Somehow it’s October. Time’s arrow is a helluva thing here lately. My lived experience in Austin is blooming in an odd way. As fall arrived, so did hanging out at breweries with my wife, our friends, and dogs. They all have outdoor, socially distanced setups and some kind of food truck or existing kitchen setup. And so this is how we get out of the house, see our friends, enjoy a slice of the old way.
I’m Adam Keys and this is a bunch of things I’m enthusiastic about. If you’re wondering how you got here or realizing you’re just not into the things I’m enthusiastic about anymore, there’s an unsubscribe link at the bottom if you feel like it’s time.
I promise there’s a sunset lurking in this photo.
This week, a few items I recently enjoyed:
The deluxe edition of Prince’s Sign o’ the Times is amazing. It includes a triple album Prince submitted but Warner brothers told him to cut down to one disc. Also, new versions of Housequake, one of my favorite funk jams. Drop the needle on the second disc (of eight!) and enjoy deep cuts, alternate takes, and a high point of Prince’s creativity.
The War on Coffee - grab a cup of coffee and then feel slightly bad about it.
Coffee was perhaps the first naïve emissary of internationalism. In the seventeenth century, Iceland got the beans and became addicted, on the whole quite happily. You can’t open a book about coffee, no matter what tone it takes, without reading a global story. Whatever else the current crisis may be teaching us, the one certain thing is that self-sufficiency is a non-solution to our suffering. None of us are sufficient, since none of us are complete selves, and what is true of each of us is true of every nation. Whether you pursue coffee as the ideal recreational drug from Istanbul hookah lounge to Ethiopian hideaway or see its dark track of exploitation from Salvadoran plantation to Detroit assembly line, you are inexorably led into stories that go everyplace on earth. On our tightly connected planet, it is impossible to sustain the policy of spite stores and their isolating spiral of envy. What happens here happens there. A bat may infect a pangolin in Wuhan, and the world shuts down. No café is an island and no latte can be Larry’s alone. In these times, it’s a lesson worth remembering.
The Cold War Bunker That Became Home to a Dark-Web Empire - Wherein the underworld of crypto phones, dark web, drug deals, etc. meets information systems and internet liberty people gone awry. And all very Dutch.
Xennt’s desire to live and work underground was not entirely rational. Van der Loos, the former associate, told me that Xennt was bunkergeil—a Dutch portmanteau that means “horny for bunkers.” After the underground facility in the Netherlands was destroyed by fire, in 2002, Xennt concluded that the most likely country where he might find a replacement was Germany, which had many military hideouts from the Cold War era. In 2007, Van der Loos and Xennt visited a former NATO bunker in Börfink, a facility that had been used as a center for West German intelligence in the seventies and eighties. In some areas of the Börfink bunker, there were no lights, and so the two men toured the cavernous space in darkness, following fluorescent green arrows on the walls, like Egyptologists inspecting hieroglyphs. The biggest underground room, which had formerly housed NATO maps, was three stories high. Xennt was captivated. “I want to be buried here,” he said. Van der Loos spent the night in a nearby hotel, but Xennt made a bed in the abandoned map room and slept there.
What have you enjoyed in the past few weeks?