Just Some Great Stories I Read (And Revisited) This Month

Presented without a ton of context

Harris Sockel
Quality Red Panda
Published in
4 min readJul 25, 2022


Pedro Ribeiro Simões

I don’t know if I’ll do this again (I reserve the right to not), but I did stumble upon a few interesting things on the internet recently and thought I’d share them. And by “interesting” I mean: enlightening, entertaining, revealing, a little weird, sometimes totally normal and not at all weird, etc. The kinds of stories that make me want to immediately email them to one of my best friends with zero context (my favorite way to email links).

On Medium

Before reading this, I’d only seen those brightly lit CDC photos of monkeypox lesions (also, I knew next to nothing about monkeypox. I’m numb to pandemic headlines by now, aren’t we all?). Thanks to Kyle Planck’s detailed (and entertaining!) account, I’m a little less ignorant.

[late-00s Stefon voice] This story has everything: Failed indie rock boyz. Doughnut towers. Dropping your phone in a toilet 10 minutes before you have to be onstage. Wasted guitar players named Michael. Also, childhood dreams come true (with a twist!).

You must experience this instant classic by shirley lee 🍛🍳. It’s about chips.

Don’t ask me how I found this (it’s old and from The Hairpin, buried beneath decades of Internet Time) but I believe in it. Plus, it’s almost fall.

On the Wide Open Internets

Taste is not the same as correctness, though. To do something correctly is not necessarily to do it tastefully. For most things, correctness is good enough, so we skate by on that as the default. And there are many correct paths to take. You’ll be able to cook a yummy meal, enjoy the movie, build a useable product, don a shirt that fits. But taste gets you to the thing that’s more than just correct. Taste hits different. It intrigues. It compels. It moves. It enchants. It fascinates. It seduces.

Man Who Cares About Birds is definitely a type, but this one’s more than that: it’s about snakes, and the color blue, and dads, and kids, and kids who go to college, and birds who learn to fly. I fell in love with it by the end.

Edith is a treasure. Also, I want to move back to New York? I want a smol apartment with enchanted plumbing.

I don’t remember where I found this (Twitter? A link embedded within another blog post?) but I would like to reread it every few months. It’s true and axiomatic in a weirdly satisfying way. Also I want to highlight this part, especially the last line:

Surprising detail is a near universal property of getting up close and personal with reality. You can see this everywhere if you look. For example, you’ve probably had the experience of doing something for the first time, maybe growing vegetables or using a Haskell package… and being frustrated by how many annoying snags there were. Then you got more practice and told yourself ‘man, it was so simple all along, I don’t know why I had so much trouble’. We run into a fundamental property of the universe and mistake it for a personal failing.

My favorite part of this comes toward the end, and really isn’t about “art” or “commerce” at all:

It’s a vocation, after all, not a job — and even if we’re lucky enough to have it as our job, it’s still not a job, not really. I guess what I’m saying is that we could be as rich as Midas, sitting at a big old golden desk, with no interruptions for the next ten years, and someone bringing us healthy meals and sharpening our pencils and so on, but what makes us a writer in the moment is the state of our mind. Are we interested, curious, noticing, changing our view, always changing our view, loving the world, compelled by the beauty of language? Nothing can take those things away from us and, the truth is, nothing external can give them to us either.