Hello, Internet Stranger! Turn and face the strange...
I’m Sean McDevitt, and this is The Weekly Click. I’ve changed the format for the email once again. Let me know what you think. One of the delights of sending this email is hearing from you! Click reply and say, “Hi…”
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Zero to Possible
Nicholas Bate gifts us all with a new list:
Zero soda; maximum water.
Zero in-box; maximum filed to category and action list.
Zero lifts/escalator; maximum stairs.
Zero processed food; maximum fresh, local and cooked by self.
Zero blackberry-at-table; maximum great uninterrupted conversation.
Zero mall; maximum small, local & inspiring shop-keepers.
Zero can’t; maximum all things are possible.
He might need to update that Blackberry reference.
Falling Asleep to Fake Baseball
It looks like there isn’t going to be any Major League Baseball in the foreseeable future, but if you are old enough to remember staying up late with a radio tuned to a baseball game and gently falling asleep to the dulcet tones of Jack Buck, Vin Scully, or Curt Gowdy, a Chicago-based media producer who goes by Mr. King has you covered.
The Northwoods Baseball Radio Network is on the air with no yelling and commercials at the same audio level. Mr. King has created a fictional baseball game for those needing something other than white noise to fall asleep.
Kevin Goldstein, writing for Fangraphs, has the story.
The game itself is an unremarkable one, but that’s part of the design for content meant to help you fall asleep. Calling the game on WSLP Radio from Foghorn Field is the fictional Wally McCarthy, voiced by Mr. King, whose energy level, on a scale from one to 10, never exceeds a two. Cadillac scores one in the first, three in the second and two in the third, and coasts to a 6–4 victory over Big Rapids. It features 11 walks and 10 pop-outs. There is never a reason for McCarthy to get excited. There are no errors. The one stolen base attempt ends in a caught stealing. Even the home runs are described by McCarthy as “long and lazy.” Meanwhile, behind his calm-as-can-be delivery is the crowd noise, which is frequently the star of the show thanks to long pauses.
It’s really quite fun and nostalgic.
Death Don’t Wait
Chris Farren has put together a (mostly) instrumental soundtrack for a Bond-esque spy movie that exists entirely in his head. I love everything about this project.
Peter Helman, writing on Stereogum, has the story.
“I thought about what every action movie has,” Farren says. “There’s usually at least two car chases, maybe a boat chase, hand-to-hand combat, a heist scene. So I just chose 15 different types of scenes, and I’d watch those types of scenes in different movies. I watched a lot of bank heist scenes and scenes of people diffusing bombs, and tried to pay attention to what the music was doing, and thought about how I could do that in my own way.”
While 11 of the 12 tracks on the album are instrumental, Death Don’t Wait (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) does have its very own Bond theme ballad: “Death Don’t Wait (Main Title),” sung by the inimitable Laura Stevenson. “I didn’t want to sing on it,” Farren says. “I thought it would take away from the concept of the record if I sang on it. And the nature of the song, it wasn’t meant for my voice. It’s meant for more of a classic voice, and Laura has one of the great voices of our time, I say.”
Last year during the pandemic, I read the two collections by Ted Chiang, Stories of Your Life and Others and Exhalation: Stories. He’s easily one of the best authors in current science fiction. What’s surprising is Chiang has published only eighteen stories—one and a half dozen masterpieces which confront fundamental ideas like intelligence, consciousness, and the nature of God.
Here are my favorites (found via the Wayback Machine):
Tower of Babylon - A Bronze Age laborer joins the construction of an impossibly high structure on a mission to breach the vaults of Heaven. It won the Nebula Award for Best Novelette.
Story of Your Life - A talented linguist reflects on the life of her daughter as she struggles to grasp the meaning of an alien language. It won the Nebula Award for Best Novella and was adapted into the film Arrival.
The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate - An ancient alchemist introduces a traveling merchant to a mysterious time-traveling gateway. It won the Hugo and Nebula Award for Best Novelette.
Exhalation - A non-human scholar relates the dissection of his own brain, and the implications his discoveries hold for his curious clockwork universe. It won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story.
The Lifecycle of Software Objects - The relationship between people and their creations are explored in the near-future world of sentient AI. It won the Hugo Award for Best Novella.
Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom [scroll down]- A new technology that lets people see and communicate with alternate timelines throws society into an existential crisis.
Musical jenga is when strangers on the Internet take turns adding another level of music to each other’s creations.
Sometimes they’re short and sweet.
If you aren’t on TikTok, where many of these originate, Mimo on Youtube sometimes edits together the best TikTok jengas.
Here are the articles I think you should read this week:
Until next time, put your own oxygen mask on first before you help others with theirs. Please, do try to help someone with theirs. Take it easy, but keep an eye out for the people still fiddling with the mask straps. They’re everywhere. Stay alive.
As ever, thank you for subscribing. Thank you for sharing.
Be seeing you,