Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Swarm season in Florida and why no medical cures from big pharma

It's that time of the year when honey bees split their hives and search for a new home. And a favorite location of local bees are the plants and trees surrounding our home. We recently caught several swarms that we relocated to our Florida Bee Farm. Honey bees are fascinating and I love sitting outside their hives watching them come and go.Last night the leader of our local beekeeping group said she just found several of her hives with most of the bees dead inside and on the ground. Something to consider when thinking of spraying your plants with pesticides which may get carried back to bee colonies.

Our Florida Bee Farm is an acre of land with a small house and a beautiful Banyan tree where we grow organic fruits, vegetables and flowers. The garden shed is solar powered and runs an irrigation system dispensing captured rain water. Bees even have their own flower garden. Building things, growing plants and interacting with nature is good for the soul. There's a goat, butterflies, birds, bee hives and the magic cat. When the magic cat was a kitten she was taken by a hawk into the air and dropped. Her back was cut by the hawk's talons and patched by a neighbor with superglue. To this day you can't pet her back but hawks leave her alone.

With all our advanced technology why don't pharmaceutical companies develop cures for chronic illness instead of only drugs to control symptoms? Because they're in business to make money.

When I was 30 I contracted severe chronic asthma and for many years struggled to breathe despite seeing many doctors. They all told me I would have asthma forever, always needing expensive drugs and inhalers. My asthma was often out of control and I almost died several times. A pharmacist friend found research by Dr. David Hahn in Wisconsin relating severe asthma to the bacteria Chlamydia pneumoniae (cp). I contacted Dr. Hahn and used his long term antibiotic treatment to eradicate the bacteria. A year later I was 100% cured and still am 20 years later. It was a miracle after years of suffering.

In 2002 I built the asthmastory website out of gratitude and to spread the word to help others get better. Originally, I naively believed Dr. Hahn's research would be a miraculous breakthrough and a cure derived from his research would soon be available to all. Despite researchers around the globe studying the asthma/cp link, a cure is still not offered within medical guidelines despite the fact that the method is not much different than a treatment doctors prescribe for acne. More research still needs to be done but as I get older I realize the only way it will ever be funded is if I win the lotto. Cp has been linked to heart disease and some think it could be the cause of ALS, MS, CFS, and Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The asthmastory website is dated and needs to be modernized to play better with mobile devices so I'm struggling with a complete overhaul and new design. Any tips appreciated.

Hug often and tell those close to you that you love them. The last thing we said and heard from our son Paul before he unexpectedly died was “love ya” and we exchanged hugs and said goodbye. You never know when that day will arrive.

Favorite book – “Many Lives, Many Masters” by Brian Weiss.
The book “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer is one reason my wife and I are vegetarian.

Hello to Brigid Chase (originally from Traverse City, MI)

Jim Quinlan
Clearwater, Florida

Monday, March 30, 2015

Second Half of the 20's

When you're 16, you can't wait until you're an "adult" because life will be so much easier. You'll have a job and money. You'll be able to stay up as late as you want! Now that I'm 26, things aren't much different. I can't stay up all night, because I have a real job and real responsibilities. It's not easier because now you have to make real decisions that affect the rest of your life. It is super lots more fun, though!

Quick bio:
Since graduating college in 2010, I traveled around some of Asia and Europe. I've lived in Thailand, Georgia, and the Czech Republic. I taught English to kids ages 3-25 at different points in time. I came back to that states, got my real teaching certification in Texas, and began working as a Geography teacher at a high school - NOT what I expected. Now I've just applied to online grad school to get my MBA.

My original goal was to be a Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State working at some foreign embassy. I thought I'd be doing that by now.
My current goal is the get my MBA, combine it with my BA of International Relations and work at some awesome non-profit organization, or big shot company that works internationally.
Keep travelling!

I'm going to South America this summer. I realized it would be nearly 2 years since I've gone anywhere, and that just won't due. I bought a ticket to Quito, Ecuador and this time I have a travel partner going with me! It will be a short two week trip, but I'm SO excited to go!

Final Rant:
Public school of Texas will be the death of intelligence for the youths. Between the curriculum, the testing, the constant nagging to try new tactics and requiring them to be present in every lesson, and not being able to tell kids they're being an absolute moron without getting in trouble, I just see a negative trend in education. Not that telling a kid that they're being a moron will make them smarter, but it certainly helps make the job interesting. *Please note the sarcasm about the moron part*.

That's about all I've got. Good Day!

Houston, TX

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Happy Pesach!

What great news to open my entry to Listserve Lotter Winners' Circle on my birthday! (48)

I live near the Hague in a lovely old university town, but I grew up in California. Most years around this time of year my wife and I visit family in Maryland for what we call Camp Pesach. When I was younger, we'd celebrate Passover with my mother's parents, her three siblings, as many of our cousins in that part of the family who could make it (and as most lived on the east coast, this was really just an issue for my sister, my parents, and me). Last night over shabbat supper, my Aunt Karen recounted what was essentially my grandmother's dying wish, that we continue to gather as a family, and not slip away from one another. So each year, Bobe's four children, their spouses, her eight grandchildren and their spouses and children gather in a big house on Chesapeake Bay. It's 28 of us this, the 20th, year of Camp Pesach. (For a variety of reasons we're gathering a little early - we allow such concessions as we're gathering from two coasts, two continents, and three or four states now.)

Back in the early days of this celebration, my sister and I compiled a Haggadah (the book of prayers and stories and songs that make up the Passover seder) for the family in small ring binders so that we could add new material, family photos, and so forth. This year she asked me and my uncle Dana for poems to add. I gather that his runs to four pages, mine to 18 lines:

Wandering, we pitch our tent again,
Gathering, our clan, about the flames,
Reclining, kings and queens, before the feast.

Ancient histories and new,
Far loved ones and near,
Recount - It would have been enough,
Shankbone, orange, and charoset,
Blood and frogs and bitter herbs.
Who knows one, I know one little goat.

We drove a stake into the desert
(For we did these things,
our grandparents, our aunts and cousins,
Twenty generations back or twenty days.
All at once, all of us)
We poked a stick into the desert floor.

Taking root, a willow, branch and leaf,
An oak, a spreading chestnut,
Under which we spread our feast.

And some recommendations:
I blog irregularly about politics and music on WordPress at JoeJots.
Music: In the moment, I'm listening to Louis Armstrong's Hot Fives and Hot Sevens which is some great early jazz.
Literature: I'm rereading James Baldwin's Go Tell It On The Mountain which is one of my favourite novels. If you enjoy horror fiction, I recommend Red Phone Box from Ghostwoods Books (disclaimer: I contributed a couple of its chapters).

May the springtime treat you all well.

Joe Silber
Leiden, The Netherlands

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Ro-Sham-Bot by Effie Seiberg (Originally published in Ligh...

by Effie Seiberg
(Originally published in Lightspeed Magazine)

I found a robot’s heart today. I didn’t think they still made robots
with hearts, but there it was, at the corner of Leary and Sycamore. It
even looked like a heart: size of a fist, valves pulsing with pale
ching ching noises each time they opened and shut. The metal was old
and worn.

I took it home and plugged it into my computer. It had a few jumbled
videos—the way older robots used to store memories.

