Why is this interesting? - The Monday Media Diet with Veda Partalo

On canine companionship, the merits of honest, forceful writing, and a plethora of audio recs.

Veda Partalo (VP) is a longtime friend of WITI. She is the VP of Premium at Spotify and as you will read in today’s edition, leads a very interesting and curious life. - Colin (CJN)

Tell us about yourself. 

Perpetually distracted. Best when with a dog. From Bosnia, now in Brooklyn. Have trouble with small talk and social occasions. I do not think there's anything special about me that should incite you to read about my habits, so I won't be offended if you skip to the next email now. I make my living as a VP of Brand and Marketing at Spotify. My mother thinks my bangs are too short. 

Describe your media diet. 

Mostly podcasts, plus some email strategery (this email, Ben Thompson's Stratechery, Bob Lefsetz's ramblings, and Matt Gardner's Stupefy). 

Morning: 

Up First by NPR followed by The Journal by WSJ followed by The Daily by NYT. Is it a Pivot day? Then that, on the train. If there's a new Heavyweight episode, then I will listen to it before all else—I think Jonathan Goldstein is a comical genius. We could all use more of his brilliance in our lives.

...play some Velvet Negroni or Lucinda Williams in between. 

Night: 

Black on the Air w/ Larry Wilmore, Making Sense w/ Sam Harris, Fresh Air, The New Yorker Radio Hour.

If it's a special day when Home of the Brave is out, then I will listen to it, most likely twice, because it is that good always. I'll walk my dog and Scott Carrier will walk me. If I'm feeling low, I'll listen to old Ram Dass talks on Ram Dass Here and Now. If I'm feeling good I may put on some Willie Nelson and the boys.

What’s the last great book you read?

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett 

What are you reading now? My pal Katy Morley (who is a very good artist)  just gifted me Elena Ferrante's Incidental Inventions. I had given her My Brilliant Friend a few months back, and now we have a little Ferrante fan club.

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?

Calling it a strategy feels too generous. If I'm reading a print copy of something, there are generally two reasons:

  1. I had enough time at the airport to stop at Hudson News. 

  2. I opened the mailbox, discovered the Paris Review, brought it home and let it sit on the dining room table for weeks, possibly months. I picked it up when sick, bored or tired, read it cover to cover, ripped out some pages and underlined others, pinned a sheet or two on the guestroom walls. 

Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?

Charles Bowden. He was brilliant and now he is dead. Chuck wrote "Some of the Dead are Still Breathing" and you should read it if you like being punched in the face by good, honest, forceful writing from a person who did not lie.

What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone? 

Calculator. 

Plane or train?

Train (but I would rather walk).

What is one place everyone should visit? 

The place where your parents first met.  

Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into. 

My dog is 4 months old. His name is Darryl. I had a dog before him, Bullet, and she would always embarrass me in public. "This time, it'll be different," I told myself before Darryl arrived, "this time I will get it right." I bought books and signed up for classes and followed Cesar Milan on Instagram and I got a clicker (so the dog would know when he is doing good). And then, my sister's boyfriend gifted me The Art of Raising a Puppy which is a book written by the Monks of New Skete. They all live in this tiny monastery, an Orthodox Christian one, and they breed and raise German Shepherds to help fund the grounds. Maurice Sendak got a dog from them (he too, had a dog with behavioral issues beforehand, and he too said "this time I will get it right"). 

When Darryl arrived I immediately signed him up for a visit. This Summer we will go up to New Skete, and both Darryl and I will be trained. I've yet to use the clicker but he's still doing alright. 

Here are the monks:

Thanks for reading,

Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Veda (VP)


Why is this interesting? is a daily email from Noah Brier & Colin Nagy (and friends!) about interesting things. If you’ve enjoyed this edition, please consider forwarding it to a friend. If you’re reading it for the first time, consider subscribing (it’s free!).