Blog Archives


If a Worldview can be Destroyed by a Novel, the Problem is not the Novel

You may wonder what authors think about when their books are banned, so why not frequent vlogger and author John Green who found his book, Looking for Alaska, in the crosshairs of censors. I should note this particular video is from 2016, referencing the top challenged books of 2015. There’s usually a lag time compiling the data: while it’s interesting, it’s not necessarily pressing.

However, the video is also under 3 and a half minutes and –assuming you’re not put off by the editing style that presents him as a hyperactive Q flitting to either side of the video frame– he covers a lot of philosophical ground in that time.

He notes one of the challenges to the book involved one person reading one page and raising high dudgeon on that basis alone. I’ll delve into the phenomenon of how flimsy many of these book challenges are later this week.

In the meantime, enjoy his thoughts on books, society, and what goes on in school superintendent offices.


Mid-life Crisis Royale

Let’s say you’re contemplating whether you or a loved one is currently experiencing a ‘mid-life crisis,” and you’re wondering why that is, what that means, and who came up with the concept anyway.

The Royal Society has your back. Just be prepared for some very British references.

Keeping on brand, the lecture is over 40 minutes, but not over 60.

Honestly, based on the level of research Professor Mark Jackson has put into this, I’d be interested in a much longer lecture or series of lectures, but it’s still quite interesting.

They also have a brief Q&A video which, thankfully, is not tedious due to actual questions and answers.


Andor: the Star Wars prequel (to the prequel)

Rogue One is my favorite of the new (read: Disney) Star Wars installments by a country parsec… although I do agree with the honest trailer in several respects. So, from that perspective, it’s hard for me not to like the trailer for the upcoming series, Andor.

In fact, there’s no compelling argument for me to not look forward to the series. Cassian Andor, as presented in the film, is a capable, if haunted, rebel operative. The trailer hints at an origin story not only for him, but for the formal Rebellion. And it promises to have the right amount of dirt and grime that I enjoy in the various Star franchises (e.g. DS9 in Star Trek, SGU in Stargate).

Also, I’m predicting right now: we’re all going want “Mr. Fermenting” to have an ugly end.


Neil Gaiman here. What is the Nature of your Mythological Emergency?

I had a lot of reactions when I first read The Sandman in the previous millennium, but one of them was noting how clearly Neil Gaiman adored mythology and storytelling through history. American Gods, Anansi Boys, and more recently Norse Mythology all cement this observation. The connection between Gaiman and mythology isn’t exactly a secret these days, which, combined with the debut of the TV incarnation of The Sandman, is likely why Wired decided to have him field a slew of mythology questions from Twitter. Enjoy!


Those Wacky Theater People: Sweeney Hamilton Edition

This past weekend, seeing as it was Independence Day and all, I had an opportunity to introduce my sister to what comfortably remains one of my favorite musicals: Hamilton. Little did I know that the cast once did a version of Hamilton’s opening number as if they were the musical Sweeney Todd, another one of my favorites. Of course, given the hijinks (and shenanigans and tomfoolery) are endemic among theater folk, so I suppose I should have expected this:

And for those of you who now are thinking about musical mashups, check out Parade‘s ranking of a bunch of movie musicals (many, but not all of which also started life on stage) and start drafting alternate lyrics…


I Want My Two Dollars!

Seeing we’re in a American history kinda mode, why not revisit a bunch of myths and facts about the two dollar bill. But they don’t stop there, get ready to enjoy several ingots’ worth of numismatic facts!


Say, what do the Brits think about July 4th?

Thanks to us living in the age of memes, I frequently see and sometimes post things like this right around this time:

But what do the Brits really think these days? I mean, after all, we’ve got a special relationship with the UK that gets its own Wikipedia entry!

Well, trust a Brit to break it to you gently:

Note: there’s actually several YouTube videos on this subject if you really want to check out variations on a theme, but I liked this one.


News You Can Use: French Fry Edition

Look, I didn’t know this… and odds are, you didn’t know this. In fact, one of you stumbling across this will exclaim, “I have leftover fries right now.” Enjoy.


Cities… but Why?

Play enough Civilization and you ponder why the AI places cities where it sometimes does. I’m pretty sure said AIs have never watched this video by Wendover Productions.

Now, if you’re wondering why cities exist in the first place, well, first off, lovers of both Civilization and SimCity will look at you sadly… or maybe longingly, knowing how many accumulated hours, month, and years you haven’t been playing Civilization and SimCity.

More importantly, however, you can watch this video by Wendover Productions.


Fine. The Whole History of the Planet. I guess…

So, last week, I figured we Internet denizens needed a dance break (and hey, being a movie buff, it was a good mash-up), so why not do another video post? This time, it comes from the musically-inclined Bill Wurtz (technically, bill wurtz?)… and it gives a summary of the whole planet (human-centric, naturally).

Note that there is not-safe-for-work (NSFW) language and it’s irreverent throughout, including at least one event that you would like to get more attention.

But it’s damn fun.