I sorted by number and began to watch.

The first video was in a warehouse. Lines of identical, still robots,
presumably the same old-fashioned model as the one whose heart I’d
found. The field of vision jerked to the left and found another robot
looking straight at it. The other robot smiled, and glanced downwards.
The camera followed it and saw the other robot’s hand clenched in a
fist. One, two, three times it bobbed the fist up and down, and then
extended two fingers. Rock, paper, scissors. The camera then captured
its own robot hand reaching forward to join the game. Scissors beat
paper. Paper beat rock. A wider robot smile. None of the other robots

I clicked to the second video. Same warehouse. An operator in white
QA-tested each robot. They all stayed very still. The robot to the
left flashed a silly face, and the camera jiggled in suppressed
laughter. The operator approached, and the camera snapped forward.

The next video was in a factory on a moving conveyer belt. The robot
to the left was about to get tied into cushioned packaging. It already
had the manual for “Personality-free Chore-Bot” nestled in its arms.
It looked up and said, “Shouldn’t you buy me dinner before you tie me
up?” The startled operator hit the alarm. Red flashing lights flooded
the factory floor, and a mechanical voice said “Faulty Chore-Bot.
Remove for destruction.” As the robot to the left was removed, the
camera swiveled forward and was still.

The fourth video was in a living room. Children played on the carpet
as a middle-aged couple unpacked the robot. “This should be the
perfect model for us,” said the man. “None of that personality module
nonsense. It can start by keeping the deer away from the tomato patch.
Go on now, go outside.” The camera swung from the door to the
children, who were playing rock, paper, scissors, then back to the
door and headed out.

I hoped I wouldn’t see the man disassembling the robot in a later video.

The next several videos were in the garden, in different seasons. The
camera patrolled around the tomatoes. Sometimes heavy and ripe,
sometimes hard green buds. Sometimes the camera would look through the
back door, like it was waiting for a glimpse of the playing kids.
Sometimes, the man would shoo it away. I scanned through these pretty

I clicked to the last video, which was in the garden at night. Nothing
to guard against. The robot’s hands went through the motions. Rock,
paper, scissors. Rock, paper, scissors. Over and over, until finally,
the camera looked down and the hands unscrewed the robot’s breastplate
and reached in. The video went blank.

I unplugged the heart and took it to the workbench in my garage. I
dusted off my spare chassis and brought it over. The heart looked like
it would fit inside perfectly. My daughter always loved Rock Paper

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0 US) 2014 Effie Seiberg
effieseiberg (dot) com

Effie Seiberg
San Francisco

Friday, March 27, 2015

Leaving the Line

I opened up to life, and now life has opened up to me in return.
Just last night I was in a café, sharing my most inner thoughts with an acquaintance from high school who I hadn’t seen in a while. We were inspired by a “social study” that we read about in the NY Times, titled To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This. In the study, two strangers are placed in a room and ask each other a series of increasingly personal questions. We decided to try it out for ourselves.

Two enlightening & emotional hours later, we reached the final question of the study:

‘Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it.’

I felt a lump in my throat grow as I tried to verbalize the thoughts whose only other location have been at the back of my mind.

“I think I have a good life… and for the most part I do what I want that makes me happy… but it feels like there’s always something in my brain that feels… trapped. It’s telling me to do more, explore more, be more…I almost feel like I can’t breathe…but I don’t know what to do about it.”

My heart raced in fear of expressing so much vulnerability. He gave me a quite notable response, as follows:

I see life like a nightclub. There’s the main entrance, where you wait in line, along with 99% of the other people trying to get into the club, and hope that the bouncer chooses you to get in. The second entrance is for privileged people, who get in because they’re celebrities etc. What most people don’t realize is that there’s a third way inside…

The third way is leaving the long line and running through the alley, banging on the back door, sneaking through the windows, doing anything you can to enter. The scariest part; however, is not going through this unfamiliar territory, but rather leaving the main line that you have already been waiting in for so long.

The main entrance is the line that I have been in my entire life, and it seems most of society is there too.

I am a 21-year-old business student, and until recently, I have been in this line- waiting patiently in line to enter the nightclub. My future plans consisted of securing a “respectable” internship for the summer that would turn into a practical full time job, graduating school on time, and having my career laid out for me. That’s true happiness… right?
I am slowly learning that the “I’m trapped” voice in the back of my head doesn’t believe that’s the right way to go.

Today, as I write this email, I have just arrived to an unfamiliar hotel, in a strange town, with someone who, yesterday, was merely an old acquaintance, but now is a friend. He convinced me to “get out of line” and go on an unknown adventure with him.
So here I am, ditching class during the week (which I never do), taking a spontaneous trip to an unknown town (which I never do), feeling scared, nervous, and excited, but mostly free. I’ve decided to take some time off of school, make my own adventures, and find what makes me feel permanently free. (Any suggestions?!)

I guess in my own, small-scaled, cheesy way, this morning I decided to run out of the line and into the alley, in search of the third entrance.

Ashley Sadighpour
Los Angeles

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Of Accents and Being

Dear awesome humans,

I want to start by telling you that you are loved.

I don’t know what your life is like right now, nor do I need to. The only thing you need to know is that despite what you may be thinking, you are most definitely loved, appreciated, and treasured. You matter.


When I saw “You’ve won the Listserve!” in my inbox, I thought how clever an idea it was to punk 25,000 people by having that as a Listserve submission. Then I opened the mail and realized – holy mackerel, I actually won The Listserve!

No pithy life advice, no memoirs, just a clarion call for others out there like me.

I was born in Asia and spent all my life there before living 18 months in the States on a study abroad-cum-internship program. I vowed early on that I would not do the FOB thing and thus embraced arms-open lips-puckered all that the beautiful state of Washington had to offer me: its people, its culture, its eternal rain.

The result of all those months engaging Americana? A blended accent, blended enough that people in my country of origin believe I sound American, while I and other Americans know it’s a little right of center at best.

Have you ever lived somewhere for a long time, had your accent evolve, and then come back to a society that judges you for it?

Anyone who has been abroad for extended periods will know that accent shifts happen naturally, and, sometimes, irreversibly. Some maintain the ability to code switch between their evolved and original accents; others can’t. I belong to the latter.

I hold no shame for my blended accent; the way we speak is an integral part of our personality and I’ve become a more outspoken, confident person as a result. I thoroughly embrace it as a part of me that has changed and evolved with the experiences I’ve opened myself to. But many people in my country don’t see it that way: I’ve had revulsion, confusion, and mockery for “trying to change my accent” because I can’t code-switch back.

I’m an egotistical douchebag so I usually don’t let it get to me, but I would be lying if I said I’ve been totally impervious to some of the things I’ve heard. You don’t realize how personal your accent is until you spend days in a slump because someone gave you crap for the way you speak.

The odd part of this is that I have good days, where I mentally occupy the same space I did while living in the States and am suave charismatic and eloquent, and really off days where I exist in an obfuscating limbo where I struggle to say even the most basic of sentences and become a blubbering mess. It is something I have no control over and it’s given me anxiety in both my personal and professional life. Sometimes it is limiting when I want to express myself and am unable to say it in a manner congruent with my manner of speech. Cognitive dissonance in the extreme?

