• Matt Sayles/AP
  • Joaquin Phoenix: still here

Reader staffers share stories that fascinate, amuse, or inspire us.

Hey, did you read:

• About how much the gun lobby gave to your congressman? Tal Rosenberg

• That a federal trial starts today involving fake IDs, organized crime, and murder? Mick Dumke

• That there’s more meaning than even Leonard Cohen could ascribe to the bird on the wire? (Basically, there’s this bell curve that dictates the spacing of birds on power lines—and the same pattern repeats itself in the clustering of pedestrians, parked cars, and freeway traffic . . . which reminds me of the time my high school geometry teacher vowed that fractals would change my life.) Mara Shalhoup

Reader contributor Noah Berlatsky writing on the Atlantic blog about the “feminist objection to women in combat.” Tony Adler

• The Slate personal essay that shows how a nondrinker can be as irritating and unfunny as a drunken asshole? Kate Schmidt

• Joaquin Phoenix’s self-effacing acceptance letter to the London Critics’ Circle? Ben Sachs

• Kelly Hogan on touring in vans? —John Dunlevy

• That the Blackhawks are still perfect? Steve Bogira