What I'm Reading (May 2)

By Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA — May 02, 2024
Frank Bruni, a maestro with his pen From cluttered rooms to boxes stacked high, two articles ponder Bluey, say it isn't so
Image by Pexels from Pixabay


I love Frank Bruni’s writing and have since it was the NY Times restaurant “critic.” He has gone on to teach and write a critique of other cultural institutions. As a journeyman writer, I appreciate the opportunity to read and learn from a master. This article nails something I have tried to express, but not nearly as well. It is particularly timely given our college's current 1968 redux.

“I warn my students. At the start of every semester, on the first day of every course, I confess to certain passions and quirks and tell them to be ready: I’m a stickler for correct grammar, spelling and the like …

And I’m going to repeat one phrase more often than any other: “It’s complicated.” They’ll become familiar with that. They may even become bored with it. I’ll sometimes say it when we’re discussing the roots and branches of a social ill, the motivations of public (and private) actors and a whole lot else, and that’s because I’m standing before them not as an ambassador of certainty or a font of unassailable verities but as an emissary of doubt. I want to give them intelligent questions, not final answers. I want to teach them how much they have to learn — and how much they will always have to learn.”

From the NY Times, The Most Important Thing I Teach My Students Isn’t on the Syllabus


I am of an age when I have collected too much stuff and find it almost equally hard to discard. I also get to go once or twice a week to our local “transfer” center, where I marvel at how many cardboard boxes are waiting to be recycled. So, two articles on too much stuff.

“Maybe they’d learned what happens to the huge volume of online purchases that get returned, or saw one too many questionably sourced mascaras and sunscreens hawked on TikTok Shop, or realized that the newly minted e-commerce behemoth Temu is spending many millions of dollars to urge you, quite explicitly, to shop like a billionaire. Whatever the impetus, the people asking this question tend to regard the consumer landscape with a mix of exhaustion and incredulity. The ever-expanding American closet is already swollen with cheap clothes, and our junk drawers and spare rooms and storage units already overfloweth with everything else. Americans have so much excess stuff that much of it can’t even effectively be given away. Can we—the people who have bought so much already—really keep buying more, and at a hastening clip?”

From The Atlantic, America Is Nowhere Near Peak Stuff


“The overarching goal of Swedish death cleaning, or “döstädning” in Swedish, is to declutter one’s home and downsize one’s possessions in advance of one’s death — essentially purging things you no longer need or haven’t used in ages. The idea is that, through the act of streamlining, you’ll find the joy in embracing a more minimalistic, less materialistic approach to life, with a deliberate focus on quality over quantity.

Per The Spruce, the practice is like “a Scandinavian twist on the Konmari Method” developed by Marie Kondo, whose books and TV show encourage devotees to surround themselves only with objects that “spark joy.” Swedish death cleaning, however, is an arguably further-reaching concept, rooted in both pragmatism and thoughtful consideration for others.”

From Nice News, Swedish Death Cleaning: What It Is, How to Do It, and Why It’s Important


I was introduced to Bluey by my 3-year-old grandson, one of the many benefits Rylan gives to the family. I love Bluey.

“But like childhood itself – for both children and the parents who watch them grow – nothing as perfectly beautiful as Bluey is meant to last forever, unchanged. Which may be the lesson the show was trying to tell us all this time.

You have to watch Bluey – and you absolutely should – to really understand what makes it so superior to the vast, often-polluted river that is children’s TV content. It’s funny in a way that 5-year-olds and 45-year-olds can appreciate.”


From Vox, Everything Ends, Even Blue

Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA

Director of Medicine

Dr. Charles Dinerstein, M.D., MBA, FACS is Director of Medicine at the American Council on Science and Health. He has over 25 years of experience as a vascular surgeon.

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