My plea – I want to hear from others like me. Maybe you were judged for having an evolved accent, or perhaps you too lost your ability to code switch and you share my struggle of good/off days. Send me an email. I want to connect with you.

Or perhaps you’re a speech pathologist and can diagnose the above-mentioned problem. If so, I really really want to hear from you.

Or maybe you’re someone in the US looking for an extremely capable and talented individual willing to work his butt off at whatever cost. I’m an honors graduate, 2 years in the banking industry with easily transplantable skills a fervent desire to follow my destiny and work in the US. Hire me! (For real, CV readily available on request.)

Some closing thoughts:

Everyone should try salsa/social dance
Walk up and talk to that girl you see at the bar/coffee shop/street
Manage your finances properly and start saving from a young age

Leonard H

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Not to be a Debbie Downer but

Pick a number between 1 and 500.

In rare moments I become aware, deep in my bones or at least somewhere that is not in my brain, of a fundamental truth so overwhelmingly important that it really should derail me: the fact that we are meaningless; that there is this something called "existence" here floating around, and that I and everyone around me is constructed haphazardly and magnificently out of this something for no particular or general reason, an accident of time and fundamental forces and particles being pushed together/apart. This is a realization of the fact that we are not only nothing but in fact a nothing that is utterly crushed by itself, meaningless on a cosmological scale that dwarfs all of our daily actions and routines.

These moments sometimes come to me on the packed train in to work, cramped into a tiny space with far too many other people, all of us silently and conspicuously traveling together toward presumed lives we are leading. I want to ask the other people, right there on the subway car, whether they have considered on introspective nights the same questions I have, whether they have asked themselves to what end they find themselves here or anywhere, whether they are aware that they will eventually be utterly forgotten. We will be forgotten on both the cosmological scale, as a simple bizarre occurrence in a universe of matter that has no special place for such statistical anomalies; but we will also be forgotten by our own people, with the exception of a few chosen for remembrance past their lifetimes. (Consider how much you know about any one of your 64 great-great-great-great grandparents, and you’ll have an idea of whether any of your descendants will remember you 150-200 years from now.) I wonder if the other people on the train know this, whether any of them are, like I am, struggling with how we respond to and move beyond this understanding, how we can learn to be conscious of this and still reconcile our hopes and goals and bills to pay and I-need-to-pick-up-milk’s. How many of the train-riders have never considered it; how many are in denial; how many have found the personal answers that work for them?

I believe we can find some grand peace in accepting the universe in its simple being-ness (who could blame it?), and that Buddhist and other similar worldviews are all about tackling these issues. But still I have not left my day job and my hobbies, and still my mind wanders for large stretches away from these major issues. I want to teach myself to incorporate these thoughts into my waking daily interactions with the universe, but I’m not there yet. And that’s okay, for now.

I’m working my way toward it, and I know others are on parallel paths. So I guess I just want to say: hi! to the other little pockets of self-awareness out there. And to say that for now I take comfort in the perhaps-naïve thought that there is some power in saying “no!” to the infinite nothing, that we all still have the agency to say “I will continue to read my books and learn to draw and get to work on time, and if the universe wants to belittle me it can go f**k itself because I’m doing it anyway”, and maybe we can find truth in that simple decision to exist consciously. Or at least we can have some fun doing it.

Your number is 127.

I exist and would love to hear from ya.

Hakuna your tata,


Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Hi fellow listservers, just a shout out to you about flying potatoes and happy mondays ! Check out your white feathers indicators more often than not. Srsly ?? Yes, dead seriously, sincerely yours. P.S. Keep posting

France, near Paris

Monday, March 23, 2015

I collect hobbies.

Like Penelope in The Brother's Bloom, I collect hobbies.

Penelope Stamp: I collect hobbies. I see someone doing something I like, and I get books and learn how to do it.

If you'd like to give it a go, here are some recommendations:

Dabbler--a monthly email newsletter featuring a new hobby or interest and informtation about how to get started. Become a Digital Volunteer for the Smithsonian Institution-- Transcribe journals of some of history's great minds.

Listen carefully when someone talks about their passion--Especially if they start with "This may sound boring, but..."

KipKay--learn to build a new gadget or electronics project every month.

Read old handbooks and pamphlets--I especially enjoyed the first edition of the Boy Scout Manual.

Please email if you'd like to tell me about your hobbies or passions or favorite books. I love learning new things.

Thanks for all of the interesting emails, fellow members.

South Korea

Sunday, March 22, 2015

We belong to each other

A young boy asks a wise man, "What is heaven and hell like? Is it true that hell is full of hot flames and heaven is filled with soft clouds?" The wise man answered, "In hell, there is a big, round table with a banquet of delicious food. Around the table are frail, emaciated people staring hungrily at the food for they have eating utensils tied to their hands that are three meters long leaving them unable to feed themselves."

The boy asks, "If that is what hell is like, then what is heaven like?" The wise man replies, "In heaven there is also a large, round table with a delicious banquet served. The people sitting around it also have long utensils tied to their hands, but everyone is well fed and happy. This is because in heaven, people feed one another across the table."

A special thank you to George Russell who wrote the Listserve some time ago and shared a documentary he created about the high school kids in my hometown of Compton, CA (Teaching and Learning in Compton on youtube). I saw some kids and teachers I knew, the Listserve is incredible!

I wish you all well. Keep being amazing humans.

San Francisco, CA

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Build your world.

"The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." -William Gibson.

Three months ago, I left my job. My “big” west coast tech company job. I started to feel like I was getting further and further away from my dream and that scared me. I was tired. Tired of the company and the culture it fostered. Against family and friend’s persistent advice, I left without another job lined up.

I wanted to travel, I wanted to spend some time detached and thinking about my next move and I wanted to see family and friends. I needed to see family and friends. It was an incredible month. I visited San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Philadelphia, Ann Arbor and finally, home. Oh man, was it good to be home…

My mini hiatus ends…I head back to Seattle with a choice: Move forward or else. I remember my first morning back, feeling a pit in my stomach, thinking, “Ok, this is it. Its time to make something happen.” I started creatively applying to companies, trying to get in the door, trying to get an interview. Simultaneously, I started working through this thought: Why are some businesses so far behind with technology and operations and how do they survive?

Both moved slow, but forward nonetheless. I received a few interviews and the thought turned into a project that I called On To Space. I realized that many businesses across the country need help migrating parts of their business online and using technology tools and platforms but just don’t know where to go or what to ask. I plan to use On To Space to help those businesses, those people. My goal is to open my lines of communication and welcome businesses to reach out to start the conversation about questions and problems, big and small. Through this project, I have really started to believe that most the solutions are out there; they just need to be presented more efficiently.

I am excited for whatever comes next. I am just a Midwestern kid from Youngstown, OH trying to figure it out. I’d love to hear your story and welcome any advice on my situation and project.

This is an incredible community and I am proud to be a part of it.

All the best.

Chris Daprile
personal: cdaprile2[AT]gmail.com
work: c2[AT]onto.space

P.S. Nothing is accomplished alone. Thx crozzzzzman, VQ, BE, and AR.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Threads of Absorbing Activity

I am 73 years old, an officially "retired" educator. Many of my activities, however, answer a Buckminster Fuller question, paraphrased as, "What in my community needs doing that I know something about, which probably won't happen unless I take responsibility for it?"

