What made Stevie Ray Vaughan such a great guitarist? If you ask Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, a devoted student of the blues, it’s “his timing, his tone, his feel, his vibrato, his phrasing–everything. Some people are just born to play guitar, and Stevie was definitely one of them.” This may come as disappointing news to guitar players who want to sound like SRV but weren’t born with his genes. Hammett assures them it’s possible to approximate his style, to some degree, with the right gear and mastery of his signature techniques. Hammett lays out the SRV repertoire thoroughly, but there is no substitute for the source.
SRV’s dual education in both the British blues and the American blues of his heroes gave him “less reservations and less reasons to be so-called a ‘purist,’” he says in the video above. He then proceeds to blow us away with imitations of the greats and his own particular spin on their techniques.
You could call it a guitar lesson, but as his student, you had better have advanced blues chops and a very good ear. As he runs through the styles of his idols, Vaughan doesn’t slow down or pause to explain what he’s doing. If you can keep up, you probably don’t need the lessons after all.
Although compared, favorably or otherwise, to his idol Jimi Hendrix during his life and after his tragic death at 35, Vaughan also “incorporated the jazz stylings of Django Reinhardt, Kenny Burrell and Wes Montgomery,” Guitar magazine notes, and was “a keen student of Muddy Waters, Albert King, Freddie King, Chuck Berry, Lonnie Mack and Otis Rush.” Muddy Waters, in turn, was a great admirer of Vaughan. “Stevie could perhaps be the greatest guitar player that ever lived,” the blues legend remarked in 1979. But like his hero Hendrix, Vaughan’s talent could be overshadowed by his addictions. “He won’t live to get 40 years old if he doesn’t leave that white powder alone,” Waters went on.
The drugs and alcohol nearly killed him, but they didn’t seem to cramp his playing. The video above comes from a January 1986 soundcheck, the same year Vaughan’s substance abuse hit its peak and he entered rehab after nearly dying of dehydration in Germany. He would get sober and survive, only to die in a helicopter crash four years later. While his early death may have something to do with the way he has been deified, what comes through in his albums and performances thirty years after he left us is the brute fact of his originality as a blues player.
Perhaps the the most concise statement of this comes from John Mayer’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech:
There is an intensity about Stevie’s guitar playing that only he could achieve, still to this day. It’s a rage without anger, it’s devotional, it’s religious. He seamlessly melded the supernatural vibe of Jimi Hendrix, the intensity of Albert King, the best of British, Texas and Chicago Blues and the class and sharp shooter precision of his older brother Jimmie. Stevie is the ultimate guitar hero.
If you’ve ever had reason to doubt, see it for yourself above.
Stevie Ray Vaughan Gives a Blistering Demonstration of His Guitar Technique is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooks, Free Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.
People do weird things in the desert. A spokesman for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources acknowledges that widely understood truth in a recent New York Times article about a mysterious monolith discovered in Red Rock Country. “A team that was counting bighorn sheep by helicopter spotted something odd and landed to take a closer look,” writes Alan Yuhas. “It was a three-sided metal monolith, about 10 to 12 feet tall, planted firmly in the ground with no clear sign of where it came from or why it was there.” Whatever the differences in size, shape, and color, this still-unexplained object brings to mind nothing so much as 2001: A Space Odyssey, with its most famous monolith of all.
Though Stanley Kubrick shot that particular scene in London’s Shepperton Studios, plenty of other productions have made use of the Utah Desert, including installments of the spectacle-driven Indiana Jones and Mission: Impossible series. But as far as anyone knows, the monolith isn’t a piece of set dressing.
Crowdsourcing guesses on social media, the Utah Highway Patrol received such responses as “a ‘resonance deflector,’ ‘an eyesore,’ ‘some good metal.’ Some theorized, vaguely, that it was a satellite beacon. Others joked that it was a Wi-Fi router.” Whoever assembled and installed it, they did so with “human-made rivets” and a skilled enough hand to cut a perfectly shaped hole into the rock — the kind of combination of apparent skill and inexplicability that once stirred up so much fascination over crop circles.
Image by Utah Department of Public Safety
The Art Newspaper‘s Gabriella Angeleti describes the monolith as “resembling the freestanding plank sculptures of the late Minimalist artist John McCracken.” Though McCracken never officially made an installation in the Utah desert, he did spend the last years of his life not far away (at least by the standards of the southwestern United States) in northern New Mexico, and anyone familiar with his work will sense a certain affinity with it in this newly discovered object. “While this is not a work by the late American artist John McCracken,” says a spokesman for the gallery that represents him, “we suspect it is a work by a fellow artist paying homage.” Whether or not the monolith has an intended message, the reactions now going viral around the world already have many of us wondering how far we’ve really evolved past the apes.
Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.
A Mysterious Monolith Appears in the Utah Desert, Channeling Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooks, Free Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.
Hey all, Ernie here with a piece from David Buck, who decided to hit us with a whole lot of Thansgiving talk. Dig in. Thanks!
