the bats and the bees
When we were growing up, our mom would take us to the LA Farmer’s Market every once in a while. For the uninitiated, the Farmer’s Market is a permanent structure—a similar vein to Seattle’s Public Market—that had stalls, lunch options, and, perhaps most important to me: a sticker store (one that just had their 25th anniversary!)
The store itself was walls of roll stickers (see below), and if you were a Kid Of A Certain Temperament, I feel like I don’t need to describe this, but all the rolls were laid out, and you would gently pull down however much of the sticker sheet you wanted, and then gently tear it along the perforations in the soft waxy paper.
Would I ever use these stickers? No. I was the child that kept them pristine in case of what exactly, I don’t know. But I did know they were Mrs. Grossman’s stickers, and today I found an article about Mrs. Grossman (first name: Andrea) and her sticker empire and I am So. Delighted.
Jia Tolentino, again, proves that she’s probably the most adroit among us to discuss Internet Culture, diving into “cursed images,” and what the fascination with it tells us:
That dual impulse—summed up in today’s parlance as “thanks, I hate it”—is especially present in the version of “cursed” that denotes a sort of context-based profanity….“For me, ‘cursed’ brings to mind a sort of unholy juxtaposition—things that shouldn’t be together, in a way that makes the whole thing feel senseless,” Jenny Odell, the author of “How to Do Nothing,” told me.…“It also reminds me of dreams,” she said, “where your mind takes two potentially banal things, smushes them together, and renders something that feels deeply wrong.” She described cursed energy as “normcore horror.”
Slightly more cursed animal news: Pigs recorded using tools for the first time. Slightly less cursed, but still weird: scientists have shown that bees just stop during a full solar eclipse. Somehow I am not surprised by the news that bats talk to each other; what’s great is that 60% of it is them complaining, including when another bat sits too close.
Here are some good, not creepy, bees, teaming up with the artist Ava Roth to create artwork that combines embroidery and honeycombs:
Since the working bees are all female – and not making ‘fine art’, the finished pieces are very much in the tradition of marginalized women’s work, and sewing in particular. Because both the bees work and traditional women’s work have been largely functional, their beauty and significance have been easily overlooked.
ESPN looks at chess grandmasters and their extreme weight loss during tournaments—despite not really moving! I’m fascinated too, at how just the angle at how one sits in a chair can have such a drastic effect on play. One thing that got a giggle out of me was reading the phrase “that’s right, chess had a Boogie Nights phase” as if there wasn’t a musical that references explicitly that literally titled CHESS, but maybe the Venn diagram of ESPN readers and 1980s musicals fans isn’t as big as I thought.
Two time capsules: the first, an investigation as to whether or not The Underground Home from the 1964 World’s Fair still exists. Second: on manual elevators and the operators who work with them.
A third time capsule, the Waterworld Stunt Show at Universal Studios, has been going on since a few months after the movie premiered—some friends of mine have calculated that more people may have seen it than ever seen the movie—and it honestly holds up! Thankfully Esther Zuckerman has done the hard work of telling us the story behind the show, and it’s just fantastic.
I am ride or die (ha ha) for The Fast and the Furious franchise, but regardless, this breakdown of one of the crazy stunt scenes in Fast Five (this is the movie where the franchise shifts from being movies about cars to dramatic international heists) is great—it’s 20 minutes, but jaw-dropping at points:
The highlighted part of this excerpt about the Tufts mascot is not even the wildest part of this screenshot (spoiler: it’s the last line)
There is so much to unpack about Tufts' school mascot, Jumbo the elephant, donated by P.T. Barnum (naturally!)
For 86 years, Jumbo stood in Barnum Hall and was a veritable mecca on campus. Students, parents and other campus visitors would pop pennies in his trunk or give a tug on his tail to bring luck for an upcoming exam or athletic competition. Jumbo mania came to a fiery end on April 14, 1975 when Barnum Hall and the beloved elephant were consumed in an electrical fire.
Jumbo's spirit lives on. Some of his ashes were recovered in a peanut butter jar that has remained in the athletics director’s office where students continue to rub it for good luck.
In place of Jumbo engulfed in flames, here’s a T-Rex:
Have a good week, everyone! May you make friends with many bees!