By Denise Butler, the author’s mother, age 6
Courtesy of the author — created by Denise Butler, the author’s mother, age 6

We are a species obsessed with moments.

It’s built-in, really. We perceive our own lives as a narrative threaded around a series of touchstone moments — some bestowed upon us by nature, others being artifices of culture. We add our own ritual and spectacle to these moments that we might infuse the memories of those moments even deeper.

Our favorite moments are always the most emotional ones. For all the talk about the “complex” storytelling we’re supposed to like, what actually appeals to the human in us are moments that are simple but resonant. You know the kind: The star-crossed…

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

There are two things I know: Everyone hates Facebook now, and everyone insists that they can’t just leave Facebook because they need it. And this can make protests a little challenging.

Behold the latest attempt:

The Facebook Logout campaign asks users to pledge to log off from Facebook and Instagram, its photo-sharing subsidiary, for 24 hours on Nov. 10. The campaign has a list of demands, including that CEO Mark Zuckerberg should step down, and that Facebook should immediately halt its “Instagram for Kids” project. It is spearheaded by Kairos, a tech-focused racial justice group.

This is, naturally, going to…

Courtesy of the author

I feel like I’ve seen a lot of articles about Pizza Hut in China, but then again it is a worthwhile topic. Chinese Pizza Hut is not really a fast food chain, but a somewhat upscale franchise with a more diverse menu and a far fancier presentation than you’ll ever see back home.

A few years ago, I got to see this firsthand when I took a young lady to Pizza Hut at her request. The meal actually came out in courses. First was a delicately tiny slice of tiramisu (it being conventional in China to serve a sweet dish…

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When last we left off, I was testing out a new long-term strategy based on analyzing trends over time and aiming for consistent, relatively small gains.

And now I’m throwing that plan in the trash because the entire market is down.

What we’re looking at here isn’t quite a “crash,” but it’s definitely a bear. The whole market has suffered two dips in the last few weeks, each one taking out a good 8–10% of everything. As I write this, BTC is down 18% from its one-month high, ETH is down 22% from its recent high, and almost everything else…

Photo by Robert Anderson on Unsplash

Let me tell you how I’ve come to hate dating websites.

And I do mean it when I say that I’ve “come to hate” them, because I didn’t always. Once upon a time, in a younger age when the digital ocean that is the internet seemed a little less crowded and a little less polluted, I loved dating websites. Imagine! Going around the stilted conventions of regular society, sidestepping the heartbreaking world of rejection, blind dates, setups and awkward bar conversations to find your One True Love wherever they might be. Wave of the future, I thought.

I even wrote…

Image by James, CC BY-SA

To preface this, I really wish this story concerned an act a little more hardcore than Weezer.

It would be better if this was, say, “Facing Death at an Anti-Flag Concert,” or maybe “Facing Death at a Green Day Concert,” but you take the emo band you’re given, not the punk band you want.

It doesn’t really matter, because a tornado doesn’t particularly care what music you like. That’s the sole thrill one gets living in Kansas — the knowledge that wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, God might just decide to randomly kill you with wind. …

Photo by Sam Dan Truong on Unsplash

“You’ll never make any money giving books away.”

It’s a tired refrain that one hears any time someone even mentions that they’re offering their writing gratis. Usually it’s followed by the critic bragging about the pizza he bought with the money he made from selling copies of his last novel.

These critics show a real lack of imagination. There is a history of giving away a product for free and making money through other means. Radio and television broadcasters made lots of money on free content for a simple reason: The cost of distribution was very cheap. …

Andrew Johnston

Writer of fiction, documentarian, currently stranded in Asia. Learn more at

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