Many people are taking vacation time this weekend and we have some ideas on how to spend it.
Whoever said summer was a time for relaxing didn’t have children running around, out of school, getting into every form of mischief they can imagine. Summer is grueling. I struggle to get in ten minutes of actual work each day, between preparing food, doing copious amounts of laundry, bandaging cuts and scrapes, and retrieving a hound dog whom I’m ready to rename Houdini for his unexplainable ability to escape the yard.
I keep seeing different articles on summer reading lists and I’ve yet to actually read any of those lists to find out what I’m supposed to be reading because my summer isn’t nearly as leisurely meandering as everyone else’s. Why bother picking up a new book when I know I’m not going to get past the first paragraph before hearing, “Daaaaaaaaaaad!” from the one direction I hadn’t been looking? I love reading, but I have to wait until the kids are back in school.
The problem with this problem is that there are a lot of articles I would like to read and fear missing. Books will be there come September. Online articles, though, frequently disappear after a few weeks. One has to really search to find them, if you can remember what the article was about in the first place. Fortunately, there’s a solution for people like me; it’s called Pocket.
Note: This is an uncompensated and unrequested endorsement. Think of Pocket as an online file cabinet. Using a convenient browser extension, when one comes across an article or website they might want to explore but don’t have the time, one simply saves the article to their Pocket account. Pocket saves the links and even allows you to categorize them with tags if you wish. One can then go back later, on any device, and read once you’re not quite so horribly distracted. Think of it as bookmarking well organized and efficient.
What I really appreciate about Pocket, though, is the email I get every afternoon suggesting articles that I might not have found on my own. They cover a wide array of topics, including a lot of new research and trending issues, and are typically well-written, intelligent pieces with information that is either helpful or, at the very least, makes me feel just a tiny bit smarter.
Those emails are the source of my recommendations for the coming long weekend. You don’t even need a Pocket account, though I strongly suggest signing up for one. You’re going to have some downtime over the next four or five days. This is a good opportunity to catch up, maybe learn a thing or two, and enlighten your brain before returning to the madness. Take a look at these and see if they don’t leave you better than when you started.
The Wellness Epidemic by Amy Larocca. From Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop to the lady selling essential oils out of her home, America’s fascination with wellness is a billion dollar industry that is often not based in science and research and more on convincing yourself that you feel better, even if you don’t. Larocca attempts to take an objective look at the industry in this long read from The Cut.
What Jobs Will Still Be Around In 20 Years? by Arwa Mahdawi. Two of my three sons are finding it challenging to decide exactly what to do with the rest of their young lives. As a parent, that concerns me. I want them to have more than a job. I want them to have a career they can enjoy. The problem is, 47% of American workers could lose their jobs to automation within the next 20 years. This raises the question of what jobs are safe and what skills are necessary to survive in the future? Parents and young adults alike are going to find some value in what is said here, even if it dashes a few dreams.
Neil deGrasse Tyson Selects the Eight Books Every Intelligent Person on the Planet Should Read by Maria Popova. You know you’re going to eventually have time to read more books. The question is which books are going to actually provide you some benefit. There are plenty of lists running around for the summer, but if you really want to make the most of your reading time, Neil deGrasse Tyson has a list that is packed with must-reads. I have to warn you, though, reading these books may very well change your opinions about life on this planet.
Before The Internet by Emma Rathbone. Remember what life was like before the Internet? If you were born after 1990, you likely don’t have a clue how people survived without being plugged into some social-neural network 24/7. Ms. Rathbone takes just a few lines to remind us of what it was like when we didn’t have Google at our fingertips, or our entire life history in a searchable database. Remember, and then maybe reconsider a few things.
Meet the chef who’s debunking detox, diets, and wellness by Tim Lewis. Remember that article above about the wellness epidemic? Much of that has to do with diets and nutrition and a very large amount of that information is pure horse shit. But when your friend is posting about how wonderful her new diet is, where do you go to find evidence refuting her claims? Anthony Warner, aka the Angry Chef. Take a moment and see what he’s doing. As a diabetic and someone who is very concerned about the food I eat, this was helpful reading.
How to Cut Back On Playing Video Games by Patrick Allan. I’ve never been a fan of video games. I don’t like them. When I do try, just to stay relevant, I don’t do well. Yet, the most frequent complaint I hear about teenagers and young adults, mostly males, is that all they do is sit around playing video games and no one can get them to break the habit. Marriages and relationships have ended because someone can’t put down the fucking controller. This link is as much for my own sons as anyone. We’re not asking you to quit, just cut back and show a bit more responsibility.
Are you forgetful? That’s just your brain erasing useless memories by Angela Chen. My paternal grandfather died of complications due to Alzheimer’s disease. As my already addled brain sometimes leaves me confused, displaced, and forgetful, I tend to worry. Where did I set my sunglasses? Why don’t I remember that conversation you claim we had? Those things bother me. This article helps explain that our brains were never meant to remember everything. I still worry, though.
The Paradox of American Restaurants by Derek Thompson. Food in American restaurants is supposedly getting better. Yet, despite that fact, the restaurant industry continues to struggle. We see popular dining establishments closing less than a year after they open. Why? Derek Thompson takes a look at the causes (without blaming Millennials) and why the future may be one of take out.
That should be enough of a list to get you through the weekend or at least allow you to escape the pain of sitting with inlaws for a couple of hours. For more, check out Pocket and sign up for the daily emails. Stop missing the information that can make you smarter.