Shakespeare, Corkscrew, Bet, Chef, Piranesi

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The Case Against Shakespeare

Allan Stratton | The Walrus | 31st March 2021

Playwright argues that diminishing the role of Shakespeare in literary education would increase the chance of school students developing a love of literature. The Bard's plays have "too much baggage". His sonnets can stay, though. "We should focus on the books most likely to spur kids’ love of the written word. Shakespeare may be our finest writer, but what schools do in his name is a crime" (1,328 words)


Unwanted Corkpull

Kelly Pendergrast | Real Life | 1st April 2021

Arguably the best article I have ever read about the moral economy of corkscrews (or corkpulls, as they are called here). They are skinny and they break, or they are swole and they clutter up the kitchen drawer. Worst-case scenario, it's a big one, it's a gift, and you can never throw it away. Rivalled in its rivalrousness only by old extension power cords and Container Store paper-towel holders (3,500 words)


Tales From The Election

Vitalik Buterin | 18th February 2021

The inventor of Ethereum tries his hand at betting on politics, and wonders why he won so easily. "The game is very lopsided in favor of those who are trying to push the probability away from the extreme value. And this explains not just Trump; it's also the reason why all sorts of popular-among-a-niche candidates with no real chance of victory frequently get winning probabilities as high as 5%" (5,200 words)


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Audio of the Week: Yes Chef

Episode: "Fronds With Benefits (With Jason Mantzoukas)" | Podcast: Home Cooking | 50m32s

This show about home cookery was one of the only good things to happen in 2020. It isn't publishing new regularly episodes anymore — although it's worth subscribing in the hope that a surprise special will drop one day — but relistening to Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway chat about what they like to cook and eat is still a delight. This episode with universal podcast guest Jason Mantzoukas is a particular highlight, as he brings his novice questions to the hosts, but you can also select one from the feed at random and still enjoy it (50m32s)


Book of the Week: Piranesi

by Susanna Clarke | Courtesy of Five Books

A lone amnesiac wanders the infinite, ruined halls of an unknown world, sharing detailed notes on ‘The House’ and what can be found there with ‘The Other’ – his only company, unless you include the thirteen skeletons secreted between the statues of the halls and vestibules. “Since the World began it is certain that there have existed fifteen people," he writes. “Possibly there have been more; but I am a scientist and must proceed according to the evidence” (272 pages)


Afterthought:
"A ship is safe in harbour, but that's not what ships are for"
John Shedd


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