Sunday, June 13, 2021

Change Washington State to Cascade


Seattle Times – "Take it away, D.C.: Let’s give our Washington a new name"

"Lest we think state names are sacrosanct, note that scholars still disagree on the origin of the made-up “Oregon.” Supposedly the name of “the great river of the West,” Oregon has been attributed to words vaguely connected to Spanish explorers, French fur traders, Midwestern Native Americans and even a tribe in Connecticut.

“Idaho” was simply invented by a deposed delegate from the future state of Colorado. George Willing falsely claimed it was an Indigenous word meaning “gem of the mountains.” When his own territory wouldn’t accept this flimflam and went with Colorado, the counterfeit was applied to the new panhandle territory."

Saturday, June 12, 2021

The Southern Ocean


National Geographic – "There’s a new ocean now—can you name all 5?"

NPR – "Coming Soon To An Atlas Near You: A Fifth Ocean"

Pulitzer Awards Darnella Frazier Special Citation


 – "Pulitzers award Darnella Frazier a special citation for recording the murder of George Floyd"
NY Mag – "Darnella Frazier, Who Filmed George Floyd’s Murder, Gets Pulitzer Nod" – "Here are the winners of the 2021 Pulitzer Prizes"

Special Citation
Awarded to Darnella Frazier, for courageously recording the murder of George Floyd.

American Diet Over the Years


Raiders of the Lost Ark


New York Times – "Four Secrets About ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’"

"Eight months after introducing the world to Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Chewbacca, George Lucas invited Steven Spielberg and the screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan to his assistant’s home in Los Angeles to pitch a new name for adventure.

“Indiana Smith,” Lucas said. “Very Americana square.”

Sighed Spielberg, “I hate this, but go ahead.”

Over the next five days, according to a story conference transcript, the three concocted a swashbuckling archaeologist who fused Humphrey Bogart to James Bond. They gave Indy a bullwhip and a passport — and they tweaked his name.

“Jones,” Lucas conceded, “people can call him Jones.”

That brainstorming session, of course, led to “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” which celebrates its 40th anniversary this month (and is streaming on Paramount+). Four decades later, the iconic hit has become the pivot point between cinema’s past and present. Indiana Jones’s narrow escapes from Nazis, boulders, blow darts, poisoned dates, speeding trucks and, of course, snakes, tip a fedora to the cliffhanger serials of the 1930s — the kiddie adventures that shaped his creators — even as they calibrated their nostalgia into a cross-promotional blockbuster that would define Hollywood’s future."

The Ringer – "The Pulp and Pleasure of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ 40 Years Later"

The Guardian – "Raiders of the Lost Ark at 40: Indiana Jones’s first adventure remains his greatest"

Steven Soderbergh on Raiders of the Lost Ark (October 2014)

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets


New York Times Magazine – "Kevin Durant and (Possibly) the Greatest Basketball Team of All Time"
By Sam Anderson

"The Nets’ Big 3 are almost comically different, physically and spiritually and stylistically. It’s like the opening screen of a video game in which you have to choose your character, each of whom comes with a different set of pros and cons. Do you want the tiny quicksilver thief (Kyrie Irving) or the burly crafty woodsman (James Harden) or the tall ethereal phantom (Kevin Durant)? Choose carefully — your survival depends on it. Somehow, Brooklyn figured out the cheat code that allows you to pick all three."


"But the Durant I met was not at all a brand ambassador. Instead he lowered himself, in slow motion, onto a long couch and asked, sincerely, “What do you want to talk about?” I said, only 20 percent joking, the meaning of life. This seemed to make him happy. We proceeded to sit there and talk for a very long time, sinking deeper and deeper into the couch, about his childhood and Chesapeake Bay and meditation and crabs and Twitter. The K.D. who hosted me that afternoon was relaxed and talkative and full of questions, both rhetorical and actual, and he seemed to have all the time in the world. It felt less like an interview than like a therapy session or a late-night dorm-room philosophy jag.

