Saturday, May 29, 2021
Wall Street Journal – "These NBA Stars Are Left-Handed. Except When They Play Basketball."
"LeBron James writes with his left hand, eats with his left hand and uses his dominant left hand for almost everything in his life—except his job.
He is a natural lefty and basketball righty.
This may be the weirdest thing about having a hidden physical idiosyncrasy known as mixed-handedness: It’s actually not that weird if you work in the NBA.
About 8% of the league’s All-Stars over the last decade write with one hand and play with the other, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis based on examining photographs of NBA players signing autographs. "
The Color of Sneakers
New York Times – "The Secret Psychology of Sneaker Colors"
"Aqua blue, acid lime and grape purple. Electric orange interspersed with neon pink. Gray suede and cheetah print mixed with white and gold. These are not descriptions of a minimalist’s worst nightmare, but rather new color combinations from Adidas, Reebok and New Balance. And they are jarring by design.
In the age of the infinite scroll and the era of sneaker culture, where the competition to make the hottest, rarest, most wanted kick is more intense than ever, the shoe that clashes shades with the most force stops traffic — at least of the online kind. As a result, athletic shoe companies are increasingly becoming fluent aficionados of that old art: color theory.
The links between color and emotion have been studied for centuries, from Carl Jung’s color coding of personality traits to focus groups evaluating the ways in which candy colors can affect perceptions of flavor. Drug companies color their pills “cool” or “hot” according to desired effect (hypnotics are often blue or green, antidepressants yellow), and we use SAD lamps in winter to replicate the energizing qualities of a sunny day.
Sometimes the triggers are obvious: The use of Varsity Red, for example, summons up Ferris Bueller collegiate nostalgia; gold and purple call to mind a Lakers game; and white is associated with racket sports. But in fashion, color is also your brand. Fendi is yellow, Hermès is orange and Tiffany is blue. Thus sneaker brands toggle between their core colors and wild experimentation.
New Balance, for example, is rooted in gray, omnipresent every season, suggestive of the urban running shoe, riffing on concrete. “Doing gray right is something we take a lot of pride in,” Ms. Ross said. “Every gray on our color ring has a character and personality: Castle Rock is warm; Steel is a blue tone. With legacy models, we make sure our tanneries never stray. They replicate with precision.”
At the other end of the dial is Nike, with its neon lime Volt color, first seen at the 2012 Olympics. To some it is heinous, to others a masterstroke. “That was an intellectual and scientific choice for Nike,” said Bryan Cioffi, Reebok’s vice president for footwear design. “The first color you read in your optical receptors is that super-bright lime. It’s possibly an evolutionary take from poisonous animals and signals danger. A physical thing happens when you see it. Nike triangulated that and repeated it forever.”
Repetition is how you win the color game. You may see Volt and recoil, but you’ll always think “Nike.” As colors go, it is a paradigm for brand marketing. “We did a complete technology innovation study about how color showed up on HDTV and sports tracks,” said Martha Moore, a Nike vice president and creative director. “We were studying the idea of speed and what color complemented that in the vibration of the human eye. Volt is emotional.”
After a year of living our lives almost wholly online, pixel coloration has become even more key. “We are developing colors that appear lit from within,” Ms. Moore said. “Pixels sitting next to one another create previously unseen colors. They create new neutrals and complex combinations. We are using complex knits of yarns, with bright spots and glows that haven’t been seen before.”"
R.I.P. Eric Carle
NPR – "Eric Carle, Creator Of 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar,' Has Died"
The Atlantic – "How The Very Hungry Caterpillar Became a Classic"
"Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar—in which a caterpillar hatches out of an egg on a Sunday, proceeds to eat vibrantly colored fruits it finds in escalating quantities from Monday to Friday, goes on a junk-food-eating rampage on Saturday, eats a nice green leaf on Sunday, and then nestles into a cocoon for two weeks and emerges a beautiful butterfly—was released 50 years ago, on March 20, 1969. In the years since, it has sold almost 50 million copies around the world, in more than 62 languages; today, according to the book’s publisher, Penguin Random House, a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar is sold somewhere in the world every 30 seconds. And its enduring appeal, according to librarians and children’s-literature experts, can be attributed to its effortless fusion of story and educational concepts, its striking visual style, and the timelessness of both its aesthetic and its content."
Olympic Pin Collecting
New York Times – "Their Olympics Are Already Canceled""But stuffing the national coffers hasn’t been the point of hosting since the price tag for throwing the world’s largest gathering started to soar more than a decade ago. Countries vie for the Games hoping for the ultimate look-at-me moment, a slick, multiweek advertisement aimed at the entire planet.