Today in Tedium: Thanksgiving is normally a time of celebration and family get-togethers, but due to the neverending nightmare that is 2020, everyone’s had to make some adjustments. This year, I’ll be spending the holiday at home, enjoying dinner and maybe watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles. While it may not have the excessive decorations, songs (Adam Sandler’s “Thanksgiving Song” notwithstanding) or month long celebrations associated with other holidays, Thanksgiving is still an important American tradition for many of us. Cooking the dinner, however, is another story. Even the best cooks need a little assistance once in a while. In today’s Tedium, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving in our own way with the 2020 Tedium Thanksgiving Special. Hold the stuffing, please. — David @ Tedium
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The number of operators the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line had when it began operations in 1981. Staffed by a group of home economists, the hotline had a single mission: to answer the burning turkey-preparation questions of aspiring cooks everywhere. After answering over 11,000 questions in its inaugural year alone, the hotline became a popular fixture of the holiday over the next three decades. Although the hotline started quite small, there are now at least 50 operators as of 2019 and it continues to operate from November 1st to December 24th each year out of Butterball’s Naperville, Illinois offices.
How a turkey company turned a market gimmick into a genuinely helpful service
Among the many joys of Thanksgiving—spending time with family, watching the game and stuffing your face with delicious food—comes one dreaded activity: the actual cooking and preparation of the meal itself. While cooking can sometimes be a pain, the meal is usually worth the effort, especially when pecan pie and green bean casserole are involved. Sometimes, however, preparing the food can present some challenges.
Take my extended family, for example. One aunt thought that if she put the turkey in at a higher temperature would allow her to cook it for less time. Instead, she ended up with a “burnt, kind of crispy turkey on the outside, but a horrible raw mess on the inside.” Another aunt thought the package of giblets (the heart, lungs and other internal organs) in the turkey was actually pre-made stuffing that came with the turkey. She baked the turkey with the giblets inside and was shocked to find out it wasn’t stuffing at all.
Then there was the year of the pumpkin pie incident. The first time she baked a pumpkin pie, she and the recipe did not get along very well. A few confused measurements later and the family ended up with a very salty pumpkin pie. How did it taste? Well, it was the saltiest pie we’ve ever had. The cooking has improved since then, but there’s a family rule now preventing her from baking pies during the holidays. Situations like these probably aren’t the norm, but they aren’t atypical either. One company decided to step in and help out people experiencing turkey trouble and the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line was born.
Some of the dishes we associate with a traditional Thanksgiving meal were shaped by marketing and corporate influences over the years, and the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line is almost an extension of that very same influence extending into a larger communications—and later, multimedia—role.
Take the case of the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, for instance. What originally began as a marketing gimmick in 1981 by Chicago public relations executive Pam Talbot eventually turned into a Thanksgiving institution. Pitching what she referred to as a way to deal with “turkey trauma,” the hotline was born. Working out of a small notebook and binders, six operators tackled some tough turkey questions on their toll-free phone line. As time passed, the staff grew and they received more and more questions each year.
The talk-line receives numerous questions each year, with some of the most common being basic cooking/prep questions like “how do I thaw the turkey?” or “what can I do to prevent the turkey from being too dry?” They likely receive these questions so often that the official talk-line web page contains a step-by-step guide to address every part of the turkey cooking process. It contains a particular focus on thawing—the most common question they receive each year—with a handy chart showing thawing times relative to turkey weight and whether aspiring cooks are thawing the bird in water or the fridge. There’s even a helpful video to go along with the information.
Many of the calls the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line receives each year are just as outlandish and humorous as my family’s Thanksgiving tales of terror. But ultimately, the hotline performs a genuinely helpful service and fills a gap where a traditional Google search might lack correct or properly nuanced information. Want to give them a call with a burning turkey conundrum of your own? Dial 1-800-BUTTERBALL and you’ll be carving up that turkey with a chainsaw in no time at all …
“The Butterball talk line is one of the great marketing ideas of modern American consumerism, right up there with using a national baking contest to promote Pillsbury flour, or Clydesdales to sell Budweiser.”
— Writer Kim Severson, in her 2019 New York Times feature on the Butterball Talk-Line. Celebrating the storied history of the hotline, she paused to reflect on how this single marketing idea became ingrained into the psyche of the American consumer and, eventually, a part of our collective pop culture holiday experience.
The Butterball Talk-Line is surprisingly relevant today
By keeping a pulse on what its customers want and how they use technology, the hotline continues to adapt and evolve each year. The endless array of calculators and charts on Butterball’s website is enough to impress the most seasoned of cooks and their conversational, friendly presentation of information gives them a sort of home/family feel. Reading the tips on the website makes one feel as if they’re sitting in their grandmother’s kitchen learning how to cook for the first time.
Though they continue to use phone calls via their hotline, potential turkey cooks can also text them, chat live on social media and even ask Amazon’s Alexa for help (the talk-line was integrated into Amazon devices in 2018). Some celebrities even participate in dispensing turkey preparation advice. In 2019, Freddie Prinze Jr. (whom you may remember from, I dunno, the 2002 live action version of Scooby Doo?) joined the talk-line for a time, imparting his own culinary wisdom to delighted callers everywhere. Per Butterball, Prinze Jr. is “all that” in the kitchen. Go figure. Reflecting on his brief stint as a Butterball Talk-Line operator, he told NBC, “Over the years I’ve enjoyed all kinds of Thanksgiving celebrations and know that as long as you have good people and good food, it’s going to be a holiday to remember.”
In 2013, Butterball added the first men to their roster of talk-line professionals. Prior to that, only women filled the role. Today, workers at the talk-line are all experts in a culinary field and go through extensive training to become operators. Many of them tend to stay on staff for a long period of time as well, with new positions only ever being advertised through word-of-mouth. Butterball’s senior brand manager, Rebecca Welch, told Adweek earlier this year:
Our experts have a ton of experience. Quite a few of our members have been on the talk line for over 20 years, so they’re prepared for all the emotional support or pep talks or, you know, anything to get a holiday host through their concerns.