This was all classic Durant. In a sports world defined by tough-guy posturing and bulletproof messaging, he has always come off as something else: a thinker and a searcher and a wandering soul. In interviews, he will abandon the script of jock clichés and drop right into existential dread. “I go to sleep at night, like, ‘Am I going to be alone forever?’” he once told Zach Baron of GQ. And to Michael Lee of The Athletic: “I’ve been roaming my whole life. I never had no stable environment. Ever. Ever. Since I woke up.” Durant has spoken publicly about how important it is to cry. If Michael Jordan were a Dostoyevsky character, he would be Kevin Durant."


"Not surprisingly, then, Twitter has been the source of a couple of the major gaffes of Durant’s career. He once, excruciatingly, responded to a critic in the third person (“Kd can’t win a championship with those cats”) — thereby accidentally revealing that he was trying to defend himself, anonymously, from a fake account. (The Onion recently published an article called “Kevin Durant Spends All Day Feuding With Own Burner Account.”) More recently, Durant was caught up in a furor when Michael Rapaport, a professional loudmouth, exposed a series of inflammatory messages — including sexually explicit and homophobic language — that Durant had made to him, months earlier, as the two argued in the D.M.s. (The N.B.A. eventually fined Durant $50,000.)"
"What Durant understands, he explained, is that the people writing to him aren’t actually writing to him. Kevin Durant, to them, is just an abstraction, a guy on the TV, a figment of their imaginations. So what they are doing is projecting onto him the pain or hatred or longing that they actually feel about real things in their own lives. This is why he likes to write back. He wants to show them that he is an actual human, just like them, with his own fears and hatreds and longings. He wants to connect with them on that level. Even the angry ones, he believes, have good hearts. Hatred, he told me, is just another form of passion, and therefore a sign that you’re really alive."

Local Sushi


NY Mag – "The Future of Sushi?"
By Adam Platt

"Like most businesses in the city, the restaurant industry is filled, these days, with rumors of disruption and change. Will the tourists come back? (Probably.) Will the rents stay low? (Nope.) Will the business lunch ever return to fashion, not to mention the good old lunchtime salad, munched furtively in your messy cubicle? (Hmm.) Does Daniel Humm’s Twitter-shaking announcement that Eleven Madison Park is going to a meatless menu in the immediate post-pandemic future mean the death of haute cuisine as we know it? (Not likely.) Will the $30 all-beef gourmet burger endure during this urgent, newly reimagined era, never mind the fat-cat, expense-account-fueled New York steakhouse, and will the legions of Zoom-addled sushi bros return to their windowless ritualized omakase bunkers and start forking over thousands of dollars for shreds of endangered tuna ever again?

The big-city steakhouse is probably safe for now, but if you want a glimpse into what the disrupted future might look like for that other fat-cat expense-account destination, the sushi parlor, I suggest you book a seat at Rosella, which opened late last year in a comfortably stylish East Village space across from Tompkins Square Park. The sushi master in residence, Jeff Miller, went to college in Gainesville, Florida, and trained in Austin, Texas, instead of Tokyo, Osaka, or L.A., and most evenings you’ll find him preparing his artful nigiri menu wearing a Florida Gators cap on his head. Instead of a Japanese symbol or character, the restaurant is named after a breed of Australian parrot (Miller first fell in love with cooking in Australia), and unlike in many of the more traditional sushi joints around town, Brazilian funk plays over the sound system along with the occasional dulcet, bouncy song by the Clash.

But the biggest difference between Rosella and your average hushed, priestly pre-pandemic omakase destination is the sourcing of your meal. There are no esoteric shrimp from Hokkaido on the menu or delicate saori (needlefish) flown in directly from the chilly waters of Tokyo Bay. Most of the fish is local or curated from sustainable farms in Europe or around the U.S. The sushi rice, which is mingled with vinegar and sake in the traditional way and mixed in wooden tubs four times per day, is grown in California. The fat pearly shrimp come from the Gulf, the scallops are hoisted from the stormy seas off Montauk, and when Miller served me bigeye tuna one evening, he took pains to explain that tuna was out of season now but that his favorite supplier kept choice cuts in the back of the freezer to send to special clients. "