Saturday, July 27, 2019

Internet on Language

New Yorker – "Is the Internet Making Writing Better?"

Wall Street Journal – "Yes, You Actually Should Be Using Emojis at Work"

Did we ever really need cars?

New Yorker – "Was the Automotive Era a Terrible Mistake?"

"For years, I counted this inability to drive as one of many personal failures. More recently, I’ve wondered whether I performed an accidental kindness for the world. I am one of those Darth Vader pedestrians who loudly tailgate couples moving slowly up the sidewalk, and I’m sure that I would be a twit behind the wheel. Perhaps I was protected from a bad move by my own incompetence—one of those mercies which the universe often bestows on the young (who rarely appreciate the gift). In America today, there are more cars than drivers. Yet our investment in these vehicles has yielded dubious returns. Since 1899, more than 3.6 million people have died in traffic accidents in the United States, and more than eighty million have been injured; pedestrian fatalities have risen in the past few years. The road has emerged as the setting for our most violent illustrations of systemic racism, combustion engines have helped create a climate crisis, and the quest for oil has led our soldiers into war.

Every technology has costs, but lately we’ve had reason to question even cars’ putative benefits. Free men and women on the open road have turned out to be such disastrous drivers that carmakers are developing computers to replace them. When the people of the future look back at our century of auto life, will they regard it as a useful stage of forward motion or as a wrong turn? Is it possible that, a hundred years from now, the age of gassing up and driving will be seen as just a cul-de-sac in transportation history, a trip we never should have taken?"

Queen & Slim

November 27, 2019
Written by Lena Waithe (Master of None)
Directed by Melina Matsoukas
Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloƫ Sevigny


September 13, 2019
Written & Directed by Lorene Scafaria
Based on "The Hustlers at Scores" by Jessica Pressler
Starring Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Lizzo, Cardi B

Friday, July 26, 2019

Prescribing Time Outdoors

Outside Mag – "The Nature Club – Inside the Health Revolution That Could Change Your Life"

"For health care providers, there are two reasons to prescribe nature. The first has to do with what it may do for us. Exposure to nonthreatening natural stimuli, scientists have discovered, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress-hormone levels, promotes physical healing, bolsters immune-system function, raises self-esteem, improves mood, curtails the need for painkillers, and reduces inflammation. One leading theory is that these stimuli—the scent of plants, the sight of trees swaying in the breeze, the sounds of birds, streams, and rustling leaves—combine to activate the unconsciously controlled “rest and digest” functions of our bodies, which are regulated by our parasympathetic nervous system. These functions are suppressed when a threatening stimulus, whether a venomous snake or an aggressive work e-mail, triggers our sympathetic “fight, flight, or freeze” system. If that response stays active long enough, our immune, digestive, reproductive, and psychological health suffers. In an increasingly urbanized world, in other words, nature cues our brains to shift us from a depleting to a restoring state. “The environment of our original adaptation is all outdoors,” says Chao-ying Wu, a pediatrician in Bellingham, Washington. “It just makes sense.”"

Aaliyah 2001

Pitchfork – "Aaliyah - Aaliyah – 9.3"

"Internally, there was a concern that her career would flounder, that she would not be able to match Kelly’s production and songwriting elsewhere. But with members of the Supafriends—Timbaland, Missy Elliott, and, eventually, the late Static Major—by her side, Aaliyah easily eclipsed her work with Kelly. “Tim and I were new producers," Missy told Rolling Stone in 2001. "From day one, she had that much faith in our music that she treated us like we already sold a million records, when we hadn't sold anything yet. She really helped make us what we are today.” The gamble paid off. Where Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number was defined by Kelly’s rote new jack swing and carried by her vocal depth, One In A Million was clever, fun, and forward-thinking. A couple of years later, “Are You That Somebody,” a single made for the Dr. Dolittle soundtrack, changed everything: Aaliyah wasn’t just sweet and sly; she revealed herself as endearingly weird and aspirationally cool—over a bizarre drum pattern and the sample of a baby’s coo, at that.

Aaliyah took that many steps further. By the time she began working on the album in 1998, she had developed an interest in both the experimental and traditional, and her collaborators on the album—the Supafriends as well as producers signed to her family’s Blackground record label—were up to the task. She veers wildly, but cohesively, between the futuristic, triple-time experimentation of singles like “We Need A Resolution” and “More Than A Woman” and the throwback soul of “Never No More” and “I Care 4 U.” It was Aaliyah’s voice that strung it all together. Her falsetto had earned an edge, and her multi-part harmonies, arranged ingeniously, added grace and texture. Even Timbaland’s grating, awkward raps and ad-libs are softened.

This time, Aaliyah had added Static, who’d cut his teeth working with Ginuwine and in the R&B group Playa, as a writer. The result was something that diverged from the pop language du jour, yet somehow remained in conversation with it. Though Aaliyah hadn’t yet become a writer, she was inordinately good at picking songs, absorbing them, and interpreting through her bright, wispy soprano. The album’s singles—“We Need A Resolution,” “More Than A Woman,” “Rock The Boat,”—are among her best, boldly off-kilter, imaginative, and alternately mellow and razor-edged. But the deep cuts are just as solid. “Never No More” is an emotional song about enduring and then rejecting abuse at the hands of a partner, “U Got Nerve” and “I Refuse” are formed around a similar suspicion and self-assurance. Her primary currency was an effortless cool matched only then by Janet Jackson and, all these years later, by Rihanna."


