Camaret, Moonlight and Fishing Boats, a painting by Maximilien Luce.

Hi Observers,

It’s the last edition of the year! Thank you for following along with this project in 2021. Next year, I plan to publish the much-delayed Year Two chapbook and more receipts. I might also rename this newsletter to a generic “Spencer Tweedy’s Newsletter” and make Observations just one section of it. It would still be short and monthly, just with a little more room for show announcements and other thoughts. Who knows? In any case, thank you for being here, replying with your own observations and making this feel worthwhile.

I hope you’re having a safe, relaxing holiday time. And that your year ahead is wonderful.

— Spencer


  • The ducks gliding on the frozen river ice. 11-24
  • Casey’s baller fall stew. 11-06
  • Hot-tubbing in the moonlight. 11-23

  • Tailgating with New York Bagel and Bialy lox bagels in the Costco Niles parking lot. 11-08
  • Almost getting t-boned by a red-light-running pickup truck as my car stereo blared the climax of Ornette Coleman and Pat Metheny’s “Endangered Species.” 11-11
  • Playing with Kelly Hogan (with Nora O’Connor and Joel Paterson!), opening for Mavis Staples, at Thalia Hall. 11-19
    • Mavis was so energetic and so hilarious on stage, even more than usual.

  • The friend-hungry, exceedingly macho securities trader from whom Jason and I bought a bandsaw. 11-15
  • John Lennon describing his novel plastics-based stage design ideas in episode one of Get Back. Also, everything about Get Back. 11-27
  • The spectrum of believing the world is full of assholes out to get you or sweethearts out to help you. 11-09
    • That where you sit on that spectrum affects how you treat others. Believe there are assholes, preemptively be an asshole. Believe there are sweethearts, be a sweetheart. Roughly speaking.
    • How, in that way, your belief is self-fulfilling, since the way you behave helps define the world.

  • Sam Arbesman on the fine balance Jewish culture strikes between hanging on to tradition and evolving. 11-26
  • Craig Damrauer’s sweet zine of advice for his 18-year-old daughter, Stella. [Via Austin Kleon.] 11-12
  • Sipping Mom’s chicken soup. Ascending. 11-15

  • Wondering, how did wooden ships of antiquity prevent water from getting in between the boards? The simple answer: shipbuilders tarred the boards or overlapped them. 11-21
  • Marginalia Search, a search engine that helps you discover “cool little websites made by people.” 11-13
  • The recently discovered evidence that some birds can sort of see the Earth’s magnetic field. 11-08


Thanks again ☺︎