With many of the lockdown and stay-at-home orders in place throughout the year, Butterball expects more calls from first-time cooks and the hotline is a significant part of their overall brand strategy. Welch said, “when we conduct surveys, one of the things we see is that Butterball is known for trust and quality. We see the Turkey Talk-Line as the embodiment of that trust.” It’s surprisingly refreshing to speak with a knowledgeable human about a cooking problem over the phone. The interaction of a one-on-one conversation can be more powerful than simply looking up instructions online.
Today, there are countless imitators out there on the radio, internet and via Butterball’s competitors, but none of them hold a card to the original turkey talk line where it all began. Who would have thought a 40-year old marketing gimmick would eventually become a trustworthy institution that could bring together so many people in dark times?
The temperature (in degrees) the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line recommends using for cooking your turkey in the oven. They cover a few different kinds of turkeys, but since most of us will probably be working with fresh or frozen whole turkeys, here’s how Butterball recommends we cook them: Preheat the oven first. Then the fun begins with draining the juices and patting the turkey dry with some paper towels. Find a 2 to 2 1/2-inch deep pan and place the turkey breast-side inside the pan. Ok, that’s pretty obvious stuff so far. Now, put some vegetable/cooking oil on the skin, place a thermometer into the bird and put it in the oven. Roast it and make sure the internal temperature is 170 F for the breast and 180 F for the thigh. After about 15 minutes of cooling, it’s time to carve that bird up and serve it to your family. Use an electric turkey carver; it’s more fun that way.
Five pieces of pop culture we’re thankful for this year
Once the turkey is in the oven, it’s time to turn on the TV and get ready to consume some pop culture! There are always many things for which to be thankful throughout the year. Health and family are at the top of our list (especially this year!), but we’re also thankful for some of the Thanksgiving pop culture that comes around each year. Sure, Halloween and Christmas get plenty of cartoons, songs, adaptations and movies but Thanksgiving seems to get the short end of the stick. Sure, there’s the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and an endless stream of football games on local TV, but sometimes it’s better to dig a little deeper into the holiday’s pop culture well for some truly interesting stuff. Here are five pop cultural things we’re thankful for this year, in no particular order:
5. Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on TV and streaming. Earlier this year, Apple TV+ became the home for Peanuts and all of its associated holiday specials. This did cause a bit of an uproar as not everyone is into streaming, but it’s nice to have the special available at your fingertips anytime to view with your family. Luckily, Apple did strike a deal with PBS to air the program this year on the public broadcasting station and to make the show available for free from Nov. 25-27 on Apple TV itself. It starts streaming Nov. 18. The Peanuts holiday specials have long been a fun family tradition for us and we look forward to viewing them each year.
4. The MST3K marathon with new host segments. For many of its fans, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a Thanksgiving institution. This year’s marathon will feature new host segments and a series of fan-selected episodes. As of publishing time, the final lineup looks like it’s going to be I Accuse My Parents (Season 5, Episode 7), Hobgoblins (Season 9, Episode 7), Pod People (Season 3, Episode 3), Final Justice (Season 10, Episode 8) and probably Eegah (Season 5, Episode 6). I’ll be tuning in for Hobgoblins, Final Justice and Pod People for sure. It can be found at Pluto TV, Twitch, Samsung TV Plus, Comcast Xfinity, Xumo, Vizio, Redbox, IMDB TV, STIRR, Sling TV, Theta.TV, LocalNow, and the MST3K YouTube Channel. With so many venues to catch the marathon, give yourself the gift of laughter and check out an episode or two to see what this show is all about!
3. Dr. Demento’s musical turkeys. Each year, Dr. Demento releases an episode of his radio/internet show filled with endearing, ridiculous and silly songs about Thanksgiving. Some of them are what he deems “musical turkeys.” These are songs that are often low quality, poorly recorded or otherwise bad that have endearing qualities to them. He mixes them up with some funnier Thanksgiving songs and every few years he’ll spin Arlo Guthrie’s fantastic opus, “Alice’s Restaurant Masacree.” Our friends at Radio Survivor recently did an amazing interview with the actual Alice (Alice Brock) from the song.
It’s worth the price of admission alone to hear the wide variety of songs and stories. For the record, there are at least two superb Thanksgiving songs: the aforementioned Arlo Guthrie tune and Loudon Wainwright III’s 1989 poignant tale of a family gathering simply titled “Thanksgiving.”
2. Alex Winter’s Zappa documentary. On the heels of one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns in recent memory, Alex Winter (of Bill & Ted fame) takes a deep dive into the life and career of the iconoclastic musician in this incredibly in-depth documentary. Though he’s known for some of his movie roles—most readers probably know him as Bill S. Preston, Esq, half of the time-traveling slacker duo in the Bill & Ted series—he’s carved out quite a career as a director of interesting documentaries. Not only did Winter manage to save Zappa’s entire vault for posterity, he presents an incredibly detailed look at one of my favorite musicians in a way most Zappa documentaries have never done before.
1. The Simpsons, Bart vs. Thanksgiving. I’ve been a fan of The Simpsons since it began. Though I haven’t seen much of the show beyond the 14th season, this episode from season two sticks in my memory around the holidays. After destroying a Thanksgiving centerpiece made by his sister Lisa, Bart runs away from what he perceives to be the entire family being against him. As he goes through his holiday, he realizes things are better for him than he realized. It’s a heartwarming story of redemption, compassion and understanding that we don’t see often enough these days.
