The Weekender, January 17, 2020


A reader wrote in this week to ask why I don’t really use Twitter or Facebook etc. for Now I Know. The answer: I think it’s a waste of time. Not in general — I spend a ton of time, personally, on Twitter (mostly talking about the New York Mets) — but for the newsletter.

Now I Know could have been a blog. It kind of is a blog, just one I send via email, but it could have been a blog without the email part included. But it’s not, and that’s by design. This is almost ten years old (wow!) and when I started it, it was because I wanted to start an email newsletter. At the time, Twitter was still just emerging and Facebook, for the most part, was still a place for college students to connect with each other and with their high school friends. (I was no longer a college student.) Instagram, Snapchat, and all the other ones out there now didn’t exist, and MySpace was a hot mess. If you were writing a blog at the time — remember blogs? — it was really hard to get people to read what you wrote. And even if someone did read a blog post here or there, “subscribing” to the blog was very difficult. 

I wanted to fix that. It’s not worth writing — to me, at least — if no one reads it. Sending it by email by default solved that, and therefore, there was no reason to continually push out links via social media. So I’ve never bothered to spend the time on the Now I Know Twitter and Facebook pages, except for a few experiments here or there.

That may be a mistake, long-term, but ten years is long-term, right? So I guess I’m okay. Anyway, don’t expect a lot of content on those social media accounts, but if you’re a Mets fan, feel free to follow my personal account. (And if you don’t like the Mets, please don’t give me a hard time. It’s difficult enough to be a Mets fan.)

The Now I Know Week in Review

Monday: Why Public Toilet Seats are U-Shaped. I happened to find a public toilet yesterday with an O-shaped seat. I just wanted to share that. 

Tuesday: The Town With No Name. The song “The Horse With No Name” was stuck in my head as I wrote this one.

Wednesday: Septuagenarian On Board: “Septuagenarian” is a really great word, for what it’s worth. 

Thursday: This Is The Poem That Never Ends. It Just Goes On And On, My Friends. I really don’t like this title. Reader James S. wrote in to suggest “The NeverEnding Poetry” and you know what? That’s a much, much better title.

And some other things you should check out:

Some long reads for the weekend.

1) “We Dare You To Explain Luke’s Plan To Rescue Han In ‘Return of the Jedi’” (Uproxx, 5 minutes, February 2018). This is a very, very good point — Luke’s plan makes no sense. None.

1a) “The Skywalker Six: Explaining The Plan To Rescue Han In ROTJ” (Chuck Wendig’s blog, 7 minutes, March 2018). Okay, maybe it makes sense. Maybe.

2) “The Day That Changed Everything” (, December 2019). The subhead: “They lost the biggest N.J. high school football game ever played. Can one agonizing defeat destroy a life?”

3) “America’s Decades-Old Obsession With Nuking Hurricanes (and More)” (Wired, 7 minutes, August 2018). I wanted to share this a while ago but I needed the political aspect of it to blow over, because this is fun and weird and a good read.

Have a great weekend!