Happy Father's Day via [Robert Rivenbark]


Hi Ken, 

With Father's Day coming up--and knowing you have a son you're very proud of--I thought you might enjoy this music video a friend of mine sent me. 

As a mentor for writers like me, you are like a father to many. 

Robert Rivenbark


Everyday Items And Their Intended Purpose

How Much Pasta Is Enough?

We all know what the weirdly shaped claws on the rim of a pasta spoon is for, to grip pasta as you dish it out, so it doesn’t slide off the utensil. What about the mysterious hole in the middle? While we might all have thought it was to drain the excess water or sauce, it has another useful purpose.


The Real Purpose

The hole can be used to decide how much dry pasta you will need for one serving, and this will help keep single eaters from overdoing it on their pasta.



You know when you buy a new piece of clothing, it often comes with a bag containing one button and about 1 square inch of matching fabric? The reason seems obvious, right? A button in case one falls off, and the fabric in case you get a tear and need to patch it up.

The Real Purpose

This might be a nice use for the fabric sample, but it’s only secondary. The real reason for this fabric is for you to trial your cleaning products on, to make sure they won’t ruin the material.




Soda Can

We may have thought we knew all there was to know about how to use a soda can properly, but you might be surprised to learn about this one. Every can of soda comes with a tab for easy opening of the tasty beverage. And every single one of them has a fairly large hole in the top.


Real Purpose

It’s intended purpose is actually to serve as a place-holder for your straw. Simply spin the tab around over the opening and slip your straw through.


Tic Tacs

It would seem that we have been eating Tic Tacs wrong this entire time. It turns out there could be more to extracting the tiny breath mints from their containers than some initially thought.

Real Purpose

You’ve probably noticed the little indentation on the lid of a package of Tic Tacs before and figured it was there to seal the container, right tightly? Well, this design feature has more intention to it, it acts as a dispenser meaning the correct way to eat Tic Tacs is to dispense the small breath mints one-by-one.


Life-Saving Tip

The design of the headrest is pretty plain; they are made to be adjustable to support anyone, no matter how tall or short comfortably. While this does make sense, why are they completely detachable? It’s actually a life-saving feature.


Real Purpose

When you pull the headrest completely out of the seat, it has two solid, metal bars; so if you are ever trapped inside a car and need to get out quickly, you can remove your headrest and use the metal bars to smash out your window.



Margins Of Protection

Those margins weren’t inserted as a guide for how many sentences you should fit onto a page, or even to leave space for notes. Manufacturers started applying margins to writing paper to protect your work as rats used to be common in many people’s homes and would snack on paper.

Real Purpose

Applying a wide border to paper safeguarded against losing important work by leaving space around the sides for the rats to chew through first, and to protect the writing on the outer edges from general wear and tear.


More Artist and his dog...

Brazilian illustrator Rafael Mantesso loves to imagine his dog Jimmy having various funny adventures.









Artist and his dog...

Brazilian illustrator Rafael Mantesso loves to imagine his dog Jimmy having various funny adventures.

















My mom in quarantine A personal essay from filmmaker Josh Seftel, made from his video chats with his energetic mother, discussing everything from social distancing and dealing with loneliness, to the fashion of masks and dating one of the Cuomo brothers.

My mom in quarantine A personal essay from filmmaker Josh Seftel, made from his video chats with his energetic mother, discussing everything from social distancing and dealing with loneliness, to the fashion of masks and dating one of the Cuomo brothers.


Smart planter has a screen that displays your plant’s ‘feelings’

Who knew plants could feel so much?

Water can pouring water into planter

Plants are like pets; they can’t talk to you, per se, but they communicate nonetheless. They droop, sprout, and grow in a nonverbal language that almost seems to communicate emotions. For anyone who’s ever wondered, “How does my plant really feel?” finding the answer could get a whole lot easier with Lua, a concept for a smart planter that displays your plant’s emotions (or equivalent of).

Belgian designer Vivien Mueller of Mu Design embedded the anthropomorphic vase with sensors that can measure things like soil moisture, temperature, and light exposure. These sensors are used to trigger 15 different “emotions” on the 2.4 inch LCD screen, for instance: If a plant is cold, the screen will light up with chattering teeth. If it’s too hot, the screen will show beads of sweat. A plant with too much water will look sick, and one with not enough will show it panting with its tongue out.

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The new BBC documentary Scotland — Contains Strong Language explores the Bannatyne Manuscript from 1568. Written by Edinburgh Merchant George Bannatyne while he was quarantined during — appropriately enough — a plague, the collection includes a poem titled "The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy," an account of a duel between two poets said to have been conducted before the court of King James IV.

As Ars Technica explains:

Flyting is a poetic genre in Scotland—essentially a poetry slam or rap battle, in which participants exchange creative insults with as much verbal pyrotechnics (doubling and tripling of rhymes, lots of alliteration) as they can muster. (It's a safe bet Shakespeare excelled at this art form.)

And it is in that poem that these words were found, amidst the barbs shot back-and-forth between these poets: "wan fukkit funling."

According to Dr Joanna Kopaczyk, a historical linguistics expert from Glasgow University, that makes it the first recorded use of the word "fuck."

To me, that looks more like Scots than Middle English, although both languages were derived from Olde English. There are also some people who insist that Scots is merely a dialect of English, rather than its own language. Scots should also not be confused with Scottish Gaelic. That being said: is anyone surprised that Scotland would be home to the first "fuck?"

Scotland's claim to fame as birthplace of the F-word revealed [Brian Ferguson / The Scotsman]
500-year-old manuscript contains earliest known use of the “F-word” [Jennifer Ouelette / Ars Technica]

Image: Gareth E. Kegg / Wikimedia Commons (CC 4.0)



Joe's Violin | 2017 Oscar Nominee | The Screening Room | The New Yorker

In the short documentary “Joe’s Violin,” a Holocaust survivor donates his violin to a local instrument drive, changing the life of a schoolgirl from the nation’s poorest congressional district.