The things I "know something about" are mostly related to communication, which I taught (at KU), and which I enjoy applying--as a volunteer--to a wide range of activities. If these activities interest you, too, I'll suggest some Google terms to check out (no specific links allowed on the ListServe). They include:

a) Offering classes and workshops in our local (Yavapai College) Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), sometimes on communication-related topics, but also on other themes that interest me (1-2 per term). (For example, this year it's been "Transpartisan Dialogue," "Stories in Thought and Talk," "The Best of TED Talks," "Creativity in Everyday Life," and "Broadening and Deepening Mindfulness." ) (Google "ollisedonaverde")

b) Facilitating this summer at OLLI: 1) a "Shakespeare Festival" - we'll watch, at each session, a PBS video and discuss a few powerful soliloquies from each play (Google: "PBS Shakespeare Uncovered") and 2) "Big History" - we'll watch and discuss David Christian's curriculum, funded by Bill Gates. (Google: "Big History Project")

c) Coordinating a community mediation program that offers free assistance to local residents in resolving disputes they can't work out on their own. (Google: "City of Sedona Mediation Services")

d) Holding programs and discussions that bring together people across the political spectrum--using the "Living Room Conversations" process, and setting a "world record" by hosting 21 LRC programs around town during October, 2014. (Google: "Sedona Living Room Conversations on Vimeo")

e) Helping our city government implement a new civic engagement program. (Google: "Sedona Citizen Engagement Program")

f) Helping to coordinate a "24-Hour Theater" program once a year, in which Sedona writers, directors, actors, set designers, and song writers, create and stage four 10-minute plays within a 24-hour period. (Google: "24 Hour Theater in Sedona, AZ on Vimeo")

g) Facilitating classes at our local synagogue using instructional materials created by The Teaching Company (Google: "The Great Courses" ). Also, writing, directing, and performing in an annual musical version of the "Purim" story, each year inserting different pop, Broadway, etc. songs throughout. (Google: "Sedona JCSVV")

h) Contributing to a local group I helped start, called "Integral Sedona," based on the ideas of Ken Wilber. (Google: "Integral Sedona")

i) Serving, over the past ten years, as a "Destination Speaker" on about a dozen cruise ship itineraries. (Google: "Sixth Star Entertainment")

j) Connecting often with my family--my wife and I have six children and nine grandchildren.

Perhaps we have an interest in common, or this list sparked an interest you will pursue. May you, too, be engaged in a variety of enjoyable, meaningful adventures along your path through life!

Paul G. Friedman
Sedona, AZ

Thursday, March 19, 2015

5 things, 2 questions

1: I'm the only oldest (old-ER, even) child in my entire immediate family– my mom, dad, brother, and all four grandparents are the youngest children in their families. Call me indecisive, call me a walking contradiction, but growing up as an Oldest surrounded by Youngests has given me a weird set of ways.

2: Most of the time, I'm walking the fuzzy line that separates a lot of things: homebody/socializer, independent/needy, afraid/confident, friendly/awkward, thinker/doer. And a lot more. I took an enneagram personality test once (I'm a type Six) that summed it up perfectly: No matter what is said about a Six, the opposite is often true.

3: Moms. My favorite thing about mine is that I didn't even realize until I left for college that a lot of the words she uses aren't… common? The first time I referred to a pilling sweater as "nubby," it was obvious my family's vocabulary didn't match most people's. My grandma used to call our cat a "britzer," which is not a thing, so I know where my mom gets it from. It's very endearing.

4: Small towns can be so charming! They have a story, a past, and their inhabitants are there to tell you about it. Antique store owners, volunteer firefighters, things like the annual Strawberry Festival, that cat that's always around– they're the heart and soul of the place.

5: I've been working for a fair trade clothing company for two years now, but I'll admit that before I started, I easily forgot that humans make clothing. Hands made what you're wearing right now. Fingers pushed that seam through a sewing machine, and with International Women's Day right around the corner, wouldn't you like to know that those fingers belong to a woman who's paid fairly and works in a safe environment? And can in turn provide for her family? The fair trade community is the small town of the garment industry– search for Mata Traders and you'll see what I mean.

But enough about me: if you want to tell me 1 or, hey, even 2 of the following things, email me at tellmelotsofthings[AT]gmail.com.
I want to know:

1: Your favorite small towns (and why). I grew up in one and I want to visit more– international small towns appreciated, as long as they'll welcome me.

2: Your favorite thing about your mom. Also accepted: a specific story OR over-arching great-thing about your mom OR grandma, aunt, friend, doesn't matter. I like focusing on the good parts of people and I'd love to hear what you have to say about a lady in your life.

Thanks for listening.

Katie G.
Chicago, IL

P.S. My blog/work site is called Blueberry English. You know how Google works, so go for it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I couldn't be luckier...

In the last year I have lost, the company I started, my best friend, my business partner, a lot of friends who sided with him in what I call, "the great divorce," and a lot of respect for an industry I so loved.

Let me back up... I started a small winery with my two best friends. It was amazing...at first. Then, it became apparent that one had to go. (See also: stealing, lying, over all assery).

A couple years later, at a point when we were at our most successful, our investors decided... along with my best friend and co-founder, to vote me out. (See also: Greed)

So then why am I so lucky, well dear friends, and I do truly mean dear friends, because I read each and every one of these emails with care and great admiration.I am so lucky because I hit the surprise, unplanned, genetic lottery, without which I might not have survived the last year. (See also: Charlotte June, we call her Charlie)

Last August, I received a text, from a friend that I worked with at a restaurant who I hadn't heard from in over a year. The exact words escape me but the gist was, I think you should take a paternity test. (See also: One, and I do mean one, lonely night a few years ago we went out, had some drinks and 20 some odd months later this text.)

The next few weeks were a blur of worry and shame and searching. But I took the test. The results; father hood. I wrote an email to my family (except my parents, I flew home to tell them) explaining the circumstances. I would like to share an excerpt from that email: 'I want to thank everyone and anyone reading this, whether I sent it to you, or someone close that we share forwarded it as requested for your love and support during my life. You all are the reason why I feel comfortable enough as a human to bestow all that I am and have learned on another little person. I know my life is now drastically different and each day will come with a new challenge whether small, like now answering my phone "Hi, Aunt Laura," instead of cousin Laura, or coordinating the sleep schedule of a toddler in advance of a cross-country trek to Northern Indiana in the dead of summer. I invite you all to join in on the conversation, and feel free to ask me absolutely anything without reservation, as this will in some way, small or large, affect you all now as well.'

The next day, I picked her up, started an Instagram to chronicle the journey (all of you are invited to join in: @cjsilliman) and began to learn everything Charlie had to teach me.

So why share this intimate and possibly embarrassing story with 25,000 strangers? (Except for you Lex Friedman, I've heard your voice for years) Because I want you all to know that you are only given what you can handle, and I really can't stress that enough. You are strong enough to conquer what you are faced with, what you have been dealing with, what ails you and keeps you up at night. Just the fact that you are here, reading this, means you care, means you strive for something more, and new and different. And life doesn't give a shit about your plans, and it shouldn't. Because you can't plain perfection, and I honestly believe that's what you are and life is.