“Cut it. Forget it. Forget it, Richard. You know, I said, when the turkey concept was first brought up, I said there’s a very good chance I’m gonna end up looking stupid if I come out wearing it. I mean, everyone said, ‘Oh, it’s Thanksgiving, go ahead.’”
— Singer-songwriter Paul Simon, addressing the audience during his Saturday Night Live appearance on November 20, 1976. Simon took to the stage for the opening monologue dressed in a hilarious full turkey costume. He proceeded to sing a few bars of his hit song, “Still Crazy after all these Years” before deciding he looked ridiculous and eventually speaking to Lorne Michaels about how goofy the costume looked. Michaels assures him the costume looked great. Although it was a one-off joke in the episode just before Thanksgiving, it’s become an iconic and recognizable part of pop culture tied to the holiday. Michaels and Simon were old friends by the time SNL launched and Simon would continue to make appearances on the show several times over the years as both host and musical guest. (He even met his wife, Edie Brickell, on the SNL set.)
I used to spend my Thanksgiving holidays at work. For most of my working life, I’d either get a plate to eat during my break or eat leftovers the next day. This year is different, however, so it will be both exciting and strange to celebrate the holiday at home this year. I’m looking forward to it, however, and I’ll definitely enjoy the well-cooked Butterball turkey we’ll be eating. While I didn’t need to call the hotline for cooking tips, who knows? There’s always next year. I’m still not putting any stuffing in my turkey (stuffing is gross; celery is worse). You can’t make me.
As the end of the year approaches, it’s important to remember to be kind and thankful to those around us. The holidays can still be a time of peace and joy, even in these dark times. Whether it’s preparing a turkey for the first time, re-watching something familiar or having a salty slice of pumpkin pie, try to make the best of the holiday this year. Listen to your favorite music, hug your pet and, as a famous musical duo once said, “be excellent to each other.”
After all, this holiday is all about togetherness and gratitude—even if I decide to eat the entire pumpkin pie all by myself.
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To celebrate the 125th anniversary of Field & Stream, we’re going to share some of our favorite stories from the history of the magazine. Every day for the rest of the year, we’ll republish a new F&S Classic on the website. Today’s entry, “And I Do Not Walk Along” by Bill Tarrant, first appeared in the February 1974 issue. In the column, Tarrant writes about gun dogs he has loved, and lost. You can find the complete F&S Classics series here.
W.C. Fields said, “I never met a drink I didn’t like.” Will Rogers said the same thing about men. I say the same thing about dogs. The way I feel, God proved his love of man when he gave him the dog.
I’ve been spun around by my fellow man, forsaken by loved ones, used and discarded by friends. Man has a way of playing a game called “You play ball with me and I’ll ram the bat up your left nostril.” I’ve never met a dog similarly disposed.
I’ve walked cross-country in deep snow-late at night-and had the companionship of a dog that I didn’t need to ask to come along.
I’ve sat alone in a sad house and cursed my fortune while the dog curled at my feet had a faith in tomorrow I could not find.
I’ve been hours late getting out a dog’s feed pan and never heard a complaint. I’ve yelled in rage to clear a room of man and beast only to see a few minutes later one black nose and two bright eyes poke around the doorjamb to scent the spell of the room. I but shifted in my chair and the rascal was in my lap. The men who cleared the room? They may never come back.
I’ve picked up dogs with broken bones and taken them to a vet. No pain could make the dog cry out to his benefactor.
I’ve seen children calmed at night with a dog on their pillow. There could be no better pacifier, no finer protector. I might sleep through whatever befell the child, or shy from an intruder. The dog would do neither.
I’ve seen dogs break ice to retrieve a duck, stand on point with a thorn in a pad, go down a 70 percent grade to corral a sheep. chase a car cross-town to be part of a family outing, sniff out a warehouse while a policeman crouched outside with drawn pistol, lick a sick man’s feet, kiss a crying child’s cheek, stare beseechingly at a mother’s worried face, raise an arm of a dead-tired man who’d worked too hard to make ends meet.
I’ve seen men bury their dogs and not be able to stand up to leave the grave. And I’ve seldom known a man to mention a dog’s parting.
Last year most of us read in the newspaper about a woman who died and left $14 million to her 150 dogs.
I can hear 'em now. “That’s stupid,” the disgruntled said. “Lots of people could have put that money to good use.” And likely, among that group of worthy recipients would be themselves.
But I ask the critics of this woman’s will to consider this: Remember that time you came by a pup? All the doubts? Puddles on the carpet. Gnawed shoelaces. Milk drips on the kitchen floor. But for reasons of your own the pup moved in anyway. And how did he come through the door?
Did he say, “Hi” so you could understand? I mean, was he fluent in the American language? Did he come bearing gifts? It’s always good to see those types. Did he represent a social coup? Had he done things? Been places? No?
Well, if he didn’t have any of these human attributes, then surely he was pedigreed; they’re worth money, you know. Oh, you say you gave $2 for him at the dog pound. Well, was he pretty to look at, then? “No, kind of rangy.” you say, and wobble-kneed and pinched-nosed." Well then was he strong or fearless? Could he do some work, help protect the place? What’s that? “How strong and fearless can a pup be at ten weeks?” I see your point.
Then let’s face it. That dog came into your home absolutely worthless and a total foreigner. I ask you, how many of those have you taken in lately?
And then when this improbable guest got through the door, what did he do? I see. He puddled on the carpet, gnawed shoestrings, dripped milk.
