DRDB! 20: There Is a Place Beyond Ambition

Mary Oliver, stoner metal, and a former president who was also a maniac.

“There Is a Place Beyond Ambition” by Mary Oliver (via)

When the flute players
couldn’t think of what to say next

they laid down their pipes,
then they lay down themselves
beside the river

and just listened.
Some of them, after a while,
jumped up
and disappeared back inside the busy town.
But the rest—
so quiet, not even thoughtful—
are still there,

still listening.


  1. LeBron James Opened a School That Was Considered an Experiment. It’s Showing Promise. (NYT)
    So many smart decisions here. 1) It’s a public school, not a charter. 2) There’s a free food/supply room for students and families. 3) LeBron’s foundation mostly funds additional teaching staff and resources, as well as a lot of support for parents (GED classes, etc).

  2. The American Work Ethic (Longreads)
    “For all our national pride in our puritanical work ethic, the ethic doesn’t apply evenly. At the highest income levels, wealthy Americans are making money passively, through investments and inheritances, and doing little of what most would consider “work.” Basic subsistence may soon be predicated on whether and how much a poor person works, while the rich count on tax credits and carve-outs designed to protect stockpiles of wealth created by money begetting itself. It’s the poor who are expected to work the hardest to prove that they are worthy of Americanness, or a helping hand, or humanity.”

  3. Big Tech Lobbying Gutted a Bill That Would Ban Recording You Without Consent (Motherboard)
    Today’s friendly reminder that Google and Amazon are quietly evil. Facebook, meanwhile, has been trying to sell your data this whole time. TED turned off the feed of their Twitter CEO Q&A because the tweets got so bad.

  4. Watching Shelley Winters Go Rogue in Debbie Reynolds’s 1983 Exercise Video, “Do It Debbie’s Way” (New Yorker)
    “Winters shows up wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt that reads ‘I’m Only Doing This for Debbie,’ and then refuses to do exercises with the rest of the group. Instead, she sits in the back, behind rows of Olivia Newton-John look-alikes, goofing off and heckling Reynolds. ‘Hey, Debbie, are your bulges supposed to hurt?’”

  5. Selfie Deaths Are an Epidemic (Outside)
    This headline is only a little exaggerated.

  6. The DMV Reviewed Thousands of Vanity Plate Applications Last Year. These Are Our Favorites (Los Angeles Magazine)
    “HOTNSXE” was approved, phew.

  7. "What I’ve Learned Collecting the Stories of People Whose Loved Ones Were Transformed by Fox News" (New York)
    A prayer: dear god please end cable news and save us from ourselves.

  8. The History of Rain Jacket Tech, From Intestines To Gore-Tex (Gizmodo)

  9. That Beautiful Moment in 2016 When David Rees Wrote About Dopesmoker in the New York Times (NYT)
    David Rees is a low-key comedy folk-hero. His sincere recommendation of an hour-long stoner metal song in the Gray Lady is not a bit, but it’s also a perfect bit. “The essence of heavy metal is discipline in service of the preposterous. At its best, the genre solemnizes the impulses of adolescence. Couple this with the stoner’s habit of uncovering deep truths in whatever’s at hand and you might understand why Sleep’s magnum dopus can actually feel profound. For an atheist who misses the liturgical solemnity and theological strangeness of High Church, Dopesmoker delivers the next best thing. It reminds me of the heaviness of purpose required to chase the feather-light glee of the sacred.”


And now for some good jokes about former president/maniac Andrew Jackson:

xoxo