Ten for Tuesday

It's been way too long, readers! But I promise to be around here more, especially as we get ready for the release of God, Improv, and the Art of Living--next week! Pre-order. Onward:

1. Crayons in the Hydraulic Press

Also non-Newtonian fluids and lots of other stuff. Prepare for the absurdly amazing, narrated with a Finnish accent.



2. The Last Conversation You’ll Ever Need to Have About Eating Right

Carbs, trans fats, paleo and more. Long and sensible.


3. To Raise Resilient Kids, Be a Resilient Parent

Ms. Lewis said that anger, tears and other outbursts are a natural part of any child’s development — what she calls “the messiness of childhood.

But parents who are unable or unwilling to confront that messiness may view their child’s outbursts as a problem that urgently needs to be solved.

And this is such an easy trap to fall into, despite our best efforts as parents. And when you have more than one, it's even harder, as one kid's "sad outburst" is another child's "late for the lacrosse game."


4. How to Say Jackass in Many Languages

I share because I care.


5. His church had 15 idle pianos. So he started a music school for poor kids.

A friend is pastor of this church and shared this article after the man passed away earlier this spring.

In 1969, the year a federal judge ruled that Charlotte's schools were illegally segregated, the white organist and choir director of First Presbyterian Church had 15 pianos in the basement that sat unused most of the time.

Henry Bridges also noticed that the poor, mostly African American kids who lived around the uptown church needed something to do. He invited them in and started to teach them piano.

So began the Community School of the Arts. Bridges recruited four of the best piano teachers in Charlotte — one of them, Dzidra Reimanis, 90, still teaches there — and winnowed an initial 20 students from more than 150 applicants. The children were taught five days a week in piano, choir and music theory. All of it was free.

Well done, Henry Percival Bridges, good and faithful servant!


6. On Becoming an American Writer -- Alexander Chee

A luminous yet urgent call to action for everyone who writes.

I began this essay as an email I wrote to my students during that first weekend of the Iraq War. I had felt a sudden, intense protectiveness of them. I didn’t want my students to go into the draft, rumored then to be a possibility. I wrote to them that weekend and told them that art endures past governments, countries, and emperors, and their would-be replacements. That art—even, or perhaps especially, art that is dedicated somehow to tenderness—is not weak. It is strength. I asked them to disregard the cultural war against the arts that has lasted most of their lives, the movement to discredit the arts and culture in American public life as being decorative interruptions of more serious affairs, unworthy of funding or even of teachers. I told them that I can’t recall the emperors of China as well as I can Mencius, who counseled them, and whose stories of them, shared in his poetry of these rulers and their problems, describe them for me almost entirely. And the paradox of how a novel, should it survive, protects what a missile can’t.


7. Google finds STEM skills aren’t the most important skills

In 2013, Google decided to test its hiring hypothesis by crunching every bit and byte of hiring, firing, and promotion data accumulated since the company’s incorporation in 1998. Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.


8. The Acrobatic Entanglements of Everyday Objects by Mauricio Alejo

So fun. Favorite:


9. Church Is What We Create with Each Other

So lovely.

When you are part of a church you accept people’s offerings, even the ones you don’t necessarily want. One week their announcements will bore you and the next week they will make you weep, and sometimes it will be the same announcements. And sometimes during a hymn they’ll start a harmony and you’ll join, and your voices will become a conversation, an expression of love between people who by many measures barely know each other at all.


10. Finding Holiness Beyond Houston’s Scores of Sacred Spaces

Holiness and Houston. Two of my favorite topics.

I should probably note that I’m not religious. But I believe in holy spaces. Or at least the notion that holiness can seep into mundanity. One time I was in Saint Catherine for a family reunion, stuffed in this cabin church service along the mountains, and the pastor dwelled over the Word for so long that everyone’s stomachs started rumbling in unison. Our own improvised praise song. Even when we began to audibly grumble, the man just kept doing his thing...

That is, for me, where most of my credence lays: in the blips of illumination through daily life. In spaces that have stood for as long as there have been people. Spaces that will stand well after you and I are gone.