So, you threw him out, right?
Why was this?
Well, when that dog came through the door he had three things going for him: a wagging tail; a rough, wet tongue; and an eagerness to say hello to everyone he met.
It was like just meeting you made his day. He quivered with excitement. Rolled over in submission. Nuzzled up so’s the warmth of his body came soothing to your heart through the skin of your ankle. So, you picked him up. That’s the way with love. It’s contagious.
And you stood there holding this pup close to your cheek, smelling that last night’s-ice-cream-carton smell of him, your fingers sunken into his soft belly, woven through his silken fur, when across your face goes that rough, wet tongue.
What you had in your hands was absolute, non-diluted, ever-growing, non-demanding, can’t-live-without-you, take-me-wherever you-go, hurry-back-if-you’ve-got-to-leave love.
And I ask you this question: Whom do you have in mind-like this to leave your money to?
But, most of us outlive our dogs. God giving them about 12 years and us close to 70. So, money’s not the legacy, it’s memories.
How many of us go in memory now where in step we went before: toe-to-tail to freedom’s call, the call of gentle wildness, us out walking with our dog?
Whenever I think this way, I always remember Rene. I trailed that dog so many years to so many places. We hunted, sure. But we did so much more. We once looked down a hand-mortared flintstone well together. My voice drummed about in there and Rene tilted his head, cocked his cars. As men are but boys grown tall, Rene was always a puppy
We poked about in old barns, scurrying rats, making feral cats skitter, spooking great horned owls to wing.
Remember the time I thought I shot him? The flushed bird was far enough ahead when I fired. I didn’t notice the great gash across Rene’s chest 'til later. God, the shock when I did. I dropped the gun, the bird, and both my knees. Sweeping Rene up I raced to the car and into a strange town to a strange vet.
The man lectured me while he sewed up the dog. Guilty, I endured the rebuke about a city man (but I lived on a farm) shooting his dog. Then, I noticed, there were two strange perpendicular rips in the skin. That’s it! Rene hit a barbwire fence concealed in the tall grass.
I told the vet to go to hell, paid him, picked up my sewed-up dog, and cried with joy all the way home. But then I had to drive back to the field to get my gun.
Remember? Remember when the dog played ball with me and the boy? I’d pitch, the boy would hit, the dog would field and fetch the ball to the pitcher’s mound and I’d race to first base to tag the boy.
We had to stop that game. Rene turned pro. He started playing so close to the batter’s box to get a jump on the ball that I was afraid he’d get hit with the bat.
And then the day the boy, the dog, and I were walking out back by the dam. A great bull snake was sunning himself on the concrete shelf. Startled by our arrival, the snake fell into the pond. This dog. Rene-Wasatch Renegade, sire of two field champions was a Labrador retriever, and things that splashed were things to fetch. Off the dam Rene leaped, grasping the great snake, making for shore, the snake wrapping itself around and around Rene’s neck, biting his right check. A bite, incidentally, of absolutely no consequence.
Rapidly I started walking toward the house. The boy had to sprint to stay beside me. Huffingly he asked, “Why are we going so fast, daddy? Why, daddy?”
“I’ve got to go to the toilet,” I admitted to the lad.
Inside the house, looking out the kitchen window at the Lab holding the great bull snake, I lectured the lad, strongly. “Don’t ever be afraid of snakes, son.”
But Rene with the laughing eyes, and his way of walking on his hind legs to better look me square in the face, and the ever-waving flag of his tail, and the low guttural whine he’d make when he was trying to tell me something-Rene died. And then I carried him the last time. Carried him and buried him. Mixed prairie grass grows on his grave so one can’t recognize the place. But I do.
I go in memory now where in step I went before. They are strong, sure steps
And I do not walk alone.
All men who are dog men walk a similar trail. The butterball pup angling off to one side, or the seasoned field worker hired on for the gun and not his gut, or the gimpy, stoved-up senior canine citizen who can’t hear, can’t see, can’t run they all walk to side at one time or another in a dog man’s life. But the memory companions are set down front and back, absent in presence but not in mind. They are so often the reason the dog man chooses this spot in the marsh for his blind, or goes out of his way in the field to check that thicket, or makes sure to probe around the hole by the cottonwood out back. Some dog, some time, showed the dog man this was where the action is, this is where we harvest.
So, Rene trails with me evermore. And other dogs will join him. Can you imagine the string I’ll put down when I’m old? But I know one thing -the string could be no match for yours. We’re all like that about our dogs... and our memories.
A new memory coming for me will be named Pepe. He’s an old dog, Pepe. Peppy no longer is he.
For reasons of sentiment, I take Pepe with me to the fields—though I must dally a great deal to wait him out. Pepe walks at heel, reluctant to strike out and snifl.
In man years Pepe (AFC Renegade Pepe) is 88. He’s arthritic with eyes that are pop-bottle opaque. Pepe wheezes a lot as he locomotes, grunts when he scratches. If Walter Brennan had been a dog. I think he’d have been a lot like Pepe.
Pepe’s young kennel mate is a dog named Scoop. Scooper he is. Taking long draws on the wind, casting himself in big loops, scooping up all feather that’s idling in grass clump or thicket.
Scoop moves like John Wayne did when John was younger—or Robert Mitchum. Like his hips were double-jointed. It’s a swagger, really. The swagger of competence. Scoop is 42.
I’ve learned a lot about life from Scoop and Pepe. Pepe likes to hold up and lounge under a tree, thinking long deep thoughts.