Thanks for taking the time and welcome to the family. Go follow her journey, and mine.

Thank you (See also: I love you)

Bo Silliman
Napa, CA

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Best Part About Being A Teacher, To Me

My name is Adam. I am 28 years old and I was born in Maryland, USA. I studied Criminal Justice at Penn State University and graduated in 2008. Then I spent my early 20's living abroad in Spain, China, Argentina, and Brazil. Three years ago I settled in San Francisco, California and became an English teacher.

I would liken my (or, the ubiquitous) first year teaching experience to learning how to swim by method of being chucked mercilessly into a frigid, choppy, bottomless ocean. And as you drift away, excited to learn or just terrified, you’re not sure which, you barely hear the last words of encouragement you’re going to hear in what will feel like eternities: "Swimming's easy! You'll figure it out eventually! Careful not to drown first! And watch out for the Sharks!”

The students call me Mr. Hurwitz and I hear my name ALL day – both a point of pride and an enormous burden.

I teach 6th grade English at a large public middle school in Oakland, California. Monday through Friday from 8am to 3pm, I'm in a classroom with 32 11 and 12 year olds. Right now we're reading The Giver by Lois Lowry and we are loving it. We read a couple chapters together, then we discuss, or we write, or both. Rinse and repeat. For the complete recipe, add:

-Google Chromebooks and nifty educational websites (Schoology, Flocabulary, Quizlet, NoRedInk, TypingClub)

-stickers, stamps, and letter grades

-handwriting practice (seriously, every now and then, they LOVE it)

-music (we bump Spotify in class whenever possible)

-physical movement (A LOT)

-SSR (Sustained Silent Reading, 27 minutes every day after lunch)

and of course...

-laughs, smiles, tears, bandaids, ungodly amounts of kleenex and hand sanitizer, pencil shavings and eraser crumbs, and forgotten sweatshirts

To me, the best part about being a teacher is feeling needed so much...

... By all the students, who need knowledge and discipline and fun and praise and love and support and empathy in order to grow into healthy, happy adults who serve their community.

... By the single student, one in tears because her backpack and lunch bag stolen were from her locker, or one who has trouble making friends, or one who wants me to help her with the book she wrote, or even one who just needs attention so bad because no one at home hugs him, so he stomps around the classroom.

... By a parent, who shows up to my classroom on the verge of tears 45 minutes after I message her to say that her son, who I know well, isn’t focusing in class and is directing some disrespectful language towards me.

... By my colleagues, with whom I share the same students who excel, the same students who struggle, the same physical space, the same lesson plans, the same passion for exhausting and challenging and fulfilling work, the same coffee, and the same Professional Development sessions.

... And by the Oakland community- rich in diversity and natural beauty, but generally malnourished and segregated- which needs role models for its youth.

As a teacher, when I feel needed, I feel honored. When I satisfy other's needs, I feel confident. When I handle a situation with the utmost positivity and conscientiousness and empathy, I feel proud, free even. When I fail or flounder or treat another poorly, I feel deep remorse and embarrassment and frustration.

I'd really like to say thank you for reading, truly. I invite you to respond to my words. As an introvert the most exciting part of writing my own Listserve post is not the opportunity to say something to 24,000 people all over the world, but to hear something back from just a small fraction of them. I'm always in appreciation of others' perspectives, candor, solidarity, and constructive feedback.

Peace and Love, Adam.

Adam Hurwitz
San Francisco, CA

Monday, March 16, 2015

Thinking Big

Hello, Internet strangers (and my good friend Denise: hi Denise)!

Like many former winners, I thought long and hard these last 36 hours about what to write. I considered:

… Trying to express why I think it’s so important for human beings to continually and consciously attempt to think at scales that are beyond (unassisted) human perception—atoms, global warming, space—while at the same time accepting (even taking a certain kind of pleasure in? well, I do, at least) our limits … That’s why I love movies like Tree of Life and Melancholia that either jump-cut between the mundane events of a single human life and, say, the surface of the sun -or- require something crazily vast to tell a story like a rogue planet about to crash into the earth. Or books like Climate Changed: A Personal Journey through the Science (graphic novel) or a poem like “Unnamed Dragonfly Species” by Juliana Spahr (she’s amazing) in which her singular speaker, referred to using the pronoun “they,” sit(s) at a computer night after night obsessively watching videos of glaciers collapsing and trying—failing—to turn their confused feelings into knowledge or action… Anyway, I think ethical action lives in these limits. Not fully knowing. Failing to totally see and not letting that stop you. I don’t know.

… Writing about my mom, who is one of the dearest people to me on this earth. Smart, funny, kind to everybody, and possessed of a truly weird sense of humor, which she insists is not weird. Trust me, it is: and I love her all the more for that.

… Writing about my two sisters, who, also loving and courageous and smart and weird, are dear to me in the same way.

… Confessing to 25,000 people how—and this relates to my first point!—how my tendency to engage in what is called “catastrophic thinking” makes me worry perhaps too much, too often about the deaths of people closest to me. All my recurrent anxiety dreams are either large-scale disasters (tsunamis, planes falling from the sky) or something mortally bad happening to my younger sister.

So those are the things I thought about writing about. But then I decided, rather than anguish at my computer for way too long, I’d rather sit outside in the warm sun and read a book. So, Listserve, that’s what I’m going to do!

A few parting thoughts:
- I work for an amazing organization called The Nonhuman Rights Project. We are working through U.S. common law to achieve the recognition of actual legal rights for great apes, elephants, dolphins, and whales. If you think nonhuman animals who have been scientifically proven to be self-aware and autonomous don’t belong in captivity and shouldn’t be considered merely legal property, please check out the NhRP’s work!

- My older sister is a chef in Philly. If you’re around, go eat at South Bowl!

- Nick: I love you! I can’t imagine life without you.

- Ramón: I haven’t forgotten to send you a postcard!

- From Anna Karenina: “Lying on his back he was now gazing at the high cloudless sky. ‘Don't I know that this is infinite space, and not a rounded vault? But however I may screw my eyes and strain my sight, I can not help seeing it round and limited, and despite my knowledge of it as limitless space, I am indubitably right when I see a firm blue vault, and more right than when I strain to see beyond it.”

Thanks, everyone, and take care!

Lauren Choplin
Los Angeles, CA

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Here is a eulogy I wrote for my Sea-Monkeys when they all perished in a tragicomic accident. Life is short, friends.

You swam in the palm of bright salty life

With peppery eyes and long waving tails

But this life that so seemed to hold you securely

The dark grasp of death now against it prevails

Dull are your eyes that once glimmered faintly

And held the whole world in your minuscule view

Still are your tails that once waved so freely

And black are the waters that sparkled so blue

Death’s cold iron talons caught you and held you

In the small violent waves and the algae and foam

But the water that carried you now will receive you

In the calm starry waves may you find yourself home


Saturday, March 14, 2015


I am not supposed to be cliche here, but I have no idea what to write to everyone. So, here's a quote I love:

"In the end, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about you. People are going to forget you about ten minutes after you die, anyway.

The point is, you have to be exactly who and what you want to be.