Beyond making new friends, pin trading is about the quest for obscure, hard-to-find treasures. These include pins from African delegations, because they tend to field small teams. (Burundi’s pins are especially prized; the country brought nine athletes to Rio in 2016.) Any country that has recently changed its name will find itself in the cross hairs of pin traders. That means you, North Macedonia, which will compete at its first Games since Greece compelled it to add “North” to its name. "
Mission Impossible 1
Vulture – "The First Mission: Impossible Is Still the Best"Previously,
Saturday, May 22, 2021
Ford F-150 Goes Electric
New York Times – "The Big Money Is Going Vegan"
Related tweets ...
Gen Z will never understand growing up with parents who basically poured a gallon of milk into your body with a funnel every day because Big Milk told them that if we didn’t drink enough our bones would go soft and we’d turn into pudding people and get kidnapped at the mall— ben mekler (@benmekler) May 22, 2021
at brunch pic.twitter.com/IBN1l4HsP1— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) May 15, 2021
Saturday, May 15, 2021
Plans for Mars
"Advocates of space settlement have long borrowed from an old-fashioned version of the American mythos, which holds that conquering the untamed wilderness of the New World made us better and more democratic as we advanced westward. At least symbolically, space, the final frontier, is sometimes presented as a savage land in need of humanity’s beneficent influence. For a time, SpaceX, the private company run by Elon Musk, called its planned passenger vehicle the Mars Colonial Transporter. (In 2016, Musk announced that the vessel would be renamed, because it might end up travelling “well beyond Mars.”) In recent years, nasa has shifted away from non-inclusive language—the agency now speaks of missions that are “crewed” rather than “manned”—but not everyone has followed suit. “We must remember that America has always been a frontier nation,” Donald Trump said, in his 2020 State of the Union address, while describing renewed ambitions to settle the moon. “Now we must embrace the next frontier: America’s Manifest Destiny in the stars.”"
New York Times – "China’s Mars Rover Mission Lands on the Red Planet"
NFL Starts New Number Rules
NFL – "NFL owners pass rule expanding eligible jersey numbers for certain positions"
"The expanded jerseys will allow running backs, tight ends, fullbacks, H-backs and wide receivers to wear numbers 1-49 and 80-89; defensive backs can choose from 1-49; linebackers 1-59 and 90-99; offensive linemen 50-79; and defensive linemen 50-79 and 90-99. QBs, kickers and punters will remain in 1-19."
Vikings – "Patrick Peterson (Cornerback) to Wear No. 7 Jersey with Vikings"
SI – "Dalvin Cook Sticking With No. 33 Due to Costs of Buying Jersey Inventory"
USA Today – "Falcons TE Kyle Pitts (#8), rookie draft class make debut at minicamp"
SI – "Micah Parsons Gets Jersey No. 11; See All Cowboys Draft Picks' Numbers"
The Underground Railroad
New York Times – "The Epic Journey to ‘The Underground Railroad’"
"For Jenkins, 41, who directed all 10 episodes, the series was by far the most ambitious and personally challenging undertaking of his career. It was shot in 116 days spread over 13 months, with a six-month shutdown last spring and summer because of Covid-19.
To realize Whitehead’s story, about an alternate universe in which the underground railroad is literal rather than metaphorical, the production created antebellum versions of five states (Georgia, where all shooting took place, stood in for the four others: South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana), more than 3,000 costumes (by the designer Caroline Eselin), a 15-structure plantation and a custom, aboveground tunnel for an actual train. In all, the show employed more than 300 crafts people who worked over 16,000 hours of construction."
Fly Fishing with David Coggins
New Yorker – "Fly-Fishing with the Author of “The Optimist”"
"David Coggins, whose book on fly-fishing, “The Optimist,” comes out from Scribner this week, has fished all over. For bass in Wisconsin, bonefish in the Bahamas, salmon in Canada, trout in Montana and Patagonia. But one of his favorite places to fish is a four-mile stretch of water in upstate New York belonging to a hundred-and-twenty-year-old club that maintains a Skull and Bones level of publicity paranoia. So let’s just say it’s somewhere in the Catskills, and that the property includes two waterfalls, a gorge, some lively rapids, a couple of deep pools, and what could be mistaken for the moss-lined walls of an ancient grotto. Indoors, the accommodations are flagrantly unassuming.
Coggins spent a few days there last month, and had both good luck and bad. Fishing for trout in the spring can be trying. The water is high and cold, the fish grumpy and disinclined to rise. Some, newly arrived from the hatchery, seem stunned to find themselves in the wild, dining on bugs instead of pellets. They sometimes clump together, as if for companionship, and, seen from above, barely moving, all facing in the same direction, they resemble, in miniature, a wolf pack from a Second World War submarine movie.