To hear a bit more about the details of the #150, what inspired the boot and what makes it so noteworthy, we caught up with Joe Carfora.
Seven inches of added rear legroom and a suite of luxury additions add up to a better rear seat experience.
Back in the day, scientists believed that light was infinitely fast; it traveled instantaneously. But 344 years ago, on November 21, 1676, a Danish astronomer named Ole Rømer disproved that. When he studied Io, one of Jupiter’s moons, he discovered that light did not travel instantaneously, and light had a finite speed.
He was trying to figure out how long it takes Io to orbit Jupiter in hopes of using it as a cosmic clock. He watched Io disappear behind Jupiter and reappear on the other side. He did this over and over every 42 hours for years.
To his surprise, the timing of the eclipses was not consistent. When Earth was closest to Jupiter, the eclipses happened 11 minutes early. Likewise, when the two planets were farthest away, the eclipses were 11 minutes behind schedule.
Rømer figured out the pattern and made an accurate prediction for Io's eclipse on Nov. 9, 1676. Then on Nov. 21, he took his findings to the Royal Academy of Sciences and explained that a finite speed of light must be responsible.
What an intelligent man.
(Image Credit: NASA/ Wikimedia Commons)
More than likely, you know someone who drives a car. Get them something that makes their car a bit safer, or just more functional.
If you’re reading this, stop.
Step back from the screen, close your eyes, rub your temples, and breathe. Ahhhhh.
Now, where were we? Oh yeah — trying our best not to fall the F apart this year.
- 70% of employed adults say work is a significant source of stress in their lives this year, according to the APA.
- Employees are averaging 3 more hours of work per day
- Doomscrolling is an actual word (er, almost)
Lucky for you, we’re not just bad news bearers — we’re actually here to help fix all of this (with a little support from our fine friends at Fully).
So we aligned our chakras, took some deep breaths, and whipped up this guide to drop your stress to new lows — we’re talkin’ Marianas Trench-level depths.
Read on and chill out.
Treat Your Body
Get To Steppin’ (Or Running, Biking, Lifting, etc)
- Why: Exercise helps reduce depression, anxiety, stress, PTSD, trauma, improves your sleep, your memory, your cognition, increases your energy, AND makes you more resilient. Sheesh.
- Our Recommendation: Block off 45 minutes in the afternoon to move. If you’re feeling bougie, you can pick up a Tempo (and beat Sam on the leaderboard, please), but for a simpler start, just try these living room workouts from Active.com
- Great For: The WFH parent. Have your kids join in, then watch them pass out on the floor for naptime after. Hear that? That’s the sound of peace and frickin’ quiet.
Score A Setup That Supports You
- Why: Don’t undo all that exercise by settling for a rigid, unhealthy work area. Instead, opt for chairs and desks that support your body and allow you to stay healthy and keep moving throughout the work day.
- Our Recommendation: We have a hard time picking anything besides the best-reviewed standing desk on the planet (and the one we use at The Hustle): The Jarvis from Fully.
- Great For: Everybody, honestly. Nothing will screw up your back quite like sitting in a bad chair at a regular desk for 10 hours straight. Be better than that.
Limit Screen Time (Or Try Blue-Light Blockers)
- Why: Too much screen time can cause headaches, eye strain, blurred vision, and dry eyes (oh, and it hurts your thinker, too). If you can’t take more breaks, try on a pair of blue-light blocking glasses for size.
- Our Recommendation: Brands like Felix Gray offer both prescription and non-prescription options at pretty reasonable prices.
- Great for: The content writer who spends their entire day staring at PDFs, checking for spelling errors. Your peepers will thank you.
Revamp Your Quaran-Diet with Healthy Snacks
- Why: Healthy eating helps you feel engaged, curious, creative, and fulfilled (mentally and stomach-ly), according to this study.
- Our Recommendation: Daily Harvest, partially for the wide variety of options but mostly because we absolutely crush acai-cherry smoothies.
- Great For: The mindless eater. We’re guilty of pounding down a whole bag of mini Dove chocolates without noticing, so having something healthier to opt for can solve a whole lot of our sugary problems.
If All Else Fails… Cue The Stretch Break
- Why: Stretching reduces fatigue, prevents muscle strain, improves posture, and is simply a nice little mental break.
- Our Recommendation: This pretty thorough routine from Healthline.
- Great For: The meeting queen, whose only break from back-to-back-to-back-to-back’s is a 15 minute span from 1:30-1:45. Make the most of it, you little hustler, you.
Relax Your Mind
There’s No Thing Like Ohmmmm
- Why: Just a few days of meditation can help improve concentration, attention, combat anxiety and stress, and reduce heart rate. Oh, and duh — it’s free.
- Our Recommendation: Download Calm. There’s a reason it’s a billion dollar company… it frickin’ works.
- Great For: Those who have trouble detaching from work. Meditation forces you to take a break while also pushing all those worries (Meetings! Deliverables! What to do for team lunch!) out of your head for a bit.
Block That Damn Calendar
- Why: Get the more important stuff done so you can stress less. Or, take some time to get nothing done so you can simply decompress. Really, it just helps you make time for whatever you need.
- Our Recommendation: Block off a 1 hour stretch each afternoon. If you’re busy, use it for your top priority. If you’re not, use it to do one of these other tips, like meditate. Look at that! We went full circle.
- Great For: Triple-bookers. If you have a bad habit of overcommitting, blocking your calendar can help you get back on track and stop feeling overwhelmed.
