A Letter to my family

Photo by jurien huggins on Unsplash

Family,

I believe that part of being a person of maturity and depth in this world is embracing blackness with all your heart. It doesn’t matter if that’s not your race. Somehow for me the phrase remains insufficiently cliche: Africa is motherland to all.

Blackness in the Americas, in my view, is not about skin color (some black people can pass for white): it’s African blood and slave ancestry.* Also, to consider yourself black I don’t think you need to have mostly African blood, as long as the African part is the most prominent (i.e…


A way to gauge racial sanity in yourself and the people around you is simply to note the reaction when you read out loud the full title of J.A Rogers’ 1965 book “The Five Negro Presidents (U.S.A): According to What White People Said They Were.” The title will seem over-the-top, like some unorthodox, self-serving definitions are being applied, or like the book peddles ‘alternative facts.’ Even the famed black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. thinks the work merits, if there were such a thing, a “Black History Wishful Thinking Prize.”

Not at all. Here’s what’s actually over-the-top: “Negro” means having…


Regardless of Job Performance

When entering a work situation, it’s important to know your odds.

After accepting a seasonal retail gig this week, I googled “what are the odds of a seasonal retail job becoming permanent?” To my surprise, I couldn’t find even a humble approximation, only tips on how to improve your odds of staying past the season.

What good is knowing how to improve your chances if you don’t know what those chances are to begin with?

The Clue

The clue I needed came by googling “seasonal retail job statistics” to find this article by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with an interactive graphic:

Go to the original article to interact with the graphic

My Method


An Emerging Response to a Problematic App

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

“Those who are really into software should make their own hardware”, said Alan Kay, Computer Scientist and Turing Award laureate. Rarely is this quote brought up in connection with the typical software user. That connection hides in plain sight: no matter how much a computer or mobile device can do, eventually you end up using it for just a handful of functions. In other words, your relationship to any machine ought to crystallize, preventing you from finding new uses for that machine. …


It’s Complicated: Lit Up & The Writing Cooperative Contest

Beach Blue Boat, a royalty free image from pexels.com/@mikebirdy

If my friend Jeremy thought I made a shotgun marriage proposal, who could blame him? I didn’t buy the ring — it came from her family — and I learned she was pregnant just weeks before I proposed. I couldn’t tell Jeremy what really happened without further spoiling our dinner at Souen Restaurant by talking about suicide while sounding strangely defensive. …


Apple Watch (left) and Patek Philippe Nautilus (right). Photograph found on Hodinkee.


The joyful simpleton wins by a mile. On what planet is it better to be worried than joyful, no matter how deep or urgent the intellectual problems of the day…


Image via Max Rudberg

How to Avoid Knee Jerk Reactions

The mock-ups above were published a month before the official launch of iPhone X this past week, based on leaks. We knew the front-facing camera and sensors would create a notch on top of the screen, but not whether Apple would hide or show this notch. Were some leaks deliberate? It’s possible Apple wanted to gradually introduce the public to the unorthodox display, avoiding knee jerk reactions after the launch.

My Verdict

Here is the final mock-up from the Apple website:


Telling stories helped get me through the worst year of my life, but when the crisis stopped, so did the telling.

Compelled to write daily by a feeling of uselessness, confusion, doubt, it didn’t matter if I made a full length video or a one-word comment on another’s work. Finding a true expression for my thought, be it in words, sounds, images, or a combination, and building community in the process, was the point.

For me narration is an arduous search for a thought’s place in the world. It’s exercise, often tougher than pull ups, with its own satisfying tautness. It’s something I can do when only a kind of forceful effort or push can at once relieve and represent life pressure.

J.J. Alduey

Writes culture, tech, and the occasional poem/short-story/drawing.

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