I'm dying at the age of 49 but I have no regrets about my life

I'm dying at the age of 49 but I have no regrets about my life

From the Washington Post: "Last month, I found out I have Stage 4 uterine leiomyosarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer. Doctors say I may have just a few months to live. Treatment could buy me a little extra time, but not much. My disease is advanced and incurable. My prognosis has left me shocked, sad, angry and confused. I wake up some mornings raging at the universe, feeling betrayed by my own body, counting the years and the milestones I expected to enjoy with my family. I am leaving behind a husband and 14-year-old daughter I adore, and a writing and teaching career I’ve worked so hard to build. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my life, and in addition to the horror, a surprising feeling has taken hold: I am dying at age 49 without any regrets."

He lived in a hotel room for five years and it only cost him $200 but then he went too far

From the New York Times: "On a June afternoon in 2018, a man named Mickey Barreto checked into the New Yorker Hotel. He was assigned Room 2565, a double-bed accommodation with a view of Midtown Manhattan almost entirely obscured by an exterior wall. For a one-night stay, he paid $200.57. But he did not check out the next morning. Instead, he made the once-grand hotel his full-time residence for the next five years, without ever paying another cent. Now, that deal could land him in prison. The story of how Mr. Barreto, a California transplant with a taste for wild conspiracy theories and a sometimes tenuous grip on reality, gained and then lost the rights to Room 2565 might sound implausible — another tale from a man who claims without evidence to be the first cousin, 11 times removed, of Christopher Columbus’s oldest son. But it's true."

Author Toni Morrison's brutally honest rejection letters to other writers

Toni Morrison: 9 Essential Books, Works by Nobel Laureate

From the LA Review of Books: "“I found it extremely honest, forthright, and moving in ways I had not expected it to be,” Toni Morrison wrote to an aspiring novelist in 1977, “but it is a shuddering book and one that offers no escape for any reader whatsoever.” During her 16 years as an editor at Random House, Morrison wrote hundreds of rejection letters. Usually typed on pink, yellow, or white carbonless copy paper, and occasionally bearing Random House’s old logo and letterhead, these are now filed with others at Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Morrison’s rejections tend to be long, generous in their suggestions, and direct in their criticism, sometimes brusque yet typically offering something more than an expression of disinterest—notes on craft, character development, the need for more (or less) drama."

Editor's note: If you like this newsletter, please share it with someone else. And if you really like it, perhaps you could subscribe, or contribute something via my Patreon. Thanks for being a reader!

Blowhole the sled dog became a social media star but was he a also a criminal?

From Outside: "We met Blowhole the sled dog in April 2018. I had entered the Kobuk, an unsupported, 440-mile race between seven remote villages in the Alaskan Arctic, and I’d borrowed dogs from a few friends to fill out my team. He was named for the vicious wind tunnels that form on the Bering coast, the ones that threaten to throw you out to sea. Then he stepped into a moose hole and tweaked his wrist. I left Blowhole with race volunteers so his wrist could rest and heal, but he was distraught. All he wanted was to keep going. He howled desperately as the other dogs and I continued down the trail without him. After the race, my husband and I brought Blowhole back to Knik. Immediately after we left, we discovered that the brakes on our truck were barely working. We white-knuckled it to a repair shop, where a mechanic diagnosed the problem and scrawled it on our $1,200 bill: Brake lines chewed by dog."

Why the sun will never set over the famous islands of San Serriffe

From Everything Is Amazing: "If you opened the pages of The Guardian in early April of 1977, alongside details of a breakdown in negotiations between the Soviet Union and the United States, and a warning about British pubs overcharging anyone having the wretched indecency to order a soft drink instead of a beer, a map headed a special travel feature about the world’s least-known newly independent island republic, San Serriffe. Never heard of it? Most Guardian readers hadn’t either. This tiny nation, “grouped roughly in the shape of a semicolon,” was a remarkable scoop, and judging from the size of the feature (7 pages!), the newspaper clearly knew it. For the careful reader, further surprises awaited - like how ‘extreme tides’ were pushing San Serriffe towards the northwest, and "the islands will accelerate at first gently and then more rapidly as they approach Sri Lanka. Simple calculations suggest that the island group will hit the coast of Sri Lanka on January 3, 2011.

How a former judge wound up in jail because of a $77 speeding ticket

How Much Is A Speeding Ticket In Texas? – Forbes Advisor

From Now I Know: "In 2006, Marcus Einfeld was driving around in Mosman, Australia, going about 60 km/hr. Unfortunately for him, the road he was on was a 50 km/hr zone, and even more unfortunately, a police officer was there. The officer pulled Einfeld over and wrote him a ticket in the amount of A$77. It wasn’t an amount he couldn’t afford — he was a former judge of Australia’s Federal Court, and a well-regarded member of Australia’s legal community. Admitting to driving 10 km/hr over the speed limit is hardly something shameful. But Einfeld decided not to pay the fine, for a very simple reason: he claimed he wasn’t driving the car. His friend, an American professor named Teresa Brennan, had been visiting and was actually the person behind the wheel. The court agreed to cancel the speeding ticket, but Einfeld still ended up in prison."

One-touch volleyball is a variant of the game played in the Phillippines

Acknowledgements: I find a lot of these links myself, but I also get some from other newsletters that I rely on as "serendipity engines," such as The Morning News from Rosecrans Baldwin and Andrew Womack, Jodi Ettenberg's Curious About Everything, Dan Lewis's Now I Know, Robert Cottrell and Caroline Crampton's The Browser, Clive Thompson's Linkfest, Noah Brier and Colin Nagy's Why Is This Interesting, Maria Popova's The Marginalian, Sheehan Quirke AKA The Cultural Tutor, the Smithsonian magazine, and JSTOR Daily. If you come across something interesting that you think should be included here, please feel free to email me.