Grab A Pencil (Or Play-Doh) And Zen Out
- Why: Coloring can help you zone out and reduce free-floating anxiety by letting your brain drift away from your other tasks. We also like tactile things like Play-Doh, because, well, have you ever played with Play-Doh?? We rest our case.
- Our Recommendation: Monthly Coloring Club will send you fresh books to fill in every week. (Unfortunately, we don’t have a delivery service for Play-Doh, so you’ll have to hit the Dollar Store on your own time.)
- Great For: WFH Parents. Yes, we used this twice. You know why? Because they deserve it. Buy extra for the kids and get distracted, together.
Force Yourself To Laugh (Okay, We Swear We’re Not Just Giving Up)
- Why: Before you call us crazy, just give us a chance: Laughter can soothe tension and improve your immune system, amongst many other things. C’mon, what’s there to lose?
- Our Recommendation: Option #1: Slack your funniest coworker. Option #2: Pop on Netflix and put one of the best comedy specials of 2020 on in the background as you work. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone.
- Great For: Monday. We all need a laugh on Monday.
Care For Yourself
Practice The 4 A’s Of Stress Management
- Why: ”Avoid, Alter, Accept, Adapt” isn’t just an easy way to remember the different ways to cope — it’s also super effective, because it gives you a variety of methods to run through if one isn’t working for you.
- Our Recommendation: Try actively practicing positive self-talk. Next time you knock yourself for a mistake, take a step back and instead pat yourself on the back for what you did right. You’d be surprised how much this can help your mood.
- Great For: Junior employees. Younger generations are facing a mental health crisis, so it’s more important than ever to focus on habits that will help lighten that load.
Borrow An Ear
- Why: Talking about our problems can actually make us feel better, but no one wants to feel like they’re burdening their friend with another 6-paragraph rant on their FaceTime date that went wrong… right guys? Right??
- Our Recommendation: The hip little app HearMe anonymously connects you with a friendly listener who you can text to let some steam off. Bonus points for 1) being free, and 2) using text, which can make it easier to open up than traditional phone or video calls.
- Great For: Those who have a tough time opening up to others. Because let’s face it… everything is so much easier over text.
Give Away Your Time, Money, Resources
- Why: We’ve talked a lot about helping ourselves here — but did you know there are actual physical benefits to helping others? Think lower blood pressure and increased sense of satisfaction.
- Our Recommendation: In-person volunteering is mostly off the table right now, but you’d be surprised how good it feels (and easy it is) to give a gift card to a coworker, neighbor, friend, or person in need during these times.
- Great For: Workers whose business has grown in 2020 — take a little bit of that extra income and spread the love, baby. It’s a win-win.
Bust Out The Pen
- Why: No, we don’t mean your vape (although that can help, too). Writing down your thoughts and feelings each day is actually one of the best ways to get in better touch with yourself and stabilize your emotions.
- Our Recommendation: Buy a notebook. But, if you insist on keeping it virtual, try Journey.
- Great For: Anyone who feels stuck in a rut. This will get that frustration-ball rolling, fast.
Two Words: Tele-Therapy (Okay, One Word)
- Why: The entire Hustle team are huge fans of therapy, despite the stigma still attached to it. We’re here to tell you if you’ve ever considered it, please, just try it. It’s super, super helpful, and we can promise you you’re not the only one feeling this way.
- Our Recommendation: There are tons of teletherapy services like Talkspace and Betterhelp, but they can be pricey. Try searching PsychologyToday to find therapists in your area that are covered by your insurance.
- Great For: Everyone. Yes, everyone. It’s 2020, folks — we’re all in on mental health.
|The child of freed slaves, Garrett Morgan invented early iterations of the gas mask and traffic light. But his contributions were largely overlooked.|
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‘Black Edison’: The 20th century’s prolific, oft-forgotten inventor
The child of freed slaves, Garrett Morgan invented early iterations of the gas mask and traffic light. But his contributions were largely overlooked.
He called himself the “Black Thomas Edison,” but we should all know his true name: Garrett Augustus Morgan.
Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Morgan pioneered a wide range of technological advancements — predecessors to the gas mask, sewing-machine advancements, hair products, and the first 3-color traffic light — that continue to impact daily life decades later.
It’s the story of an insatiably curious soul who overcame tremendous social barriers and devoted his life to making the world a safer place.
And it began in a shack on a rural Kentucky farm.
The son of freed slaves
Born to former Southern slaves in 1877, Morgan began life with bleak prospects and limited freedom.
His parents had gained freedom a decade earlier. But like many ex-slaves, they’d been forced into a life of sharecropping during the Reconstruction Era. In exchange for labor, they were permitted to rent out a rustic cabin on a white landowner’s farm in Claysville, Kentucky.
Left: Morgan as a young man (Western Reserve Historical Society); Right: A typical sharecropper’s cabin (Dorothea Lange; 1937)
Morgan and his 10 siblings were put to work around the age of 5, tilling fields, weeding, and caring for the farm’s pigs and chickens.
He attended a one-room, all-Black elementary school, where he learned basic reading, writing, and math. But after graduating from the 6th grade, his educational options ran dry. He had 2 choices:
In 1891, at the age of 14, Morgan migrated north to Cincinnati.
America was in a state of immense industrialization. Factories and mass production were replacing the agrarian way of life, railroads were rapidly expanding, and a mass migration to cities was ushering in a new era of invention.
For 4 years, Morgan worked as a handyman for a landlord, using his earnings to hire a tutor and enrich his education.
