Tag Archives: Reading

Resolve to Reframe Your Worldview

Last Monday, I posted about lots of little things to add some joy or satisfaction to your day-to-day life. So from the micro to the macro, here’s a few overarching goals you might want to take on for this new year… or for the rest of your life in general.

“The Thinker” by Auguste Rodin

Bear in mind, this list from Maria Popova for The Marginalian gets pretty heavy, but if you’re in the headspace where you’re thinking about how you want to live your life better writ large, there are worse ways than examining the notions presented by some of these folks.

A Cold War that’ll Give You an Ice Cream Headache

Running contrary to the New Year’s notion of doing better for several years running is the McDonald’s Ice Cream machine, a notoriously finicky piece of equipment that has its own online dashboard of failure. And if the efficiency experts in your life don’t gnash their teeth at that, they likely will when they read Andy Greenberg’s article in Wired.

Photo: Gabriela Hasbun

It’s really infuriating to see miserable experiences be standardized, but to see the lengths to which people go to preserve a sucky status quo, well, it may not be surprising, but it is dispiriting (that said, it’s a fascinating read).

WTF NFT?

Non-fungible tokens or NFTs have been a bit a media rage this past year, as a trend, a new investment opportunity, and possibly a silver bullet that contains your daily recommended dose of antioxidants.

I keep thinking, they can’t be as stupid as they sound, can they? You can find out the answer to this and many other questions about NFTs in this excellent article by Vicky Osterweil which, spoiler alert, is called “Money for Nothing.”

Cartoon via Adam Sacks

When Did Those American Colonists Stop Sounding Like Brits?

One of my favorite bits of acting training has been learning accents, not in the least because it dovetails nicely with some of the linguistic anthropology I studied back in the day. Really, it’s those times where deciding to study anthropology and theater really pay off.

“Get ’em lads, or they’ll remove the letter ‘u’ from no end of words.”

Despite such ardor, I couldn’t tell you when us treasonous colonials gave up our British accents, but Matt Soniak and the ever-intriguing site Mental Floss are here to fill that need (at least on a basic Internet level).

Google Uncomfortable with Reining in Cookie Monster

It could be the parts of the web where I roam, but I’ve been reading a lot more about privacy, whether it’s Apple’s recent efforts to make their iOS more inherently private (see pieces in Bloomberg and The Verge) or the growing rumblings of government regulation (see pieces in CNBC and in Recode/Vox).

Strangely, “G” is for cookie, according to the algorithm.

By virtue of simply being online, all of us have been inducted into one or more Big Data Mining ecosystems whereby not only the tech giants like Apple, Facebook, and Google mine away at our identities, but a lot of third-party marketers do too. Many of you probably know about “cookies” in general, but I would guess few of us understand their scope, and not unrelated revenue, to entities like Google.

So this article by Sara Morrison in Recode (Vox) was interesting.

And for those of you who have read this far, thanks for including me in your algorithm for today. I think.

The Best Space Dad?

So it’s a day after the fact, but, hey, I don’t usually post on Sundays anyway — even Father’s Day.

But Father’s Day means it’s time for plenty of geeky dad memes, say of Jango Fett and his many clone offspring.

However, with quite a bit of regularity, someone writes an article about how Benjamin Sisko of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, is one of the best ‘space dads’ around.

I have to agree: even before I was a dad, the relationship between Benjamin and his son, Jake, made quite the impression on me as I watched the series. “The Visitor” remains one of the most powerful episodes of Trek around — and not recommended for anyone trying to keep their eyes dry.

I learned later through interviews and documentaries that this relationship was one that both Avery Brooks and Cirroc Lofton, Benjamin and Jake Sisko respectively, most valued. Not only that, the relationship continued after the cameras stopped rolling.

So, for your reading pleasure, feel free to check out Angelica Jade BastiĆ©n’s piece in Vulture, Clint Worthington’s piece on StarTrek.com, Princess Weekes piece on The Mary Sue, and most recently, Eric Pesola’s piece on Heavy.

Here’s to all the father’s out there, starfaring or not.

If a Supersonic Airplane Doesn’t ‘Boom,’ is it really Supersonic?

So let’s say you’re thinking about traveling again, perhaps even flying. Perhaps you’re wondering what happened to the efforts to make a new supersonic passenger aircraft since I posted about it in November 2019.

Well, you’re in luck! Rebecca Heilweil over on Vox/Recode has an update on Boom, the company working on building new supersonic passenger jets which United is now very keen to start flying.

A big question, however, is not only if they can address the sonic boom through technological improvements, but if there’s a way to make supersonic travel environmentally friendly…

The Rise and Fall of Saturday Morning Cartoons

Tomorrow, your kids may be binge-watching some cartoon on some streaming services. They may even do so whilst consuming copious amounts of Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs. But they will not be viewing a network broadcast slate of cartoons like generations of kids have. Why is that?

Charles Moss in The Saturday Evening Post has your answers in a article so perfectly titled, I just used it above. He also provides a whole lot more detail about the business forces that led to the animation domination of Saturday mornings, the migration to weekly afternoon, and the hang-wringing (in some quarters) all along the way.

Thanks to Netflix on disc (which, incidentally, still exists) and now streaming services, I have quite firmly gone away from almost all “Event TV,” though the threat of spoilers has led to accelerating some viewing.

But knowing that our kids will never know the ritualized weekend kick-off we did? A slight bummer.

Simply Told and Radiantly Illustrated: Appreciating the Work of Eric Carle

Generations of children may feel the world is a bit less colorful as children’s author and illustrator Eric Carle has died at the age of 91.

There’s a great piece by Emily Langer in the Washington Post, where I got the delightfully succinct phrase “simply told and radiantly illustrated” from. There’s also a nice 2-minute piece by Neda Ulaby on NPR as well as a remembrance from the BBC.

Eric Carle and the denizens of Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do You See?, the work with Bill Martin that lit a fire to do children’s books

In these remembrances, you’ll get a sense of not only his career, but his life leading up to a rather life-changing and ravenous caterpillar, including a childhood partially lived in Nazi Germany, depressingly confirmed by him in interviews to be rather devoid of color.

I don’t remember being particularly enamored of Eric Carle’s work growing up even though I recall I enjoyed it. It could be that I discounted its effects as I leaped from picture books to chapter books at a voracious pace. It’s more than likely that I failed to appreciate how much work can go into presenting something simply. For all our interest in magic as kids, we sometimes miss the wizards behind the curtains.

All this changed as a parent, where I got to see firsthand the impact of his books had on my children. And it wasn’t just the books that came into rotation. The animated adaptations were played again and again — and one of my kid’s first theater experiences was seeing a puppet adaptation of several of the stories with me and his children’s librarian grandmother. His face lit up seeing the larger-than-life –and more than a little colorful– caterpillar munch his way through all sorts of prop foods.

It’s nice to know that, in his lifetime, he got to see the joy and color he brought to the world, something delved into by Emma Brockes in a profile of Carle for The Guardian back in 2009.

Thanks for all the colorful memories.

A Singular Ranking of Five Score Sherlock Holmes Portrayals. Most Singular!

I do not know Olivia Rutigliano, but upon starting to read her exhaustive article on Crime Reads ranking 100 portrayals of Sherlock Holmes, I immediately detected that same sort of insanity that drove me to rank all Star Trek episodes. It’s a delightfully thorough list.

Photo collage from the article in question.

I know many of these portrayals, but by Jove, I hardly know all of them. And now, thanks to the assiduous investigation of, one may hope, soon-to-be-Doctor Rutigliano, I can safely avoid some of the dreck.

Much obliged.