Discover more from Things I Wrote Down
A lost cookie recipe that baffled a generation, Barbie and the billionaire club, and why we're all just "lurkers" now.
3 Things and ⚡ Electric Circus ⚡an original poem
When I started my Substack newsletter, I regularly published a list of 5 Things I came across online each week. I’ve decided to bring it back. I find it a great way to be intentional, keep my eyes and ears open for interesting ideas. And, quite honestly, I love to share them with you.
A number of the newsletters I follow put together link round ups, and it’s one of my favourite types of content.
Things I Wrote Down is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
I hope these posts will be an ongoing conversation with you. I’d love to hear what you’re reading, what you’re watching, and what’s stopping you in your tracks to capture your attention. Please let me know in the comments!
I also have noticed that I have high engagement with some readers when I share original poems.
So I’m going to try something new for a season and see how it takes. Each week, along with the link round up, I’ll try sharing a poem, either brand-spanking new or from the archive, that rubs up against a themes found on the weekly list.
It’s a good creative challenge. Creating content, like comedy, is all about risk. I’d love to know if you like the format. Let me know (and don’t be shy).
Now to that list of 3 things, and towards a poem.
1. A lost cookie recipe that’s baffled a generation.
IN THE ANNALS OF FOOD and memory, I know of no story so peculiar as the mysterious disappearance—now more than three decades ago—of the Guerrilla Cookie from the shelves of Midwestern food co-ops. A confection with a cult following, it rose to popularity in Madison, Wisconsin, in the 1970s. Then, sometime around 1990, it was gone.
So begins a fascinating tale of a recipe that fed revolutionary students and cookie lovers throughout Wisconsin. (Thanks tofor drawing it to my attention).
The author, who worked for Ted Odell, the maker of the cookie, shares the story of his attempt to recover or at very least recreate the recipe. It’s a fascinating history of a the politics of the time and how Odell succeeded in taking the recipe to his grave in January 2021.
Find a place to sit, and a glass of milk, then let yourself be swept away by this story. It’s an poignant exploration of human nature, hard work, isolation and defeat, what it means to steward our “little corner of the earth” as well as the impact creativity and ingenuity have when generously shared or stubbornly withheld.
Oh, and it’s also about a cookie.
This line, near the article’s end, struck me:
He felt he had failed at something large, and so he refused to succeed at something small.
2. Barbie and the billion-dollar film club.
I haven’t seen the movie yet. I didn’t get to pull off the Barbenhiemer (sorry Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan) - and I’m even a Cineclub member!
This article from Bloomberg, on Mattel’s move to bring the crown jewel of their toy line into a live action film (after decades of consideration), is fascinating.
It was written on the eve of the film’s release. We have the benefit of hindsight and know it’s made a billion dollars and cemented Gerwig (if she had not already been) as a go-to American filmmaker.
The article explores the risks the company perceived and feared as it looked to revamp the brand, re-introduce the classic toy and explores the recent history of Barbie, including leadership bumps and bruises.
If you don’t want to jump behind the paywall to read it (you can sign up for one free article on Bloomberg to get access), you can listen to The Big Take’s episode about the article which covers most of the details.
3. Are we all just lurkers now?
The Embeddedstack recently shared the social media trend of lurking and asks the question are we all just lurkers and ghost-watchers now? “We throw up billboards” of our lives and don’t engage. With posts, in comments. But we read and read more than ever before.
I find this interesting. I’m totally implicated in the observation (and yet I also try to meaningfully engage in certain places, when I can). My interactions are most commonly likes or various emojis. We’re all cavepeople now!
Perhaps this is because the formats for platforms are designed for a quick hit of endorphin: shock, awe, laughter, anger. For me, because these are cynical times and comments are so public, it can feel invasive and it can be easy to be misunderstood. But mostly I think it’s because of the speed. We’re running past all these billboards of people’s lives at the speed of life.
So, where are people connecting? In group chats, text, email. Go figure. Same here.
But, I still invite you to comment here. It's welcome and safe.
Read the article:
A poem with dance moves none of us need to see
The poem I'm sharing today is different from the more spiritually reflective verse that I tend to share.
It's from way back in the archive. I was reminded of it as I put together the links. Social media didn't make us lurkers so much as it drew the tendency and perfected our ability in the most accessible way.
There was a show on Much Music, the Canadian MTV when I was growing up called Electric Circus. The basic premise: young people dancing to the latest hits, their self-expression their clothing and club moves. So, basically social media on old-form TV, minus the political commentary.
Perhaps the poem adds commentary to the above links. Maybe it makes you (not) want to dance.
electric circus who wants the sex-crazed dance moves to touch them all of us please invite sparkled eye makeup and gyrated lipgloss onto your floor shake at the hips hands slowly rub down to knees where they cross over and back again left/right brain signals cross rehearsed moves for camera angles our ecstasy squeezed into tube tops boys with no sleeves two lines blending as silver ball spins reflecting light shimmer on one name: dancer one word: dance camera pans over alive with it moving for it energized living is our subculture standing on speakers music only the medium bass booming dance we electrocute we entice we consummate your ballroom dreams