ROCK PAPER RADIO is a dispatch for misfits & unlikely optimists by your favorite hapa haole, beet-pickling, public radio nerd. It’s a weekly email newsletter that shares three curiosities every Thursday - something to hold on to, something to read, and something to listen to. Themes include but are not limited to: rebel violinists, immortal jellyfish, revolution. Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word.
SOMETHING TO LISTEN TO
A lot has happened since the last time I wrote this newsletter a week ago.
Stacey Abrams has saved America. Kamala Harris has become so many firsts that Wildfang can no longer keep up with the tribute posts on Instagram. Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You has begun its annual takeover.
And now here we are. Reveling in the light of decency prevailed, free to return to our petty complaints. What a relief. What a profound sense of relief.
There are other feelings too. Like exhaustion. And freedom. And—this is a fragile but powerful one—hope. It’s with all of these feelings swimming around inside of me that I share with you David Foster Wallace’s This is Water, his dark and uncomfortably inspirational 23-minute commencement speech for Kenyon College in 2005. A graduation address seemed fitting, as we are all in the midst of a new start—we’re not waiting until January 20.
I have loved this speech for a long time, it guides the way I empathize with the world.
SOMETHING TO READ
In case rising Covid cases and authoritarian tweets about only counting “legal votes” aren’t enough to shake your emerging sense of calm and optimism, don’t forget that murder hornets are still a real thing.
In this KUOW story by Isolde Raftery and Esmy Jimenez, Dental floss and tiny trackers: Surreal photos show hunt for murder hornets, we learn that the fall is the “killing season” for these winged terrorists who are determined to destroy honeybees and also our sense of peace.
The incredible photos by Elaine Thompson in this story look like they’re out of a sci-fi movie where the world is being attacked by 2-inch long hornet aliens, and we’re being saved by an army of cute marshmallow astronauts.
SOMETHING TO HOLD ON TO
Holiday gatherings may be canceled because of the pandemic, but fruitcake is forever. Literally. As in, you could buy a loaf today and it will still be good by the time you can hug your friends and family again.
But I don’t just want you to hold onto a little loaf stuffed with candied neon fruit this week. What I want to share is that it’s monks who are apparently making the best fruitcake and you can buy some from their websites. Monks! Have! Websites! For! Fruitcake!
I don’t know if I’ve ever had fruitcake until this week, but after I learned this astonishing fact about monasteries supporting themselves with this classic—yet mocked!—holiday treat, I ordered a loaf. It arrived today soaked in Kentucky bourbon and to my delight and surprise it was delicious. I will never make fun of fruitcake again.
That’s a wrap for issue 16, friends. Thank you to all of you for your funny messages and spreading the word about our misfit fam. Last week our 80th subscriber signed up! Keep letting your friends know that all the curious awkward people will be warmly welcomed here.
See you next Thursday.