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.
Devon Ivie of Vulture recently profiled Mary Ellen Matthews, the longtime official photographer of Saturday Night Live, where she’s been capturing those iconic, eye-popping “bumper” portraits of the show’s guests for the past two decades:
You’d immediately recognize a bumper if you see one. Sandwiched between the end of a commercial break and the start of a sketch or performance, they create brief moments of stillness before the action picks up again and are literally impossible to miss. But more so than a definition, bumpers are feasts for the eyes, whether the final images veer toward surrealist vibrancy or black-and-white classicism. They all tell a story — you just have to figure out what it is.
“I kind of think of them as billboards. They pop off the screen,” Matthews, a self-described “one-woman circus,” told Vulture in a recent interview. “I like to make it as easy as possible for everyone. I don’t want them overthinking this part of the show. It should be super fun and super easy. It’s an open invitation to get kooky.”
You can follow Matthews on Instagram, where she often posts her favorite portraits from the show.
Last September, Andrew Rea of Binging With Babish put out a handy primer video on various kinds of basic kitchen maintenance, from cleaning and seasoning cast iron to sharpening your knives and beyond. Now you have no excuse for letting your cooking tools fall into disrepair.
Giri Nathan of Deadspin reports back from the NYC Hot Sauce Expo and the damaged souls there (read: masochists) who for some unholy reason challenge themselves to eat as many of the hottest peppers they can, including the infamous Carolina Reaper.
If you can stomach (heh) the grosser parts of this story — mostly bodily function related — it’s an entertaining read:
Despite the pepper’s two-comma Scoville status, I figure the Reaper can’t be much worse than the war crimes I’ve previously enacted on my stomach. After warming up on a dozen sauces made with lesser anchos, ghosts, and Scotch bonnets, I decide to meet the Reaper head-on—not in a sauce, mellowed out, but in its original form. Brett, the man at the pepper farm booth, is terse. I am curious about the farm’s operations. He offers me a sliver of Reaper as if to end the conversation. It arrives on a tiny plastic spoon, thin red skin and a few seeds, roughly the size of a big toenail. I plop it into my mouth and chew. “That’s hot,” I say. “Hottest pepper in the world,” he replies, walking away, well aware of what he has just done. The first five seconds are floral, even a little sweet. It would be dishonest to describe the “taste” after that point with any word besides “oblivion.” A spoon of boiling oil has been tipped down my gullet. Well after I’ve swallowed, someone keeps pouring in more spoons.
I love videos like this. I’ve always felt that this was always the true purpose of YouTube: bringing us all together to watch simple, satisfying tutorials most of us will never use but we enjoy them anyway.
I’d love to try out this colorful floating “trampoline” installation in a Parisian shopping mall.
Our pal and longtime contributor Tyler Hayes has been working on a summer 2019 playlist to accompany you by the pool and elsewhere in the coming months, just like he did last year. Fantastic choices all around.
I recommend signing up to his Liisten music newsletter, where he’s always making great new music recommendations. It’s just five bucks a month to get access to the full archive and all new posts going forward.
[Video:] James Hoffmann, one of my favorite coffee YouTubers, put out his ultimate hand grinder showdown the other day. We’ve done a fair amoung of nerding out about grinders ourselves around here, so you can imagine how quickly I hit the play button on this when it popped up in my feed.
Curious about that hero photo above I chose for today’s linkage column? It was taken by Andrew McCarthy, who used two cameras to take nearly 50,000 images of the night sky, then stacked and pieced them together to make an 81-megapixel image of the moon. Makes a fantastic wallpaper, that’s for sure.
Neat Stuff We Published This Week
- Guide: Our Gear Guide for Better Sleep 😴🌙
- Manifesto on the fiery sauces of Asian cuisine and how you can make them at home: Red Hot Kitchen by Diana Kuan
- Never be without chopsticks again: Hawk Zing Foldable Portable Chopsticks
- Control your pour-over coffee extraction: Bonavita Immersion Coffee Dripper
- An everyday writer that makes for a beautiful conversation starter: TWSBI ECO Limited-Edition “Transparent Orange” Fountain Pen
- Get your underarm situation under control, without chemicals: Brothers Artisan Oil All-Natural Magnesium Deodorant
- The all-new version of an awesome RSS app: Reeder 4 for Mac and iOS
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.