Written by

Chris Gonzales


Kieran White

Welcome to this week’s edition of our 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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Before we get to the actual links, I want to point out that our annual trifecta of holiday buying guides is complete!

🎄🎁 The 2020 Christmas Catalog: http://toolsandtoys.net/guides/the-2020-christmas-catalog/

🎅🧦 The 2020 Stocking Stuffers List: http://toolsandtoys.net/guides/2020-stocking-stuffers/

🥸🪄 The 2020 Novelty Gift Guide: http://toolsandtoys.net/guides/our-2020-novelty-gift-guide/

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🎤🎄: Leslie Odom, Jr.’s recent virtual concert for L.L.Bean is a great way to get into the holiday spirit as we count down these last five days to Christmas.


🥁🚫: …and to take you right back out of the Christmas spirit (in a silly way) is the “Little Drummer Boy” game, wherein you lose if you hear any version of that song before New Year’s Eve (if you include the ‘bonus round’). The ‘regular season’ — which ends on December 26th at 12:01 AM — is almost up by this point, but who cares? Go ahead and play! It’s all in good fun.

🗣🎼: The award for “Fun Time Waster of the Week” goes to David Li’s new “Blob Opera” experiment for Google Arts & Culture. It’s a browser-based… game, I guess?… where you control a group of harmonized opera-singing blobs:

We developed a machine learning model trained on the voices of four opera singers in order to create an engaging experiment for everyone, regardless of musical skills. Tenor, Christian Joel, bass Frederick Tong, mezzo-soprano Joanna Gamble and soprano Olivia Doutney recorded 16 hours of singing. In the experiment you don’t hear their voices, but the machine learning model’s understanding of what opera singing sounds like, based on what it learned from them.

How it works: Drag the blobs up and down to change pitch. Or forwards and backwards for different vowel sounds. Another machine learning model lets the blobs respond to and harmonize your input in real time.

Here’s what that looks like:


And here’s a little behind-the-scenes video they made:


🌮📝: 2020 has made a lot of things weird, so perhaps you won’t even bat an eye at paying $2/month for Daniel Agee’s Taco Report newsletter, wherein he’ll be eating 2,021 tacos in 2021 (that’s ~5.5 tacos a day!) and writing a weekly report about it:

A friend joked about doing a 365 project: Eating a Taco a Day. Alyse said I should dream bigger. We did the math. 2021 tacos in 2021 is 5.5 tacos a day. Which is an absurd amount of tacos. This is an absurd thing to do.

So let’s be absurd together.

Every Tuesday, I’m going to file a Taco Report to show my progress. (Taco Tuesday, get it?) Some weeks, there will be an accompanying essay attached. Or an interview. Maybe a photo gallery, I don’t know. Some weeks, it’ll just be a number and me saying how much I hate tacos.

On Twitter he answered someone about what the reports will include:

Great question — thanks for asking!

🌴Weekly & monthly taco tallies towards yearly goal.
🌴Recipes of favorite salsas.
🌴Interviews with people about other weird nonsense on the internet.
🌴 idk, essays about death and nihilism probably?

I love this bit from the About page:


I’m going to spend like $1,500 on tacos this year. I don’t feel bad charging a most minuscule premium for providing a front row seat to my pain.

😲: Be amazed by how versatile a one-note flute can be:


(The magic really starts at 2:39.)

🏯: Panic’s Cabel Sasser always does the best Twitter threads — mostly because he clearly loves going down weird rabbit holes about niche ephemera — and this one is no different.

🥃: The “spice syrup” recipe shared here is wonderful in cocktails but also adds a special holiday touch to any coffee or black tea, and would probably do well in some marinades and baked goods too.

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Neat Stuff We’ve Published Recently

  • The LOCHBY Field Journal is the perfect planner/journal/sketchbook.
  • This food chopper quickly makes consistent and uniform dices from your favorite fruits and veggies.
  • Crown Maple’s bourbon barrel-aged organic maple syrup boasts a complex and delicious flavor profile with notes of smooth vanilla, caramel, and a hint of smoky bourbon.
  • The VIOFO A119 V3 dash cam is always reliable, relatively discreet, and offers superb bang for the buck.
  • Sleek and loaded with visual interest, the Luka TV stand makes a striking centerpiece in any living room.

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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.