in: Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends: May 26, 2023

“The Purple Testament” episode of The Twilight Zone. Wednesday’s episode of the podcast about the 11th Airborne Division during WWII led me into reading this interesting article about the combat experience of Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone, which then led me to watching an episode of the classic television show I hadn’t watched before. Serling was a member of the 11th Airborne Division’s 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which lost a third of its ranks during its fighting in the Pacific. Serling, who earned the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, was haunted by his harrowing experiences after the war, and these ghosts served as indirect and direct inspiration for episodes of The Twilight Zone. As an example of the latter, the article referenced “The Purple Testament” (Season 1, Episode 19), which depicts an officer fighting in the Philippines who has gained the ability to predict soldiers’ deaths by looking into their faces. It’s a pretty good episode — especially once you know about Serling’s personal connection to the story’s backdrop.

Fighting for Life: Contest, Sexuality, and Consciousness by Walter J. Ong. Walter J. Ong was a Jesuit priest who spent his career as an academic studying and writing about how humanity’s transition from an oral to written culture changed human consciousness. In Fighting for Life, he looks at how competition — particularly male competition — shaped that process. He focuses on how the male drive for competition influenced philosophers and academics from ancient Greece through the Enlightenment to create a learning environment that was agonistic. Ong argues that after the Romantic Era, education became more feminized, and an emphasis on cooperation rather than competition began to pervade classrooms.

“Experiences Won’t Make You Happier Than Possessions.” You’ve probably heard that research has found that spending your money on experiences rather than things will lead to greater happiness. We like this kind of scientific finding; it seems “right.” But as the author of this piece convincingly explains, that finding is based on the particular (and potentially misleading) way studies on the subject have been framed, and when you look at the question from other angles, it’s not so clear that experiences are superior to possessions in the happiness-generating department. Some people may get more enjoyment from the former than the latter, and vice versa. So the conclusion is to not make your spending decisions based on pop psychology, but what you personally enjoy. 

Nutricost Creatine Monohydrate Powder. We’ve written about the benefits of creatine. Besides aiding in muscle and strength building, it can also boost cognition. It’s one of the most research-vetted supplements out there and has been shown to be effective and safe. It’s also pretty dang cheap. You don’t need any of those proprietary blend creatine powders; plain old, straight-up creatine monohydrate is perfectly effective. I’ve been using this creatine monohydrate powder from Nutricost for awhile now. It’s a good price and gets the job done.

Quote of the Week

The dead are living all around us, watching with eager anticipation how we will handle the opportunities they left in our hands when they died.

—Theodore C. Speers

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