Hagan Blount

PlaceInvaders TableTalk Newsletter // March 23, 2018

Hagan Blount
PlaceInvaders TableTalk Newsletter // March 23, 2018

Happy weekend, Invaders! The clouds have parted and the rains have left the little once burnt, flood-threatened place we now call home, and as far as we can tell, no one was swept away. It’s also as green as anywhere you’ve ever seen in your life. Yes, we know it’s boring to brag about the loveliness of California. But damn, it is a knock out sometimes. Come visit us, y’all! Without further delay (and yes, we know this is a bit delayed), your weekly TableTalk.

The Comfort in Stockpiling Dried Beans

Last week’s Talk included a strongly worded argument for vegetarianism, so this week we’re helping you get there (or closer) deliciously. We make legume dishes all the time at The Roadhouse, and have even begun to do so to tasty outcomes sans bacon... who knew!? This is a lovely love letter to the dried bean, including tips to get rid of their tough skins (tiny raincoats). And y’all better give us a shout if you come across a copy of that 90’s cookbook called “Romancing the Bean.”

I Flew with the Next NASA Spacecraft That Will Land on Mars

Just by virtue of proximity--at least for one of us--we are becoming space nerds. How cool to hear about this sweet rig that is going to launch from mere miles from our humble household in May and make its mission to Mars? It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that we throw a damn fun rocket launch tailgate. Of course we even have a Spotify playlist.

The Bike-Share Oversupply in China: Huge Piles of Abandoned and Broken Bicycles

The variable nature of an item’s value is fun to think about sometimes. The day after Christmas in New York, some streets can be found littered with the same dead trees that were selling for $75/pop less than 48 hours ago. This astonishing photo journal chronicles the tens of thousands of very nice looking bikes that presently have a value of zero (well, more like negative value because they need to be stored) in China, due to the meteoric (and unsustainable) rise of bike sharing. We think about the times when we’ve had our bikes stolen in New York (anyone who has one has probably had it happen) and the value we’d have placed on a replacement. Where else could these bikes be distributed for the benefit of China and that locale?

Speaking as a White Male …

David Brooks has a bit of a rambling but coherent column wondering why and what it means that individual opinions are so often attributed the “groups” we belong to. Yes, it’s important to consider the source of any statement, and how each human’s experience of the world shapes their reactions to and evaluations of it. But how boring is it if our ability to have independent thought is overruled by our allegiance to thinking as part of our demographic. More and more we see the value of questions over opinions; discussions and debates over proclamations and provocations. Hagan is going through the process of deleting all his Facebook content this week, and is literally erasing 10 years of shared opinions (it's quite a lengthy process). Asking questions instead of making statements could be a great next step.

China to bar people with bad 'social credit' from planes, trains

Most people are drawing parallels with this and that best known Black Mirror episode with Bryce Dallas Howard, but the concept is better fleshed out in the book Super Sad True Love Story (which is just so happened to feature prominently into a job recruitment experience for one half of team PlaceInvaders). It also has likely been schemed up by a good number of restaurant servers, sick of mistreatment by shitty people, and motivated to mark them as such for all future servers who might encounter them. Of course we don’t think everyone should carry an aggregate score around for all to see, upon which they can be judged or denied/offered service or special treatment. But maybe sometimes we can see the merit, just for some people.