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> I am Clay
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May 2022

This newsletter is a collection of things I have found in the last month that I enjoyed, found interesting, or simply wanted to share.

You can follow me more closely at my personal website or if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, you can point them to my real estate website.

Bop it, Pull it, Twist it

MIT engineers introduce the Oreometer

Curiously, when they mapped each cookie’s result to its original position in the box, they noticed the cream tended to stick to the inward-facing wafer: Cookies on the left side of the box twisted such that the cream ended up on the right wafer, whereas cookies on the right side separated with cream mostly on the left wafer. They suspect this box distribution may be a result of post-manufacturing environmental effects, such as heating or jostling that may cause cream to peel slightly away from the outer wafers, even before twisting.

Bless you, Dylan

Meet The Guy Who Spends Just $150 A Year To Eat All His Meals At Six Flags

It all started on the first day of his internship in 2014, when Dylan noticed the rollicking coasters of Six Flags Magic Mountain from the windows of his new office. Fresh out of college and something of a coaster-fanatic already, Dylan was perusing the options for Six Flags’ annual pass when he stumbled upon what might be the deal of his lifetime — for a one-time fee of $150, he could eat two meals a day, every day at the park for an entire year. Since his office was just a five-minute drive away, it was a no-brainer.

Smells Like

I would like to be paid like a plumber

In November of 1992, shortly before they formally agreed on his involvement, Albini wrote to Nirvana and laid bare his philosophy in a pitch letter that is fascinating from start to finish.

Fiks/Fish, Maks/Mask, Ask/Aks

The ‘ax’ versus ‘ask’ question

The first thing to understand is that, for black people, “ax” has a different meaning than “ask.” Words are more than sequences of letters, and “ax” is drunk in from childhood. “Ax” is a word indelibly associated not just with asking but with black people asking. That sentiment alone is powerful enough to cut across conscious decisions about what is standard or proper.

“Ax,” then, is as integral a part of being a black American as are subtle aspects of carriage, demeanor, humor and religious practice. “Ax” is a gospel chord in the form of a word, a facet of black being — which is precisely why black people can both make fun of and also regularly use “ax,” even as college graduates.

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Thanks for reading. Have a great month,

Clay

April 2022

This newsletter is a collection of things I have found in the last month that I enjoyed, found interesting, or simply wanted to share.

You can follow me more closely at my personal website or if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, you can point them to my real estate website.

The Third Man

The forgotten Black Power hero

Smith and Carlos had already decided to make a statement on the podium. They were to wear black gloves. But Carlos left his at the Olympic village. It was Norman who suggested they should wear one each on alternate hands. Yet Norman had no means of making a protest of his own. So he asked a member of the U.S. rowing team for his “Olympic Project for Human Rights” badge, so that he could show solidarity.

“He came up to me and said, ‘Have you got one of those buttons, mate,’ ” said U.S. rower Paul Hoffman. “If a white Australian is going to ask me for an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge, then by God he would have one. I only had one, which was mine, so I took it off and gave it to him.”

The three men walked towards their destiny. The medals were handed out before the three turned towards the flags and the start of the Star Spangled Banner.

Lots of Lines

‘Bizarro World’

“It’s funny,” I told Flewin. “We have an old Nintendo Game Boy floating around the house, and Tetris is the only game we own. My wife will sometimes dig it out to play on airplanes and long car rides. She’s weirdly good at it. She can get 500 or 600 lines, no problem.”

What Flewin said next I will never forget.

“Oh, my!”

After I hung up the phone, I went to the bedroom and woke my wife, Lori.

“Honey,” I said. “You’re not going to believe this, but I just got off the phone with a guy who’s in charge of video game world records, and he said the world record for Game Boy Tetris is 327 lines, and he wants us to go to New Hampshire this spring so you can try to break the world record live in front of the judges at the world’s largest classic video game tournament.

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Do not hesitate to reply to this months email to share links, wisdom, or thoughts.

Thanks for reading. Have a great month,

Clay

March 2022

This newsletter is a collection of things I have found in the last month that I enjoyed, found interesting, or simply wanted to share.

You can follow me more closely at my personal website or if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, you can point them to my real estate website.

OB$E$$IVE

The moral calculations of a billionaire

His choice: 12 more hours anchored to the chair in his office, monitoring the market and calling in to his trading desk again and again as the sun reflected off the swimming pool outside his window. The market fell. The market rose. He bought $3 million in distressed bonds. He gave another $5 million away to charity. He was $18 million up for the day. He was $6 million down. He was beating the market again by mid-morning, losing at lunch, winning an hour later, and then losing again. “Does it make any sense?” he asked himself, watching the numbers change on his screen. “To sit inside all day in front of a machine, making money I don’t need so I can give it to someone I don’t know?”

AL-most Famous

The Weirdly Enduring Appeal of Weird Al Yankovic

The connection is so deep that it is more like a merging, and after a while it struck me that Weird Al has spent basically his whole life making his music for exactly these people, which is to say for his childhood self. For many decades, he has been trying to delight Alfred Yankovic, the bright, painfully shy kid who grew up alone in his tiny bedroom. For the benefit of that lonely boy, he reshaped the whole world of pop culture. His ridiculous music sent out a pulse, a signal, and these were the people it drew: the odd, the left out. A crowd of friends for that lonely kid. As I watched him with his fans, sometimes I felt as if Weird Al was multiplying all around me, multiplying inside of me. We were one crowd, united in isolation, together in a great collective loneliness that — once you recognized it, once you accepted it — felt right on the brink of being healed.

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Thanks for reading. Have a great month,

Clay

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