in: Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends: September 29, 2023

In memory of Sherman Ray. Sherman Ray was my tailor here in Tulsa. He passed away last Sunday at the age of 102. Sherman had an interesting life: he learned the craft of tailoring when he was a boy in Poland, survived the Holocaust, and wound up in Oklahoma, where he started a thriving shop from which he made custom suits for oil executives and lawyers. He worked at his shop every day for over 50 years, even as he approached the century mark in age, until COVID shut the world down. A few years ago, we made a little film about Sherman’s life. It’s really good — I highly recommend watching!

Civility: Overrated or Underrated? I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Alexandra Hudson about her forthcoming book, The Soul of CivilityLook for the episode to drop here in a few weeks. In the meantime, Alexandra is hosting a free online forum on October 9 to discuss civility in the 21st century. Slated speakers include Tyler Cowen, Jonathan Haidt, and Francis Fukuyama.

“How Modern Life Killed the Hobby.” Hobbies are things you do for the joy of doing it. They allow you to experience the richness of leisure, which the ancients believed was a key to a fulfilling life. But fewer people seem to be into hobbies, not only because screens have taken up more and more of our free time, but because they’re so easy to instrumentalize in the modern day. As this article from The Independent explores, it’s tempting to share your hobby on social media, but there are dangers to doing so. Its incentives push people to do their hobby, to perform their hobby, to garner likes rather than for the sake of the activity itself. Pretty soon, sponsors start calling. The hobby is making money. What was once a hobby is now a side hustle. 

If you’re looking for a hobby to do for kicks, we’ve got 75+ hobby ideas here.

From Here to Eternity by James Jones. I read From Here to Eternity a few years ago at my father-in-law’s suggestion. It’s one of his favorite books. I really enjoyed it. It’s set in Hawaii during the few months leading up to Pearl Harbor. It’s a great story that explores themes like bureaucracy, conformity, love, betrayal, and social status. The movie adaptation from 1953 happens to have made it onto our top 100 movies for men list too, so be sure to check that out as well. 

Quote of the Week

There is nothing more to be esteemed than a manly firmness and decision of character. I like a person who knows his own mind and sticks to it; who sees at once what, in given circumstances, is to be done, and does it.

—William Hazlitt

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