A graphic from Rabia Chaudry's site, Split The Moon

Split The Moon, Rabia Chaudry’s blog

As fellow Serial obsessives know—and there are more than 5 million of us now—Rabia Chaudry is the family friend of Adnan Syed who initially brought this case to Sarah Koenig at This American Life. She’s been blogging as the episodes air, providing a complementary resource to Sarah Koenig’s captivating presentation of Adnan’s case. Chaudry is up front in her full belief that Syed is innocent, and though she doesn’t express an opinion as to who’s responsible for Hae Min Lee’s murder in 1999, she’s a lawyer herself and has had 15 years to think about the case. Her blog provides meat where Koenig only gives bones, whether that’s about what it was like to grow up Muslim in Baltimore or the specific results of Mr. S’ two polygraph tests. She also goes head-to-head with Serial’s fact-checking, which if nothing else is a good reminder of the human bias and error present on every side of this story. But Chaudry’s personal and legal opinions are both worth the read: She calls Syed’s legal defense “a disaster,” something she’s promised to elaborate on (and presumably Koenig and the Serial crew will devote some air time to this, too), and contends that “the prosecution used every negative stereotype about Muslims and Islam and threw it at Adnan.” Chaudry’s blog doesn’t just scratch the itch for more Serial, it also reminds us that the story that Koenig is unspooling, even though it’s 15 years old, is about real people, and that there are real repercussions to telling this story. [Laura M. Browning]


Kaufmann Mercantile

I’ve always been fond of the idea of old-fashioned general stores, and Kaufmann Mercantile provides a well-curated one online for all of your fine product needs, from grooming to housewares. I especially like going through the store’s “bike, sports & play” selection, with an emphasis on the play. There you’ll find things like this absolutely stunning leather head handmade football, sleek in black and built to last through a lifetime of recreational use. They also have throwback toys like this buckthorn wood slingshot, which makes a unique gift for anyone that appreciates the simple aesthetic of a well-crafted good. I own both of the aforementioned products, but my lust list is much longer. From deck chairs to wool coasters, it would be easy to spend a fortune here, but also well worth it, I’m sure, as the quality is superb—Kaufmann Mercantile prides itself on finding the finest products in their class, and so far they’ve delivered. [Becca James]


Seven Minutes In Purgatory

This week I finally got to see a comedy show I’d been hearing about for a while—Seven Minutes In Purgatory, the brainchild of Chicago comedian Ian Abramson. Abramson (with whom, full disclosure, I briefly ran a similarly high-concept variety show) has come up with a twist on the traditional stand-up set that’s deceptively simple and, according to everyone that’s ever tried it, remarkably difficult. Here’s what you do: Put each comedian alone in a room (the more Saw-esque the better), give them a pair of noise-canceling headphones, and have them do their set into a camera while an audience watches a live feed of the performance nearby. Deprived of all audience feedback, some comics—especially those who rely heavily on crowd work—break down almost immediately, while others power through their written material, albeit with a panicked gleam in their eyes. The timing is all off and the performers are clearly uncomfortable, but funny people being funny people, the spectacle is still hilarious. Abramson has done Seven Minutes In Purgatory three times in Chicago and once in Atlanta, and is taking the show on the road to Omaha and Denver this weekend. [Katie Rife]