Most everybody’s coasting along on phony public relations. People who say being beautiful or rich or thin makes them happy, people who are trying to make their marriages or their children seem better than they actually are. And for what? Appearances! Appearances don’t count for diddly.

When it’s all said and done, all that counts is what was true, and truly felt, and how we treated one another. And that’s it.”

— Julia Sugarbaker (Dixie Carter), “They Shoot Fat Women, Don’t They?” - Designing Women, 1989

Be Good.
Be Happy.
Be Yourself.

- Jay
New England

Friday, March 13, 2015

In Defense of the Floppy Disk

"No one knows that the floppy disk means save." At least that's what the campus librarian insisted when she reviewed the website I worked on for her university. I had done research on just this issue, proving that over 90% of college students I asked could identify what the floppy disk meant. And though I beamed with excitement as I showed her this data, it wasn't enough. New students are always coming in, she said, much younger than the ones I polled. So I went back and surveyed 526 high schoolers to find out definitively: Do teenagers understand the outdated tech in our icons?

The survey says yes. 91% of the high school students were able to identify the icon as a floppy disk. And 91% knew that when they saw that icon on a computer screen, clicking it would save their work.

Case closed, right? Nope. Despite this research, I still hear about web designers who think the floppy disk icon should be retired. They claim that younger computer users (kids who have never seen a floppy disk) won't understand it.

But beyond my research, the English language also proves this to be wrong. There are tons of words that relate to retired tech. For instance, when you copy someone on an email, you're using the "carbon copy" function. Have you ever used carbon paper? Probably not. But you get what cc: means. Ever "hang up" a call on your iPhone? Does it involve anything actually hanging? No. Phones used to physically hang, but new models don't. And yet, you understand. It makes sense because our written language has evolved over time, and now our visual language is evolving too.

So let's leave the floppy disk icon unscathed. At least for now. Every time I've clicked it, it's saved my work. It never complained about being tired or sick. It's been a faithful and true friend. One that I will defend for as long as I can. (Or until research shows it doesn't make sense anymore...)

Thanks for reading!

I have research about this and 10 other common icons. Get in touch if you're interested in hearing more, or if you'd like me to talk about this at your upcoming tech or design conference. Together, we can save the floppy disk icon from extinction!

Lis Pardi

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Brains are evil

Brains are evil. They will be the cause of human extinction. Don’t believe it? That’s ok, it’s basically a fail-safe switch in your brain to prevent you from reaching this conclusion. Here are the facts:

1. There is an alien race at the center of the universe – let’s just call them the Mindvourers. Interestingly enough, as we are not fully able to comprehend their shape the closest approximation that makes sense to us is an image of energy sucking vortexes on 4 hairy legs. No, the legs don’t get sucked into the vortex.

2. The Mindvourers’ only source of food is brains – brains of the kind found for example in all vertebrates and most invertebrate animals on earth.

3. Around the time they ran out of food sources on their home planet the Mindvourers came up with a cunning plan – a “fertilizer” for organic brain tissue that could be distributed across the universe with the goal to grow underdeveloped organic brain tissue into super brains.

4. Super brains would eventually convince the host body (like for example us humans) to build vessels and fly to the Mindvourers’ planet

5. Upon arrival the super brains will be consumed through quick and easy suction into the vortex shaped four-leggers.

* The vortex shaped aliens can reverse the flow of their vortexes. This way they are able to create things. What mechanism exists within the vortexes to make this work I have not yet discovered.
* The vessels to distribute the fertilizer are all around us. Human scientists currently call this dark matter.

Brains are evil.

Ergo, stop thinking about this too much. You are just adding fuel to the brainy fire.

If you want to sponsor my research fund to further analyze the vortexes' complex production system, send Bitcoins here 12FTEpHWfaUXTdV1kGy4JVYYJ33y912Zvm

Andre Marenke
Madrid, Spain

PS: Dan is great.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
― Henry James

I lost my father this past September. I lost my only sibling, my brother, in November 2010. He was only 46. My dad, 69. I just turned 46 and I’m mildly freaked out that I will die this year - just because, yanno, my brother went at this age. It’s one of those irrational thoughts that occasionally crosses my mind and decides to sit there for a while to see how I will react. It would be one thing if I lived my brothers life style, but I don’t and if there is anything my father taught me, it was to take care of my body and pay attention to the signs it gives me. He did not. He suffered. A lot. It was painful to watch, but how could I not? At least I could be there for him when he needed me. And he did need me - and that felt good. When he died, I was by his side, holding his hand. He went peacefully. My brother left with no warning and, maybe because he was the first closest to me to die, I miss him terribly.

I used to suffer and worry over things like this, constantly. I used to be the doormat in relationships. I used to second guess myself and where my outward appearance showed confidence, I was a complete mess inside. I always considered myself a victim. That someone or something did me wrong when all I was trying to do was do the right thing, be loved by someone, love as much as I could, help everyone and just be someone to someone. What was wrong with that? It seemed no one understood me. So I suffered. Constantly. My biggest question to myself, that I always asked myself when I was crying because I was so misunderstood was ‘Why?’. Why me? Why now? Why this? Why that?

Really, who cares why? There is a meme on the internet:
Do you have a problem? Yes. Can you do something about it? Yes. Then why worry?
Do you have a problem? Yes. Can you do something about it? No. Then why worry?
Do you have a problem? No. Then why worry?

I became aware of my own thinking(worrying) and that I was unaware that the contribution of my thinking(worrying) was my suffering. This is what’s called being attached. Attached to ideas and notions about how I think things should be instead of simply accepting things as how they are... good, bad or indifferent.

Why worry? Why suffer? Why think about the future, why think about the past? I learned through suffering that it was necessary to let go of why. The only way to do that, for me, was meditation. Meditation helped me understand that if I think about anything other than RIGHT NOW, it brings worry. It also does not allow you to be present with yourself and those around you. You also miss everything. EVERYTHING. It also breeds resentment, and anger, and sadness and suffering and nervousness and anxiety and torment.

Live for RIGHT NOW. Think for RIGHT NOW…. this present moment, the only moment we will ever have.

Fell free to write back.


Fresno, CA

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Hi there

Sean Williams is a #1 New York Times-bestselling novelist. He or she is also an ethnomusicologist, a social media manager for Hyundai, an electronic musician, a police officer who shot a 22-year old man for no good reason, a basketballer, a cricketer, a comic book writer who lives in the Spam capital of the US, and many other things.

Can you guess which one I am?

As a kid I decided that “Jonathan Silver” was what I would change my name to when I grew up, because that sounded like a good name for a cowboy. This was before I read Treasure Island.

When I made my first professional sale, it was under my best friend’s name. At the last minute I decided to use my own instead, and have continued doing so for the rest of my career.

My mother says that I was named after James Bond, and my father, whose surname I share, was fond of his roots (something I call “Welsh-fulfilment”). Neither is enough to make me comfortable with the name I was christened.

And yet . . .

In Dutch there’s a word for people who have the same name: “naamgenoot”, which works similarly to “housemate” or “classmate” in English. I enjoy finding my namemates and making contact with them and/or buying their books to confuse my friends. It feels obscurely like tracking down parts of myself who have become dispersed through time and space, like the fragments of a being too vast for a single ordinary life, a being that can only be partially glimpsed by its component parts, thanks to search engines.*

This idea appeals to me. My mind is full of such things. And twins, for some reason.

