FRESH BITS 4/24: Interesting Things to Do and Read

It’s Friday. Time for another FRESH BITS. This week, seven fresh things across a range of topics for you to read, do, or just think about, plus four bonuses. I hope they help you enjoy this weekend a little bit more.

Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long. – May Sarton

  1. Now is a good time to be more educated on food expiration dates. Are they critical? Can you go past them, and if so, by how much? This NYTimes article sheds some light on the subject. You may be surprised to learn why food products are dated.
  2. Hamlet as a Vlogger, uploading soliloquies as breakdowns? If you’re a Shakespeare fan, you may enjoy this modern adaptation of the classic on YouTube. (Free-use image via Google Images.)
  3. In honor of Earth Day, which happened earlier this week, think on this thought as we are experiencing the wonder of what happens when humans stop polluting the Earth:

    Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. – Native American proverb

  4. Escaping into nature is a great way to take your mind off you-know-what. There’s a ton of virtual tours out there, but this one on the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens’ Japanese Garden with cherry blossoms in full bloom is delightful. The virtual walk through takes 18 minutes and is full screen with sound. This historic garden, one of the country’s oldest surviving public Japanese gardens, is worth some virtual wandering.
  5. What better example of nature’s glory than in America’s own backyard and our National Parks. But, of course, we can’t actually visit any right now, so another virtual tour opportunity exists via the The Hidden World of the National Parks. Currently, nine are available and perhaps one is your favorite park you can revisit and rekindle memories, or another you’ve yet to see.
  6. I seem to be on a nature kick this week, but it was Earth Day earlier in the week so why not. The University of the Pacific scanned and made John Muir’s fascinating journals available. Some serious study opportunity for the scholar, but easier by clicking Switch View to see a descriptive link about each page spread.
  7. While Neil Gaiman, in his well-known Make Good Art commencement address, promotes making good art when times are bad, Austin Kleon has a twist on the concept (especially apt in these different times):  Make Bad Art, Too.

    “Good” can be a stifling word, a word that makes you hesitate and stare at a blank page and second-guess yourself and throw stuff in the trash. What’s important is to get your hands moving and let the images come. Whether it’s good or bad is beside the point. Just make something. – Austin Kleon



  1. What I’m reading this week: Diving into some neglected books by a favorite non-fiction brilliant mind, Rebecca Solnit. Starting back into Wanderlust:  A History of Walking. That’s something most of us can still do and is the primary outdoors therapy these days. New:  I’ll be linking to Book Depository going forward instead of Amazon. I buy most books from my local indie, but for broader reach and tapping UK/European published books, can’t beat Book Depository. Good prices, deep US (and other stock), and free U.S. shipping.
  2. What I’m watching this week: Back to an old fav, Time Team. Amazon Prime Video released more seasons/episodes, so back to my friends (I’ve watched them so much I feel they are that) the dirt diggers.
  3. What I’m listening to this week: I follow a few podcasts, but one daily listen that’s been a faithful companion for probably well over 30 years is The Writer’s Almanac. Don’t know how much longer Garrison Keilor will recored these, and perhaps they’ll go the way of Car Talk (repeat broadcasts after one of the hosts passed away). In the meantime, it’s a daily five-minute dipping into writers, writerly news, and a daily poem. Great way to start the day.
  4. Poem of the week is a healthy thing, because poetry can help us understand and cope better with so many things. Plus, a good one may just become a lifelong friend.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.

Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.

Because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Jellaludin Rumi,  translation by Coleman Barks


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