Discover more from Understandably by Bill Murphy Jr.
Last minute, I remembered!
Free for all Friday. Also, 7 other — wait, that's redundant.
Welcome to Free for All Friday, a new feature in its third week, prompting almost 100 percent positive feedback so far (what else does that?), in which I share longer links to 7 things I’ve read recently that I think others might want to, too.
There’s a special effort to make sure people don’t run into paywalls. They’re a necessary evil, but fortunately our friends at some big media companies also sometimes allow paid subscribers (that’s me) to share gift links. So I’m using mine.
Here’s this week’s list. Got a suggestion for another day or next week? Let me know here.
‘We Could Feel the Gravity of It. It Was Electrifying’: 50 Photographs That Reshaped Sport[s]
Like it says on the tin so to speak, it's 50 of the most momentous sports photos of all time (from the point of view of a British media company nevertheless trying to reach readers all over the world). The article itself takes 33 minutes to "read," on average, so be warned. (The Guardian)
The American Diet Has a Sandwich Problem
Americans’ favorite lunch is a ‘heart bomb’ of salt, preservatives and sugar. But doctors say there’s a way to build a healthier sandwich—here’s how.
Almost half of Americans eat at least one sandwich every day. I just ate a homemade burrito full of leftovers, so I guess that counts. Anyway, it's a problem.
“The standard deli sandwich with processed meat and cheese, you’re literally eating a heart bomb,” says Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and professor of nutrition and medicine at Tufts University.
Our sandwiches weren’t always this bad for us. Sandwiches have grown less healthy in the past 40 years, Dr. Mozaffarian says. Culprits include highly processed grains in bread and the low-fat push that took off in the 1980s, which nutritionists now say led to the consumption of more deli meats marketed as low-fat.
Sandwiches’ size—and their calorie content—have ballooned, too. A typical turkey sandwich in the 1980s contained about 320 calories, according to a report from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Twenty years later, a turkey sandwich contained about 820 calories.
Basic advice: Use better meat, whole grain bread, and vegetables instead of other condiments. (Wall Street Journal)
‘New American,’ ‘Fusion,’ and the Endless, Liberating Challenge of Describing American Food Right Now
Chefs are pushing the boundaries of what “American” cooking means, being more creative than ever. We need better language to describe their food. (Bon Appetit)
Tomorrow is the Anniversary I've Been Dreading
“I'm going to write this fast, while I can, but don't think you have to be sad for me.”
I've shared some of Ramona Grigg's work here before. This is something new she wrote about the one-year anniversary of her husband's death.
Counting our courtship and engagement, we were together for more than 66 years.
Did we know we would go on loving each other as we grew older? Nope. Hadn’t a clue. I suppose we hoped, as all young couples do, but we were also aware of too many long-time marriages, in our own families and out, where both the husband and wife were just going through the motions. Nobody young thinks that will ever be them, but we saw what we saw.
At some point we must have decided not to be them. (Constant Commoner)
Ancestral Ties Are Drawing Americans to Ireland. Grand Country Estates Are Keeping Them There.
Prices for these properties are leveling off, following a period of ups and downs brought on by Brexit and COVID fears.
I'll tell you what, these are some nice houses. Also, I added this at the last minute, realizing it's St. Patrick's Day. (Shame on you, Murphy!) (WSJ)
You Can Buy More Happiness
I'd seen something about this but didn't see the link; fortunately reader Lynne Martin Veilleux reminded me via the submissions link, and we'll use the version she suggested. It's from a Canadian business newsletter called The Peak.
If you remember the famous study that suggested happiness doesn't really increase beyond $75,000 per year (in 2010 dollars), this is sort of a counter-point to that. Actually (there's that word again), the original study is pretty badly misunderstood, which might explain this later research. Anyway:
New research shows that not only does money make you happier, but happiness keeps going up along with income. In fact, happiness levels increase with earnings all the way to US$500,000—beyond that, researchers ran out of data.
The researchers also found an “unhappy minority” of about 20% who saw some benefit from higher income up to about US$100,000, but not much beyond that. These folks tended to suffer from “miseries” such as depression and, alas, heartbreak, which money couldn’t fix. (The Peak)
America Was Obsessed With This Self-Help Craze 100 Years Ago
The 1920s, the frothy decade following World War I, have been called the era of Wonderful Nonsense. Weary of war and politics, connected by radio and wire, and with more money on their hands than ever before, Americans threw themselves into fads and crazes.
There was the mahjong craze. There was the Charleston dance craze. There was the flagpole-sitting craze.
And then there was Émile Coué, the so-called Miracle Man from Nancy, France, whose “autosuggestion” craze was briefly the biggest thing in America. (Washington Post)