've read too many stories about road rage incidents that turned deadly to ever feel comfortable doing something like that.

Next ask:

What is one trait that you've inherited from your parents, and when did it you first notice it?

If you’d like to answer this question, you can simply hit reply to this email and write it in. Be sure to also include a question that you’d like to submit next. You can also submit your answer anonymously here. And tell us a story — your answer will be the bulk of the next newsletter.

Find Me: Twitter | Website | Instagram | Spotify

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