The Weekender, February 5, 2021


I’d like your help with something. In my head, I started putting together a master list of the little, often under-the-radar websites, apps, etc. that I use on a somewhat-regular basis, thinking it would be a good Weekender. And I realized that I only had like 10-15 things worth sharing, and even that seemed aggressively high. And that realization led me to a different one: I’m probably missing out on some pretty cool things. So, let’s make this a community project?

When you get a moment, please reply to this email (my inbox is going to hate me, huh) with one or two digital tools that (a) you use a lot and (b) you’re very sure aren’t commonly used. Not Wikipedia or Instagram, obviously — we all know about that. And not a project management tool like Asana or Trello or Monday, even if you swear by them. Similarly, I’m not looking for organizational tools like Evernote — go a lot more niche. And it doesn’t have to be a productivity tool or anything like that, either. If there’s a relatively unknown iPhone game you absolutely love, I want to know about it. The best way to describe it, I guess, is to imagine that a Washington Post writer was asking for the same thing; my hope is that you’d recommend Now I Know. Hardly mainstream, but (hopefully!) good and something you read often.

Thanks! If I get the type of stuff I’m looking for, I’ll eventually share with everyone on the list. And my apologies in advance — I almost certainly won’t be replying directly to your emails with suggestions.

The Now I Know Week in Review

MondayFrederick Douglass Is Not Amused: The very good reason Frederick Douglass is not smiling.

TuesdayWhen Ziggy Should Have Zagged: Definitely one of the silliest stories I’ve ever shared.

WednesdayThe Hunger Stones: Warnings from the past, that disappear when unneeded.

Thursday: Outlasting the Super Bowl: The game to avoid the Game.

And some other things you should check out:

Some long reads for the weekend.

1) “Lunik: Inside the CIA’s audacious plot to steal a Soviet satellite” (MIT Technology Review, 18 minutes, January 2021). This site is going to ask you to accept cookies, subscribe, subscribe to a newsletter, do the hokey pokey, and then give a ritual sacrifice before you read. You can decline to do all of that and read the article. And you should. The subhead: “How a team of spies in Mexico got their hands on Russia’s space secrets—and tried to change the course of the Cold War.”

2) “Who’s Making All Those Scam Calls?” (New York Times, 23 minutes, January 2021). I’ve written about little bits of this over the years, but hardly to this degree. The subhead: “Every year, tens of millions of Americans collectively lose billions of dollars to scam callers. Where does the other end of the line lead?”

3) “The official frozen pizza power rankings” (Los Angeles Times, January 2021). Thanks to John G. for the link — he sends me a ton, they’re almost always good. This is no exception. With the Super Bowl coming up on Sunday, this is also timely. On my end, I live in the NYC area, so frozen pizza isn’t something we do very often, and I’ve tried very few of these. The Amy’s Margarita is pretty good, though. Not as good as a real pizza, but it’s fine. 

Before I go, my Super Bowl prediction: Kansas City 31, Tampa Bay 17.

Have a great weekend!