Tag Archives: Reading

Friday Movie Night: Cult Edition

What with my biennial Favorite Films sort, I have a soft spot for many an internet film list, especially when it’s clearly crafted with passion (as opposed to, say, the need to fill electronic print space on deadline).

So I was totally down with this list from the gang over at The Ringer detailing the top 50 cult films of all time.

Still from the wonderfully quirky UHF (Orion Pictures/Cinematographer: David Lewis)

Now, I would venture that the appear of cult films is often why they are not broadly popular: said films by definition have an unusual perspective. If they were foods, you’d take a bite and wonder what the heck you just tasted. And for some of these films, it’s a flavor profile and mouthfeel you just don’t like.

So don’t expect to love all the films in this list. I certainly don’t. But if this gives you something new to check out this weekend, well, that counts as a win.

Not Always Solemn with Possible Swearing: Inaugural Trivia

I don’t want ye olde blog to go without updates for too long, but I also gotta take care of some other stuff offline. I confess some of the delay in getting to those offline things has been checking out the many fun articles about all sorts of odd inaugural trivia. Enjoy! (there will be a test Thursday).

I’ve known some of the people involved with set-up and can confirm a bipartisan attention to detail. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

Raise the Fungal Radiation Shields!

I’d heard earlier that a particular radiation-loving fungus had been observed near Chernobyl, but this article by Stephen Johnson in Big Think explains how they’ve been testing it for SPAAACE TRAVEL.

Specifically, they’ve been testing it on the International Space Station with the idea that some form of this radiotrophic fungus could help shield astronauts bound for Mars.

So, in other words: really, really cool.

And will I work this into some future episode of Rogue Tyger? Yes. Yes, I will.

2020: The Year We… What’s With the Monolith?!?

I saw this last week, but decided to hold off, because I didn’t want to dwell on it, but here it is: a metal monolith was accidentally discovered in the middle of the Utah wilderness and although it’s probably made by humans, the level of effort to get it and “install” it like it’s some weird “think-piece” in the middle of nowhere is deeply weird.

In other words, it’s peak 2020.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen as more people venture out to look at it –despite its exact location not being public knowledge– but Stephen Colbert already has a film idea.

UPDATE: This is what I get for trying to do my posts in advance. As of Sunday, it disappeared!

SECOND UPDATE: Now a another monolith (or is it the same one?) has appeared in Romania!

THIRD UPDATE: Okay, so space elves did not abscond with the Utah monolith (Probably).

FOURTH UPDATE: And now there’s a monolith in California?!? COME ON, 2020!

FIFTH UPDATE: I don’t know if I can keep up with this…

Oh, and also as of 12/7/20, there’s a slightly different cousin monolith on the Isle of Wight.

America and Mass Transit

WMATA/Shutterstock/Madison McVeigh/CityLab

Hey! Since we here in the United States are not traveling so much on this traditional week of travel, how about we take that time and read this longform article by Jonathan English all about mass transit in the United States. It unearths some assumptions about what mass transit is and can be and how those assumptions developed over the past 100 years or so.

Besides the fond memories evoked by seeing the picture above (I was there for the grand opening of Washington’s Metro — you were able to ride free all day), I also found his premises interesting.

Banned Book Week, 2020

Librarians, archivists, and bibliophiles are well represented in my family, so I’ve always enjoyed Banned Book Week.

Since many library systems are closed due to the pandemic, many of you probably can’t saunter over to your local library and see their cool “Banned Book” displays. The site does have plenty of resources to read and download — as well as the always interesting top 100 books challenged or banned.

That list also provides me with one of my annual activities: reading one of the books on the list that I haven’t read before. This year, it’s Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, one of those well-regarded books I’ve missed.

If you are looking for something insidious to do this week that will possibly expose you to some new perspectives and definitely piss off The Man, I highly recommend it.

John August on Professionalism

Back in 2006, writer John August wrote (and presented) a really great talk called “Professionalism and the Rise of the Amateur.” It drew on his own experience as a writer, but it could be applied to other jobs — basically, anywhere where you’re trying to be “professional” — and what that word means, really.

Well, lots of things have happened since then, as he recounts as he revisits and expands (and corrects) some of those thoughts in “Professionalism in the Age of the Influencer.

Both are worth a read, but feel free to skip to the second one if you’re pressed for time, as he recounts some of the larger points.

20 Minutes Later into the Future

Max Headroom is one of those series I definitely need to rewatch, as it feels like it’s disturbingly more prophetic than we’d like these days.

Bryan Bishop over at The Verve has put together a lengthy oral history of the show and pop culture phenomenon. Check it out!

“Every winner begins as a loser”

This past weekend, I was talking about the National Theater Institute of which I am quite a happy alumnus. They practice a maxim of “Risk. Fail. Risk again” which is kind of like the positive spin of the War Boys’ outlook in Mad Max: Fury Road. Same flamethrower guitars (metaphorically), less desolation.

I’m pretty sure this was a movement class we took. My memory is hazy.

But that’s all artsy stuff, what about science? This is where David Noonan writing in Scientific American comes in. Apparently, some folks did some “big data” crunching and have a theory that an integral part of success is failure.

And if that isn’t something to motivate you on a Monday, um, I guess focus on being shiny and chrome?

Spock, Chabon, and This Mortal Coil

From “Q&A”

If you’ve checked out any of the anthology series “Short Treks,” you’ll know the arguable standout thus far is the first season’s “Calypso” co-written by Michael Chabon.

Chabon, probably better known to many as an award-winning novelist, also wrote this season’s “Q&A” and is the showrunner for the forthcoming Star Trek: Picard.

When I saw a behind-the-scenes photo of Chabon and the Vasquez Rocks (a popular Hollywood “exotic” filming location and one very storied for Star Trek), you could just tell his connection to Trek.

It was very evident for “Q&A” and now from this piece in the New Yorker, one now knows just how personal Star Trek is for him. And if this pain, love, and loss can be found in Picard (and I suspect it will), then I am loking forward to it more than ever.

I could have put this in my final Crisis of Infinite Star Treks post, but this article deserves to be read now.