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The root of all evil
Photo by Zulki Jrzt / Unsplash

The root of all evil

🌬️ Is air conditioning bad, actually · School threats · East Bank roadblocks · Skyscrapers · Much more!

Good afternoon, everyone.

Hope you had a swell weekend. The weather was so nice, I didn’t turn on the A/C once. Just opened all the windows in the house, let the fresh air do the work.

I’ve become something of an anti-air-conditioning-radical as of late. If I don’t take necessary preventative measures, I get obstructive sleep apnea pretty bad—wall-rattling snores and everything.

I have the situation under control now, but when I was in El Salvador a few months ago, I had a flare-up after spending the night in a humid hotel room with a wall-mounted air-conditioning unit that ran the entire night.

I think the thing must have had mold built up in it somewhere, because not only did I wake up throughout the night, I woke up the next morning with a sandpaper-dry mouth. This ailment stuck with me for the next few weeks, long after I came home to Nashville.

I’ll do anything to avoid a CPAP machine or pharmaceutical drugs, so my previous quest to solve this problem back in 2016 led me down the most holistic of medical rabbit holes. You learn pretty quickly that obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your soft palate relaxes and falls back into your windpipe, obstructing the flow of air.

Using holistic methods, there are two main ways to solve this problem: strengthening the soft palate, or bringing the lower jaw forward while you sleep. I tried both. The most effective way to strengthen the soft palate is to play the didgeridoo—a wind instrument of Australian origin. I know it sounds insane, but there are clinical studies that support this. So, I bought a didgeridoo, learned how to circular breathe, and tried to remember to play it every day.

But other experiments provided more immediate and fruitful results — namely, the adjustment of jaw position during sleep. The best way to achieve this is to use a sleep aid like a mouthpiece or mouthtape. Mouthpieces never worked for me, but mouthtape changed my life. The first night I used mouth tape, I got a full night sleep without interruption for the first time in years.

So, I ditched the didgeridoo and relied on the mouth tape. When I say that it changed my life, I mean it. It’s the single most consequential, non-spiritual thing I’ve done to improve how I feel. After a few months of steady mouth taping, the muscle memory developed, and I only need to use it sparingly now.

But when I’d gotten back from  El Salvador and started having issues again, I returned to the steady routine of mouth taping. Except this time, it didn’t take. My soft palate would fall back on my windpipe all the same. Something different, a new problem, had emerged.

I don’t remember the exact moment, but at some point, I decided to turn off the air conditioning while I slept (yes, I replace the air filters monthly). I’m pretty loose with the dial during the day, but at night, I’d turn it down low because I like it cool at night. Long story short, after a week of acclimating to sleeping when it’s warmer than usual, my new apnea issues disappeared. Could I have had some mild, mold-induced cold that affected my sleep that eventually subsided? Maybe. Nonetheless, now I’m a radical anti-air-conditioning-activist.

I think that hermetically sealed, artificially cooled environments are to blame for a lot of metabolic problems in the United States. Not only that, but the constant demand for artificially cooled environments contributes to societal alienation. We rely on air conditioning too much. If you think I’m about to make an environmental argument, fear not. This has nothing to do with the environment.

Initially, I came at this from an aesthetic perspective. Air conditioning was first marketed as a way to lengthen the working day. This might be an awkward argument to make, but consider how much culture arose to deal with the heat of summer. Iced tea, mint juleps in silver cups, wide-brimmed hats, screened-in porches, pools, lightweight fabrics, and even the orientation of houses and streets. The list goes on. 

Air conditioning has almost completely eradicated the need for these rituals and rites, placing us all in our perfectly climate-controlled environments, divorced entirely from the natural climate. The word languid barely has meaning anymore as our exposure to conditions that betoken the word — namely the hot, humid summer heat — is purely voluntary. You can always go inside if you get too hot or sweaty. No need to feel languid.

In the US, 90 percent of homes are equipped with air conditioning compared to only 5 percent of homes in France, the UK, and Germany. Yes, it’s considerably cooler in the summers of Europe. Faulkner wrote his books without air conditioning in the Mississippi heat and many great men besides him flourished despite the complete absence of sophisticated technology designed to cool the interior of a building.

All this is to say that I’m doing an experiment this summer. I’ve set the cooling dial to 82ºF with no plans to bring it lower. That means my house will warm until it hits 82, then the air conditioning will kick in. It’s a reasonable compromise. I’ve got fans. I’m convinced this is going to improve my life like the mouth tape once did. Maybe I’m wrong. But maybe air conditioning is the root of all evil. We’ll see.

