The Rocket’s Second Shift

When he showed up at the Montreal Forum an hour before puck drop that night, three days after Christmas in 1944, Maurice Richard told coach Dick Irvin not to expect much of a game from him. He was pooped. “Pooped?” Irvin inquired. “How do you mean, pooped?” Richard explained that it was moving day. He’d…

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Dolly Parton’s Big Songwriting Day

At some point, if we’re lucky, Hrishikesh Hirway will devote an episode of his new Netflix series Song Exploder to getting to the heart of what really happened that day in 1973 when Dolly Parton caught lightning in a bottle twice. He’ll get her sitting alone — she always writes alone – in a chair…

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The Triumphant Day of Fernando Pessoa

On March 8, 1914, in Lisbon, Portugal, “I found myself standing before a tall chest of drawers, took up a piece of paper, began to write, remaining upright all the while since I always stand when I can. I wrote thirty some poems in a row, all in a kind of ecstasy, the nature of…

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King Lear Can Wait

The guilt-trip phase of this lockdown is mercifully over. Remember about six weeks ago when people seized on the idea that this is actually an opportunity for creative types? That we all could — should — be super-productive with the oceans of time that have opened up? The backlash was swift. “It’s tough enough to…

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Lessons in follow-through from the backyard marathoners

Say this about the Covid-19 lockdown: it has separated those who keep their promises from those who are happy to take a mulligan in these extraordinary circumstances. By now you’ve likely heard of a UK man named James Campbell, and not because he is a Scottish record-holder in the javelin. A month ago, grounded in…

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Pi and I Scream

With Spring Break upon us and there’s nowhere to go because everything’s cancelled and everything’s closed, what better way to spend the cooped-up hours than thinking about something equally irrational and never-ending: Pi. Happy Pi Day, folks. When math geeks the world over consider the almost mystic ratio of the circumference of a circle to…

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Workplace Switcheroo: CEOs swap jobs

“Trading places,” as a social experiment and story hook, is older than Eddie Murphy, older than Mark Twain, older even than Shakespeare. But it’s likely no two CEOs had stepped into each others’ shoes before Kip Tindell and Maxine Clark gave it a go one February day. Tindell, co-founder of the Missouri-based Container Store, hopped…

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Inspired Lunacy

Adbusters magazine is no stranger to high-concept one-day actions. Call them provocations, call them statements. Call them invitations to live with greater depth, meaning and resistance. The calling-card example is Buy Nothing Day, an international protest against runamok consumerism held, not coincidentally, on Nov. 29 — “Black Friday”— one of the biggest shopping days of…

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“Destination” Big Days, Global Warming and the Race Against Time

The Elfstedentocht needs no explanation — at least if you’re from the Netherlands. It’s part of the Dutch DNA. For the rest of us: the Elfstedentocht is an open-air speed skating race, by some measures the world’s largest ice-sport event. It’s definitely one of the great physical accomplishments that regular people – albeit fit, gritty…

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Extreme Language Learning: a hyperglot in overdrive

  There are certain endeavours that would seem to be unattackable in anything but a million little duck bites — they’re just too big and complicated. And anyone who claims to have mastered such tasks in a single day immediately sets off the charlatan alarm. Scott Adams comes to mind. The creator of the cartoon…

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