On his second day, Coggins began by casting toward a man-made dam, built to create a nice feeding spot for trout. “There’s a sort of ‘Blade Runner’ aspect to this kind of fishing,” he said. “You know—what’s real, what’s artificial? What about stocking fish? Where do you draw the line?” He threw out a cast and added, “I just think of it all as part of the beauty and the absurdity of the sport.” A few minutes later, he was rewarded with a nice rainbow—a fish that in his book he calls the golden retriever of fish: beautiful, beloved, but maybe not the brightest of its kind."
Sunday, May 9, 2021
Birds of Paradise by Lego
Found on Instagram. Available on August 1, 2021.
RIP Travel Writing Pioneer Geoff Crowther
New York Times – "Geoff Crowther, 77, Dies; Guided Travelers Looking to Get Lost"
"Geoff Crowther, whose advice in artisanal Baedekers and later as a pioneering author for the Lonely Planet backpackers’ guidebooks lured intrepid travelers to offbeat destinations, died on April 13 in South East Queensland, Australia. He was 77.
In the mid-1970s he began creating homespun mimeographed recommendations and hand-drawn maps (often embellished by his imagination) for an alternative publisher and underground information service in London. He developed a cult following among shoestring adventurers, who welcomed his street-smart insider tips to navigating a world largely undiscovered by American and European travelers.
Mr. Crowther aggregated the lowdown from his own travels and — decades before companies like Tripadvisor — from reader volunteers. He might suggest how to score an antibiotic in Bangkok or where to bed down for $2 overnight, even if it meant sleeping on a roof."
Extra Gum – “For When It’s Time”
House of The Dragon (Game of Thrones Prequel Series) Set Photos
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Legendary Simpsons Writer John Swartzwelder
New Yorker – "John Swartzwelder, Sage of “The Simpsons”"
When I asked if you would participate, you said that you typically wouldn’t, but that The New Yorker name has always held a certain magic for you. Did you grow up reading the magazine?
The New Yorker was the home of a lot of writers I liked when I was growing up, including my favorite: Robert Benchley. Benchley was wonderfully funny when he felt like it, and he didn’t seem to work at all. All he and his Algonquin Round Table friends seemed to do was play silly games and try to make one another laugh, leaving the party occasionally to type out a Pulitzer Prize-winning story. After ten years of wasting their talent like this, they had all become rich and famous, won every award you can think of, and created The New Yorker. The lesson to me was clear: comedy writing was the way to go. Easiest job on the planet.
Do you still consider comedy writing to be the easiest job on the planet?
No, sir. I do not.
Do you remember any of the sketches you wrote that made it to air?
“Time Machine Trivia Game,” with Teri Garr. The sketch was about four adults playing Trivial Pursuit while one of their kids, Anthony Michael Hall, was upstairs fooling around with a time machine, changing all the answers.
There was also “Line of Death,” “Guys Behind Bars,” and “Those Unlucky Andersons.” And there was a “Weekend Update” joke I always regretted didn’t make it to air. It was, “Tragedy struck the slopes of Mount Rainier this week when a stranded hiker had to eat the people who were rescuing him just to stay alive.” It got a big laugh in dress rehearsal, but only one big laugh, from one big guy in the back. Everyone else just sat quietly in their seats, waiting for someone to tell them a joke. So it got cut. Too bad.
How much time and attention did you spend on these scripts? Another “Simpsons” writer once compared your scripts to finely tuned machines—if the wrong person mucked with them, the whole thing could blow up.
All of my time and all of my attention. It’s the only way I know how to write, darn it. But I do have a trick that makes things easier for me. Since writing is very hard and rewriting is comparatively easy and rather fun, I always write my scripts all the way through as fast as I can, the first day, if possible, putting in crap jokes and pattern dialogue—“Homer, I don’t want you to do that.” “Then I won’t do it.” Then the next day, when I get up, the script’s been written. It’s lousy, but it’s a script. The hard part is done. It’s like a crappy little elf has snuck into my office and badly done all my work for me, and then left with a tip of his crappy hat. All I have to do from that point on is fix it. So I’ve taken a very hard job, writing, and turned it into an easy one, rewriting, overnight. I advise all writers to do their scripts and other writing this way. And be sure to send me a small royalty every time you do it.
Have you come to appreciate the effect that “The Simpsons” has had around the world?
I like to think that “The Simpsons” has helped create a generation of wise guys, who live in a world where everybody is up to something. If that’s all we’ve achieved, aside from the billions of dollars we’ve made, I’m satisfied.
Sweden in Summer
Google's Campfire Meeting Room Setup
New York Times – "Google’s Plan for the Future of Work: Privacy Robots and Balloon Walls"
"To deal with an expected blend of remote and office workers, the company is also creating a new meeting room called Campfire, where in-person attendees sit in a circle interspersed with impossible-to-ignore, large vertical displays. The displays show the faces of people dialing in by videoconference so virtual participants are on the same footing as those physically present."