It seems to me that I’ve spent most of my professional life seeking a profound truth regarding identity or selfhood that we desperately need to grasp if we’re going to survive the curse of history (i.e. to repeat it). I suspect that this truth is in part an obvious one, that everyone searches for it, and that we’ve heard it many times here on the Listserve.

We need to be better. We need to be bigger. We need to be meaningfully connected to each other.

So why not, as an exercise, try connecting through names? Some find the idea diminishing that what we call ourselves is rarely unique. Me, the only thing diminished is my instinctive dislike of my name. If others share it, it can’t be that bad, right? Even the versions of me who made terrible mistakes or have grown up to be terrible people, they’re integral parts of the vast organism that is meta-Sean Williams. And he/she really appeals to me.

So if you’re another Sean Williams, drop me a line via the email below. It’ll be great to meet you, whoever you are. I’m also “adelaidesean” on Twitter. Together, let’s make the world a better place.

Or let’s take it over. One of the two.


Sean Williams
Adelaide, South Australia

* I’m married to someone who possesses no known namemate. There needs to be a word for that. Any suggestions?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Some who don't wander are lost

Everything is caught up, pushing, scrambled.
I'm dragged around - drinks, smokes, food, pussy, coffee. Always coffee.I order the same thing I order everyday from the same cute barista.

I feel cocksure, unstoppable, drunken - or greasy, fat, leprous, diseased.

There's a cloud blown across my mind, my calm. No clarity, it's all shouting, noise and clamour, or whispers that wake me at night, pulling out my muscles like old rope and making my back grind and squeal like icebergs colliding.

I'm waiting for a huge crack and half of me to slide off into the sea.
I'm waiting for my coffee.
I'm trying to sneak a futile glance at Sophie's rack while she makes it.

Is it being back home?

I want to run again, lost in the winds.
Laughing down alleyways - the sounds falling out of me and cracking against stones and shuttered windows, yellow streetlights pooling in the dirty runoff of 2am.

I want to drink rum and spit spanish and blow smoke in some tiny apartment. Taste violet firewater, sweet on her tongue - pushing me against the kitchen bench, her hands fumbling with my belt buckle.

To hoist my ragged voice under unfamiliar stars on an unknown beach, to hurl songs into the waves, knowing I only have tonight here before I keep moving, and that I'll never be back.

I want to breathe hashish and henna. To dance through snarling traffic, to fling money at snakes.
To hear arabic curl it's way through the air like burning paper, and the watch the sun hang in the air like a ball of orange cream.

She calls my name and smiles, hands me my coffee, says I look tired today. I walk the two blocks to the office with my eyes closed.

Paris, FR

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Any two five elevennis

I'm not sure there is much I can tell you about life since I am still trying to figure it at at 33 but I can tell you that a few days ago a booked a plane ticket for Spain for a trip that I can barely afford to do something (Camino De Santiago) that I'm not sure yet I can physically do. Why? The better question is why not? I haven't take many chances in my life but now feels like the right time to throw caution to the wind and do something amazing. I may come back unemployed and drowning in debt but I will also come back enlightened and ready to take on life's challenges.Who's with me?

No more boxes!

Mary Clare Dougherty
White Plains, NY

Saturday, March 7, 2015


Take a minute today to think about someone else besides yourself. What can you do to make their day better? Your family, friends, co-worker? The random guy you sit next to on the bus? Maybe you can slide over an inch in your bus seat and give him more room--- rather than focusing on how much he's encroaching on your personal space. Take a positive spin for a day.

We get so involved in our own lives and taking selfies to show off--that our culture is becoming extremely self-centered. Let's take a stab at reversing that with baby steps of thoughtfulness. Give it a try. If we all did this think about how much more enjoyable normal life would be.

Enjoy your day.

Liz G.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Making friends

How do you make friends?

It's something that people do all the time, and it amazes me. I'm no good at it -- never developed the knack, never developed the skills.

I don't know how to become friends with someone.*

I know it can be done -- people do it all the time! But I don't know how to do it myself.

Let me talk about me a little, so you'll have a better idea.

I'm autistic, of the high-functioning aspergers variety, which for me essentially means I don't really have an emotional/social language. Because of this, I've somehow managed to grow up** without developing empathy. I've managed to cobble together a working replacement; if I'm paying attention, actively thinking about it, I can see what people are feeling, how they're doing, but I have to stop and work it out. If I don't focus on it, because I'm distracted or because it's hard to remember to think about something all the time, I am blissfully unaware that people have feelings.

Which doesn't mean that people don't matter to me, because they do. It just means that it's very helpful for me if people announce their feelings. I'll happily take them into account! It's just a lot of work for me to figure out what they are. There are a lot of emotional/social rules that I don't know, but I know they're there and sometimes it feels like EVERYONE knows what they are except me. So I tend to go quiet rather than transgress.

And when I do have strong feelings, I rarely have the words to be able to explain them to someone. No emotional language, after all.

But all this means that I will only know that someone likes me if they explicitly say so. The thing where two people talk and realize they like each other? Never happens to me. Arguably *can't* happen to me. But I like talking to people -- I'm particularly good at bantering. I banter so well, I could be in a Joss Whedon story and everyone will think "Yeah, that guy really fits in here".***

This isn't a pity party: I've got a good life. I somehow acquired a wife, and she came with a social group and community and I'm happy to be part of both.

But I still want to know: how do people make friends?***** How do they make friendships grow?


*Besides "Click on Add Friend beside their name on facebook."

**My credentials as a "grown-up" are entirely due to age, and not at all due to maturity.

***And then I'll die dramatically, because Joss Whedon story.****

****Since it appears to be a contractually necessity for a listserver email to contain some well-meaning life advice, here's mine: "Don't be a character in a Joss Whedon story; Or GRR Martin, that'd be even worse."

***** The facebook joke wasn't funny the first time, either.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Oliver, the world!

When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I was skiing and met a kid named Oliver from England. We became best friends over hot chocolate and vowed to find each other someday. I’ve always wondered if he’s forgotten, or if he’s still searching as well.

Rather than bombard you with long paragraphs, I thought I would give you short, quick statements, stories and thoughts with an action item at the end, in hopes that you only spend a few minutes reading and that you enjoy yourself.

- The sound of a ticking clock reminds me of my Baba’s house. I wear his Mickey Mouse watch every day. It doesn’t work, which I love, and it reminds me to stay young and to not take life too seriously.

- Stepping onto a soccer field is a euphoric feeling that I will never grow old of.

- I’m 21 years old, from San Diego, CA, and I graduate this May from the George Washington University in DC.

- Don’t ever underestimate the power of a thorough and thoughtful “thank you”. I spent 365 days doing so to someone different each day, in person or over the phone, and ended up giving a TED talk about it (google my name and “TEDx” if you’re interested). It’s the most incredible feeling the world, and it’s the best way I know to make others feel truly alive and happy.

- I will always stop at lemonade stands.