Onward.


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Nashville

🏫 More School Threats A story I’ve been tracking I’ve only seen reported on in the Tennessee Star is the recent arrest of McKenzie McClure. On March 24th, just days before the anniversary of the Covenant tragedy, McClure left a threatening voicemail at Christ Presbyterian Academy which resulted in the school, as well as Brentwood Academy and Currey Ingram nearby, closing the next day. 

McClure has a number of similarities with Covenant perpetrator Audrey Hale—namely, both Hale and McClure were undergoing a transition from female to male at the time of their breakdown. And, like Hale’s relationship to Covenant, McClure attended CPA.

The aftermath of the Covenant tragedy has been exhaustively covered from almost every angle. That said, we don’t yet have clarity on the “motive,” nor do we have a definitive answer about whether or not Hale was undergoing hormone replacement therapy. In the weeks following Covenant, we published a piece about how testosterone in particular affects female users. Said one detransitioner of her experience taking the hormone, “While I was on testosterone, the anger demanded to be externalized. I felt like my body would explode if I couldn’t hit or throw something, and this scared me.”

In the case of McClure, it’s clear that she had taken synthetic testosterone: recent pictures show visible facial hair. Considering McClure was less capable than Hale, having no known firearms training, it’s unlikely that she would have acted on her threats. Should she still be punished for making them? Of course. But it’s worth knowing whether testosterone played a role in her misdirected anger. It would be revealing just how large an effect HRT can have on young women, in particular.

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🦦 East Bank: Rail and Other Roadblocks A 2023 analysis obtained by the Nashville Business Journal revealed that the CSX rail line running through the East Bank site may cause problems in the near future. As Metro breaks ground on the new stadium, city planners and railroad executives are haggling over potential solutions, including rerouting the train line entirely.  According to an advisory report from Kimley-Horn and Associates, the engineering firm Metro hired to tackle infrastructure design,  this hiccup may cost somewhere between $400 and $500 million. 

The tracks aren’t the only things getting in the way of Metro’s East Bank’s vision: in order to fulfill the Imagine East Bank Vision plan, the city will have to lower James Robertson Parkway and relocate the scrapyard near Korean Veterans Boulevard. Though negotiations will have to take place between Metro and private parcel owners throughout the area, the conversations are slow going. When asked about the scrapyard at the end of March, Metro’s Chief Development Officer Bob Mendes indicated that they’ve had no discussions with SA Recycling, the company that currently owns the 45-acre site. 

Mendes, for his part, wanted to remind everyone that this transformation is going to take decades. “People lose track of the scale of this, but the entire Gulch is 60 acres and has been under construction for 25 years,” Mendes said. “And Metro owns twice that amount of land in the East Bank, so it's going to be a long time.”

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🏙️ Scraping The Sky Over the last ten years, Nashville’s skyline has undergone an astounding transformation. Part of that has to do with developer Tony Giarratana, who has been elevating downtown’s Church Street since 1998—literally. Giarratana’s latest endeavor will put him in the record books–– he plans to build Tennessee’s tallest skyscraper.

Last month, the mogul secured the funding he needed to build a 60-story, 750-foot-tall tower to replace Church’s YMCA building. Referred to as the 1010 Tower, it will surpass the antenna height of AT&T’s “Batman building” by over 100 feet. Giarratana already has another high-rise among the state’s five tallest buildings: the 505. Just a few blocks down the street, it was completed in January 2018, adding 522 feet of vertical height where a street-level parking lot used to be.

DEVELOPMENT

46-Story St. Regis To Complete ‘Marriott Block’ In Downtown Nashville (More Info)
  • Barnes & Thornburg opens permanent office in Broadwest (NBJ)
  • Long-stalled Gulch project could see movement (Post)
Entertainment

THINGS TO DO

View our calendar for the week here and our weekly film rundown here.

📅 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

🎧 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

👨🏻‍🌾 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide and yearly festival guide.

TONIGHT

🎸 City and Colour @ Ryman Auditorium, 7:30p, $30.50+, Info

🎸 Periphery @ Marathon Music Works, 7:30p, $37.37+, Info

🪕 Bronwyn Keith-Hynes @ Dee's Lounge, 6p, $10, Info

🎸 Open Mic Mondays @ Tennessee Brew Works, 6p, Free, Info

🪕 Val Storey, Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle & New Monday @ Station Inn, 8p, $20, Info

💀 Grateful Monday @ Acme Feed & Seed, 8p, Free, Info

🕺 Motown Monday @ The 5 Spot, 9p, $5, Info