in: Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends: March 22, 2024

A vintage metal box labeled "Odds & Ends" with a blurred background, photographed on April 14, 2023.

Thymes Frasier Fir Reed Diffuser. Our family took a spring break trip this week, and the lodge we stayed at had this amazing, manly smell — a mixture of fir, cedar, and sandalwood. I loved it and wanted my house to smell like that, too. I asked a clerk at the hotel what the smell was, and she told me it was from a Thymes Frasier Fir Reed Diffuser. You fill a reed diffuser (a jar, essentially) with fragranced oil and then put the reeds in the diffuser, and the sticks absorb the oil and waft its scent into the air. When I got home, I immediately bought a bundle for our den. Can’t wait for our house to smell awesome. 

Books Are Cheap. Upcoming AoM podcast guest Jake Knapp makes the case that books are a bargain. They’re usually $15 to $25 each. And think about all the value you get for that money: Books synthesize months and often years of research and thinking into an accessible package. If it’s a non-fiction book, you’re likely to get one or two good ideas that can improve your life. If it’s a fiction book, it can provide hours of entertainment and might help you see the world in a different way. You can get books for free at the library, of course. But when I see a book that interests me, I don’t hesitate to buy it. It’s a great return on investment. 

The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst by David Nasaw. William Randolph Hearst created a publishing empire that spanned the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He pioneered yellow journalism and was a lightning rod figure who attracted the ire of business leaders and Theodore Roosevelt. I didn’t know much about the guy, so I picked up this tome of a biography about him by David Nasaw. I couldn’t put it down. I learned that Hearst came from money (his dad was a 49er who struck gold), a mama’s boy (he depended on his mother financially all through his life), and ran for the US House of Representatives, mayor of New York City, governor of NY, and even president of the United States (he lost all of those elections except the first, but played a huge role in transforming the Democratic Party).

There Will Be Blood. There Will Be Blood is a character study in what happens to a man who becomes ruthlessly consumed with besting his fellow man — with winning at all costs. Daniel Day-Lewis, in what may be his finest performance (though his turn in Gangs of New York comes close), at first garners the audience’s sympathy and admiration, only to invite their repugnance as he loses his humanity in the pursuit of ambition. This hauntingly-produced movie leaves a lasting impression, and it’s just as good on subsequent watchings as it is on the first. One of my all-time favorite flicks.

Quote of the Week

Measure your health by your sympathy with morning and spring. If there is no response in you to the awakening of nature, if the prospect of an early morning walk does not banish sleep, if the warble of the first bluebird does not thrill you, know that the morning and spring of your life are past. Thus may you feel your pulse.

—Henry David Thoreau

Related Posts