At 18, with just 10 cents to his name, he moved to Cleveland, the city where he’d find success.
A natural inventor
In Cleveland, Morgan found work as a custodian, sweeping floors for $5/week (~$130 today).
But according to the author Mary Oluonye, Morgan was an insatiable problem solver who soon craved more hands-on experience.
Cleveland, c. 1900 (Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons)
At the time, Cleveland was one of the nation’s leading clothing production hubs. Morgan managed to land a job fixing sewing machines — a crucially important role in the city’s bustling Garment District.
He studied the machines closely, took note of their flaws, and — with extraordinarily finite resources — fashioned his own belt fastener that improved workflow. He sold his first invention for $150 ($4.6k today) and gained backroom renown for his ingenuity.
After 12 years in the clothing business, Morgan decided to strike out on his own.
Along with his newly-wed wife — a Czech immigrant seamstress — he launched his own sewing-machine repair firm and a clothing manufacturing shop that he grew to 32 employees.
While looking for a way to prevent needles from scorching fabrics, Morgan formulated a chemical concoction with an unintended side effect.
When the solution was applied to cloth, it straightened out curly fibers. After running a series of tests on his neighbor’s Airedale terrier, then on his own hair, Morgan incorporated G.A. Morgan Hair Refining Co. and began to market hair products to the masses.
He traveled around the country selling his hair refiner for $1/jar ($27 today), netting $20k in sales within a few years.
An ad for Morgan’s hair products (Kansas City Advocate; 1916)
At a time of deeply ingrained racial prejudice, Morgan enjoyed rare financial success: He bought a home and, according to the historian William King, was the first Black person in Cleveland to own a car.
But Morgan’s entrepreneurial streak had only just begun.
Saving lives and making a name
Morgan shifted his focus to a dramatically different field: fire safety.
He noticed that the existing devices firefighters used to protect themselves from smoke and noxious fumes were clunky, unreliable, and prone to malfunctions.
So, he decided to design something better.
In 1912, Morgan filed a patent for a fire safety hood (the Garrett A. Morgan Safety Hood) that utilized a series of tubes, which ran down to the floor where clean air could be collected through a wet sponge filter.
Morgan sought advice from J.P. Morgan (then one of America’s richest men, with a net worth equivalent to ~$47B today) and the financier advised him to “remove himself from his own product” — presumably, to downplay his race.
To market his device, the Black inventor hired white actors for a series of live demonstrations. Donning the hood, a man would enter a tent filled with smoke “thick enough to strangle an elephant,” and emerge 20 minutes later with no side effects.
Sold for $25 each ($665 today), Morgan’s fire hoods received rave reviews from those who put them to use: “Two men equipped with the Morgan helmet can accomplish more in 15 minutes than a whole company can in 30,” wrote one Ohio fire chief in 1914.
Left: A Morgan Safety Hood on display (Western Reserve Historical Society); Right: Patent illustrations for Morgan’s invention
On July 25, 1916, the invention gained national prominence.
In the wake of a natural gas explosion in a tunnel under Lake Erie, Morgan and a crew of white volunteers used the masks to rescue crew members and exhume bodies.
While the white volunteers were awarded medals and cash prizes for heroism, Morgan’s contributions went largely unrecognized in the mainstream press.
But after the event, demand for his safety hoods multiplied.
Fire departments in more than 500 cities bought the invention — and Morgan soon secured contracts with the US Navy and US Army.
During WWI, an iteration of his hood was used extensively on the battlefield to protect against German gas warfare.
He incorporated the device under his own publicly-traded firm, The National Safety Device Company, and sold shares for $10. Within 5 years, these shares were up to $250 — a 25x return for investors.
Putting the ‘yellow’ in traffic lights
Morgan was endlessly curious about the minutiae of daily life — the somewhat dull things around him that few others gave thought to.
And in 1922, he turned his attention to the traffic light.
America’s cities were undergoing dramatic urban shifts to better accommodate the booming automobile industry. The streets were packed with cars, carriages, horses, bicycles, and pedestrians — and new traffic regulation was needed.
Traffic lights that utilized red (stop) and green (go) were widely in use at the time. But, Morgan saw room for improvement.
After witnessing a terrible accident between a car and horse-drawn carriage, he devised a T-shaped light that integrated the first “middle” position — the color yellow — to denote the light was about to change.
Top: Patent illustrations for Morgan’s traffic light (WIPO/USPTO); Bottom: Moran in his later years (Western Reserve Historical Society; photo illustration: The Hustle)
He demonstrated the light in Willoughby, Ohio, where it caught the attention of local General Electric employees.
In 1923, the company paid Morgan $40k ($620k today) for his patent and began to install his lights all over the country, ushering in the age of the 3-color traffic lights we know today.
A life to remember
As he aged, Morgan continued to not only innovate but also fight for a more inclusive society.
He launched a newspaper that covered oft-unpublicized events in the Black community, became actively involved with the NAACP, and established an all-Black country club on a 121-acre farm outside of Cleveland.
Despite developing glaucoma and slowly losing his eyesight, he patented a number of other devices, including a pellet that extinguished cigarettes when people accidentally fell asleep smoking.
When he passed away in 1963, at the age of 86, he was laid to rest in the same cemetery as ex-President James Garfield and John D. Rockefeller.
“He has a wonderful inventive brain with remarkable business ability,” the Kansas City Advocate wrote of Morgan.
“He has accomplished so much without the learning of books — but rather, as he puts it himself, [through] the college of hard knocks.”
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