Monday, July 22, 2019

Randy Moss's Rookie Season

The Athletic – "‘This isn’t going to be fair’: An oral history of the arrival of Randy Moss"

The Origins of TC

Quora – "What does the "C" in the Minnesota Twins logo mean?"

"When Calvin Griffith moved the Washington Senators to Bloomington, MN, the key to getting all area sports fans interested in the team was if they could bring the long time rival Minneapolis and St Paul citizenry together. Griffith wanted to name the team the Twin Cities Twins. Major League Baseball didn’t like that idea because teams before then were named for one particular city, not a region. So, a compromise was had and the Twins became the first professional sports team to take the name of an entire state to be their home.

But before the name was settled, the Twins has their uniforms designed for the Twin Cities Twins, with the interlocking TC as the cap insignia. Also a move as to not alienate the citizens of either city, the team kept the TC logo. An “M” for Minnesota was considered, but the local sports folks were afraid the people of St Paul would be offended, thinking the M stood for Minneapolis. The interlocking TC stuck until 1987 when an M design was adopted. In the 2000s, the TC was brought back because of nostalgia and because the Twins were courting Minneapolis and St Paul and a few suburbs to build them a new stadium.

Another story I’ve heard was that, from the time they moved to Minnesota until they sold the team in 1984, the Twins were owned by the Griffith family, most notably the brother and sister team of Calvin and Thelma. Some over the years have speculated the TC was kept all those years for these two folks."

Frank Lloyd Wright's Gas Station of the Future

Atlas Obscura – "Frank Lloyd Wright Gas Station"

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Legendary LA Mansion, the Ennis House 
Arnold's House

Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Creative Gateway of Hollywood

New York Times – "‘The Town Hall of Hollywood.’ Welcome to the Netflix Lobby."

NY Post – "Eddie Murphy, Netflix close to $70M deal for standup comeback: report"
Netflix Designs Own Font

Self-Help and "the line between IRL and URL"

The Ringer – "The Twitter Account That Wishes You Well"

Never Seen Gone With the Wind

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Collecting 1984 Olympics Artwork

Sothebys – "The Hobby of Collecting: the 1984 Summer Olympics"

"For sure, I think that I was also obsessed with the identity. The designer, Deborah Sussman, passed away a couple years ago. She was the creative director and spearheaded the whole identity, and one of the pieces I have in my collection is the original style guide, the brochure that shows the full design language of the Olympics. The columns, the pedestals, the colorways, the flags, it was just so wild and funky and eighties and kind of Memphis-y. I loved it, and it encapsulates that time so well. It's a period piece."

The 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics
The Planned Venues for the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympics

The New NBA: Pick-Up Duo Friends

The Ringer – "Are We Witnessing the Death of Dynasties in the NBA?"
By Dan Devine

Dance Like Nobody's Watching

Monday, July 8, 2019

Bowling Alone

New York Times – "Will Gen-Z Save the World?"
By David Brooks

"There is some sort of hard-to-define spiritual crisis across the land, which shows up in rising depression rates, rising mental health problems. A survey that the Pew Research Center released late last year captures the mood. Pew asked people to describe the things that bring meaning to their lives. A shocking number of respondents described lives of quiet despair:

“I no longer find much of anything meaningful, fulfilling or satisfying. Whatever used to keep me going has gone. I am currently struggling to find any motivation to keep going.”

“It would be nice to live according to my being rather than my blackness. I will never know how a totally worthwhile life will feel because of this.”

“Drugs and alcohol are the shining rays of light in my otherwise unbearable existence.”"


"The Pew survey reveals a large group of Americans down the income and economic ladders, who are suffering from economic scarcity, social scarcity and spiritual scarcity all at once. Less educated people were less likely to say that friendship was a source of meaning in their lives. They were less likely to say hobbies were a source of meaning, nor was learning, nor good health nor stability.

When people overall described the sources of meaning in their lives, they stuck close to home. Nearly 70 percent identified family as a source of meaning, followed by career, making money, and practicing a spirituality or faith. Only 11 percent said learning added meaning to their lives. Only seven percent said that helping others was a meaningful part of their life.

If you ask philosophers how people fill their lives with meaning, they usually point to some version of serving a cause larger than self. William James said that meaning was found in tireless struggle on behalf of some sacred ideal. Susan Wolf says that meaning is found in active engagement in important projects.

But the meaning of meaning seems to have changed. When people in this survey describe meaning, they didn’t describe moral causes or serving their community, country or God. They described moments when they felt loved, satisfied or good about themselves. They described positive personal emotions. As one respondent put it, “It’s easy to forget what’s wrong in the world when you are pretending to be a puppy with your daughter.”

It’s as if people no longer see life as something that should be organized around a specific vocation, a calling that is their own way of doing good in the world."

The TWA Hotel at JFK

New York Times – "Martinis at the Bar. Sinatra on Repeat. The TWA Hotel Sells a Jet-Age Fantasy."

The Boeing 747 ... “the powerful symbol of global civilization”


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Sunday, July 7, 2019

World Cup Champions

U.S. Women's National Team's Discrimination Lawsuit Against U.S. Soccer

Hallway Series

From Arash Markazi: "When @STAPLESCenter opened @LeeZeidman had a wish list. As the arena gets ready to celebrate its 20th anniversary he might finally get to cross the last thing off his list. “I want to see a ‘Hallway Series’ between the Lakers and Clippers in the playoffs.”"

Los Angeles Times – "Lakers, Clippers have Staples Center dreaming of a ‘Hallway Series’"

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

I'm a Dragon