Written by

Chris Gonzales

Welcome to this week’s edition of our Friday Quality Linkage column. Please enjoy this week’s collection of interesting and entertaining links. Brew a fresh cup of coffee, find a comfortable place, and relax.

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50 Years Later, It Feels Familiar: How America Fractured in 1968 »

If you’ve ever wondered what the news of a half-century ago would look like as modern-day push notifications, The New York Times has you covered. As Tim Carmody notes, it’s “as brutal and instructive as you might expect. How would you even know what was real?”

Photo via NegativeSpace

Photo via NegativeSpace

You Make or Break Your Life Between 5–7 AM »

Benjamin P. Hardy wrote a couple thousand words on the importance of how you spend your mornings:

If you don’t prioritize and maximize your morning hours, you’ll always be left wondering what your life could have been.

You’ll never know what you could have had.

You’ll never watch yourself accelerate and advance at rates that are possible, but seem impossible.

You’ll always settle for less in your choices, relationships, eating, environment, income, and life.

Photo: Jinnie, Three Staples

Photo: Jinnie, Three Staples

Field Notes: Item Numbers »

Jinnie of the Three Staples stationery blog performed, in her own (very accurate) words, “some next-level Field Notes nerdery.” This is so right up my alley:

As my Field Notes collection grew, I started noticing these item numbers, not just on the memo books but also on other types of products from Field Notes, e.g. pin-back buttons, rubber bands, carpenter pencils, etc. It became a small detail I started looking forward to with each new offering from Field Notes, as I consider it one of their quirky charms. I also started wondering if there was any rhyme or reason to the item numbers. Like, when did they start assigning “FNC” to Field Notes COLORS editions? What’s item “FN-12”? So here I attempt to research and compile lists of all known item numbers, with some interesting observations and comments mixed in.

Via John Gruber, who adds:

The next time my wife suggests that I have a problematic Field Notes obsession, I’m going to point her to this.

Photo: Christopher Payne, The New York Times

Photo: Christopher Payne, The New York Times

Inside One of America’s Last Pencil Factories »

Over the past few years, photographer Christopher Payne made a series of visits to the General Pencil Company factory, and — after some collaboration with New York Times staff writer Sam Anderson — this delightful, Mr. Rogers-esque photo essay is the result:

In an era of infinite screens, the humble pencil feels revolutionarily direct: It does exactly what it does, when it does it, right in front of you. Pencils eschew digital jujitsu. They are pure analog, absolute presence. They help to rescue us from oblivion. Think of how many of our finest motions disappear, untracked — how many eye blinks and toe twitches and secret glances vanish into nothing. And yet when you hold a pencil, your quietest little hand-dances are mapped exactly, from the loops and slashes to the final dot at the very end of a sentence.

Photographs like these do something similar. They preserve the secret origins of objects we tend to take for granted. They show us the pride and connection of the humans who make those objects, as well as a mode of manufacturing that is itself disappearing in favor of automation. Like a pencil, these photos trace motions that may someday be gone.

Take the time to really pore over all the details in Payne’s photos. Gorgeous.

How to Write (a Blog Post) »

Michael Lopp, writing at Rands in Repose:

Repeat until it starts to feel done in your head. If it’s handwritten, type it into a computing device. When you are close to done, print it out on paper. Sit somewhere else with your favorite pen and edit your work harshly. If this piece is important, let someone else edit harshly.

John Gruber agrees:

When I’m serious about a piece, it always goes to paper at least once. […] There’s nothing magic about printing on paper and editing with a pen. To me it’s all about changing context, putting my brain in an at least slightly different mode.

So does Patrick Rhone:

Even if you write it on a computer, print it out and edit it by hand on paper. You’ll see things differently. Things that get missed on the screen. The writing will be better for having done so.

I don’t have a printer and have never considered this method of hand-editing something to be published online, but I’m fascinated by the idea.

Philly Cheese Steak Dip Recipe »

The Super Bowl is coming up, and for the occasion, Chef John of Food Wishes created this cheese steak-inspired dip that’s really more of a spread but either way will probably be a hit at your game watching party.

My only qualm is that he added all those peppers to the mix. That’s undoubtedly going to cause a stir with Philly cheese steak purists.


Neat Stuff We Published This Week

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Got any suggestions for articles, videos, stories, photographs, and any other links you think we should be posting in our weekly Quality Linkage? Please do let us know on Twitter.