Mental Yoga Weekend is a collection of my favorite long reads I find during the course of my week scouring the internet. I save them for the weekend so my readers have a chance to sit back, take their time and read without pressure. I hope you enjoy these collections.
Favorite Long Reads of the Week
1. The Spy Who Came Home - The New Yorker
Patrick Skinner is a counter terrorism expert. He served in every hot zone around the world that the US is involved. Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, you name it. He fought for what he thought has a just cause, but the war ground him down. After many lost friends, hours on the ground, brushes with death, he finally decided to go back home and just be a regular beat cop. Then there is this little snippet on the article. “He compared his situation to that of Voltaire’s Candide, who, after enduring a litany of absurd horrors in a society plagued by fanaticism and incompetence, concludes that the only truly worthwhile activity is tending his garden.”
2. Stay Messi, My Friend - ESPN
Many of the world's top athletes have "crafted personalities and, in most cases, messages they were interested in conveying. They spoke to us. Lionel Messi, whose global presence rivals any athlete's, does not. His soundtrack, such as it is, comes from a mixture of screams and shouts, gasps and gulps, all of which emanate not from him but rather from the millions upon millions who are mesmerized by the sweet magic pouring from his feet like cake batter. This is how Messi has chosen to confront his fame. He is the quietest superstar."
3. Letter To The Golden State Killer - The New Yorker
You were a voyeur. A patient recorder of habits and routines. The first night a husband working dispatch switched to the graveyard shift, you pounced. There were four-to-seven-day-old herringbone shoe impressions beneath the bathroom window at the scene on the 3800 block of Thornwood, Sacramento. Officers noted that, standing there, you could stare into the victim’s bedroom. “Fuck me like your old man,” you hissed, like you knew how that was done. You put high heels on one girl, something she did in bed with her boyfriend. You stole bikini Polaroids as keepsakes. You stalked around with your needling flashlight and clipped, repetitive phrases, both director and star of the movie unspooling in your head.
A few months ago, Comedy Central released a video depicting the(fake) Foley art of the make-out scenes from The Bachelor: raw chicken cutlets slapped together; a man jamming his fist into a giant jar of mayonnaise. It’s not how the experts really do it, obviously — so how do they achieve the sounds of sweet, tender (or not) lovemaking for the big and small screen? We talked to several Foley artists about how they create the sounds behind sex scenes. The explanations are at once more pedestrian and more interesting than you might imagine.
Part of what humans use technology for is to better remember the past. We scroll back through photos on our phones and on Instagram & Flickr — “that was Fourth of July 5 years ago, so fun!” — and apps like Swarm, Timehop, and Facebook surface old locations, photos, and tweets for us on the regular. But sometimes, we run into the good old days in unexpected places on our digital devices.
6. I Don’t Know How to Waste Time on the Internet Anymore - Select All
The other day, I found myself looking at a blinking cursor in a blank address bar in a new tab of my web browser. I was bored. I didn’t really feel like doing work, but I felt some distant compulsion to sit at my computer in a kind of work-simulacrum, so that at least at the end of the day I would feel gross and tired in the manner of someone who had worked. What I really wanted to do was waste some time.
But … I didn’t know how. I did not know what to type into the address bar of my browser. I stared at the cursor. Eventually, I typed “nytimes.com” and hit enter. Like a freaking dad. The entire world of the internet, one that used to boast so many ways to waste time, and here I was, reading the news. It was even worse than working.