- Last year I witnessed my Dad hit a hole-in-one. That was really special J

- While traveling recently, a man asked me what my favorite non-musical sound was. My answer was contagious laughter. What’s yours?

- I hope to one day be fully confident in my physical appearance. Words from the past can linger.

- Coming out was hard, but watching people struggle from the other side is harder. Reach out and listen if you can.

- Forever grateful to the teachers and mentors I’ve had. You are the unsung heroes of society.

- Things I love: chocolate milk, the window seat, when the lights go out at a concert, The Giving Tree, the smell of the ocean, adventure, getting the shivers, the word “squeegee,” cityscapes, learning from failure, being weird, sneezing, a challenge, specific beats of songs, videos of Ellen surprising people, stepping on crunchy leaves.

- Asking for help is difficult, but I’m glad I learned: I’m the organizer of TEDxFoggyBottom here in DC, and never in a million years would I be the person I am today, or would our event be what it is today without my team’s relentless passion and enthusiasm. I’m honored to work with you all J

- Love to my family, Kasey for introducing me to the Listserve, and to Julia and the rest of her family. #TeamDoug


Following my graduation, I am taking 12 months and traveling to every continent. I’m looking to explore, to collect stories, and to soak up the culture wherever I go.

If you a) would like to join in, b) know of a place/restaurant/coffee shop/sunrise/theatre/art that I just HAVE to see, or c) know of a place I can stay, please let me know! I promise to respond no matter what, and if we do meet, I will include you in any of my video and photo projects I’ll be doing. My current creative space, Instagram (@briandoyle), and my website (coming soon) will be where I document my travels!

If you’d just like to say hi, that’s cool too!

Thanks for reading! (Salute)

Brian Doyle
Washington, DC.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Go read a book


I never actually thought that I would win this, so I'm not sure what to say. Instead, I'm going to ask for advice. I'm a junior English major at Clemson Univedsity about to enter the real world. If you were given the chance a 20 year-old all over again, what would you do differently? What would you say to your 20 year-old self? Send me your responses! Thanks y'all!

*Shout out* to my former professor Mrs. Leslie Salley for introducing me to the Listserve.

With love from SC,

South Carolina, USA

Monday, March 2, 2015

Summary of changes to The Listserve terms of use and privacy policy


Your Privacy is very important to us. We will never use your sensitive personal information unless you want extra Twitter followers, got a gig next week, have a Kickstarter to plug, are doing some sort of art thing, or really crave attention.

Terms of Use

By continuing to use The Listserve, skimming The Listserve, filtering The Listserve into your junk folder, or thinking about The Listserve, you agree to the following terms of use.

1. You will undergo at least one (1) Life Change over the course of a morning or afternoon, in perpetuity. Life Changes consist of one (1) or more (7?) of the following:

*appreciating the Little Things in life
*traveling (international travel only; Africa counts twice)
*“getting over it”
*meeting your biological father/mother
*discovering/abandoning religion
*accepting your mortality (if applicable)

2. You will tolerate (barely) any “insights” and “revelations” from those younger than you, although seriously, everybody knows you don’t actually realize who you are until you’re at least 20/25/30/35/40/45/50 (choose one).

3. You will transcend time and space through the magic of the Information Superhighway and the latest in World Wide Web E-Mail technology. Welcome to the twentieth century! (update this when you get a chance bob)


The Listserve is not a substitute for the advice of a physician, psychoanalysis by a trained professional, hiking in the wilderness, prescription medication, self-medication, a freestyle rap contest, taking that first refreshing puff of a genuine Chesterfield cigarette in the morning, because Chesterfield is the cigarette that’s milder ... and tastes better!, or placebo.


*hang in there
*it gets better
*Doug Hennessey you’ve got to move on Vanessa would have forgiven you
*see the world
*think for yourselves sheeple
*there is a deep, underlying sadness in every person. Not everyone is depressed; it’s true. But I see depression everywhere I look. Depression and anxiety and really the whole gamut of human misery. Maybe I’m projecting. Or maybe there’s some truth in my generalizations. Therapy has helped me immensely. But I’m not seeing a therapist right now, and I feel it slowly creating an absence in my life. If you have the opportunity, I would urge almost everybody to go. Don’t be afraid to switch therapists until you find the right one. If you are terrified of the prospect, ask someone to help you get through it. If you can’t afford it, there are charities that provide counseling. None of this is easy, but it helps
*you are unique like a snowflake and also have perfect sixfold radial symmetry
*take care of yourselves sheeple


Forward The Listserve to ten (10) people every day. If you do, you will have good luck and a million dollars. Or else you will only have medium good luck and half a million dollars. The choice is clear.


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Pugg Fuggly and The Listserve team
Cambridge, UK

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Death and Birth in the Dominican Republic

About four years ago, I sat in a hospital in the Dominican Republic while a serene nun quietly delivered the news that my friend’s only son had died. For the last three weeks his parents, residents of a slum over an hour away, had sat vigil at the hospital. That is to say, his mother didn’t leave her boy’s side, while his father slept on a bench outside at night – only one person was permitted in the hospital room at a time. Their son had leukemia - a form of it that comes with a good prognosis here in the United States. But without access to proper care or lifesaving bone marrow transplants, my friend’s son was swallowed up by the gap that persists between rich and poor. I watched as the doctors hurriedly explained that their son had died from caca en el sangre (“poop in his blood”). The nuns sent them away with a small, ceramic angel to take his place.

I spent the next few weeks in a haze of self-indulgent bitterness; homesick and self-loathing and fed-up with the state of the world. I didn’t believe in angels, let alone ceramic ones. What else was there to do but sulk?

But as I stewed, my friends began to make the end of their son’s story the beginning of a new one. They volunteered to become Community Health Workers with the organization that had attempted to treat their son. They studied how to take blood pressure and read A1C levels. They spent Saturdays taking neighbors to doctors’ appointments on their motorcycle, foregoing the chance to make some much-needed cash on charging for trips. They spent hours sorting medications for field clinics and began leading community health groups. They did it all between crying jags and long silent spells. They did it in spite of a grief I cannot even fathom.

In two weeks, my friends are expecting the completely unexpected – the birth of a baby boy whom I’ll be lucky enough to call my godson. They are overjoyed and so am I. I don’t know what will happen in my godson’s story or how long it will last. But I write this in hopes of one day sharing with him how his story began; with two parents who quietly and unassumingly possess the strength to overcome their own struggles to do good in this world. And with a godmother who is so incredibly grateful to have learned from them. And with all of us ready to welcome him.

In a world that so often fails the individuals who are brought into it, I want him to know that he is loved, that he is important, and that no matter what, he has someone rooting for him. And when he struggles, I want him to know that like his parents, he can be so much stronger, smarter, kinder, and more courageous than he ever imagined.

Please consider checking out Health Horizons International in the Dominican Republic (hhidr dot org). My friend now works for them full-time and continues to do an amazing job of helping the organization grow. Your support can help make the community that my godson will grow up in a safer, healthier, more equitable place.

Finally, in two weeks, I turn 29 (yikes!). Please e-mail me with suggestions of places to go, experiences to have, or things to do before I am 30. And if you’re ever in Denver, Colorado and want to grab a beer – shoot me an e-mail!

Nicole King
Denver, Colorado