Tag: Pop Culture

When cobbling together my Locus books post, I experienced another time dilation, wherein the length of time that had passed since I read certain books did not make any sense at all to me and surely it wasn’t a year ago that I read The Raven Tower and surely it wasn’t November when I read A Memory Called Empire — but it was, and I’m unnerved.

Locus Awards finalists I’ve read (via Arkady Martine): The City in the Middle of the Night, The Future of Another Timeline, The Rosewater Insurrection/The Rosewater Redemption, The Raven Tower, Gods of Jade and Shadow, Pet, Destroy All Monsters, A Memory Called Empire, Gideon the Ninth (current read), A Song for a New Day, Waste Tide, The Haunting of Tram Car 015, This Is How You Lose the Time War, The Deep, The Ascent to Godhood, and A People’s Future of the United States.

Finalists still on my to-read or to-buy/borrow lists: The Starless Sea, Dead Astronauts, and “Binti: Sacred Fire” (if I can find it without having to repurchase all the Binti books in a collection).

Designers and engineers: where are the better design ideas than Saran wrap on PVC frames? (Don’t get me started on the Cone of Silence.) We’ve got to do better than this.

Having just watched Jimmy Carter’s staff fire Bella Abzug on the finale of Mrs. America, I had to pause and go check the historical record. Sure enough, it was a mess.

The President apparently did not tell Mrs. Abzug at the meeting that he was going to dismiss her but, rather, told the committee as a whole that he had been disappointed with the relations between it and the Administration. The group was formed in the wake of the stormy National Women’s Conference in Houston in November 1977 to advise the President on women’s issues.

Mr. Carter was reported to have told the members that he recognized the importance of the group and wanted to work more closely with it, but added that its confrontational politics sapped the strength of the Administration’s efforts on behalf of women.

And, yes: there were mass resignations from committee members in response to her firing.

As of late this afternoon, 23 of the remaining 39 members of the advisory committee had announced that they had resigned to protest the dismissal of Mrs. Abzug, the former Representative from Manhattan.

Wasn’t this “minimally invasive technique […] to activate neurons in the brains […] by using a light source located outside of the head” literally Topher Brink’s contribution to the technology of the Dollhouse?

Take Off, Eh?

“As a child,” my About page says of me, “he drew pictures of wanting to be an outer space moving van driver. As a middle-aged adult, he is not one.” This was, to some extent, inspired by the Orion III Spaceplane headed to the giant, revolving Space Station V in 2001: A Space Odyssey, which I’d seen at five- or six-years old during a theatrical re-release.

The explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger was the first “where were you when” event of my life; I have no memory of the bus trip home from school, or getting from the bus into my home.

For several different Mars rover missions, I spent landing watching the NASA feed at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry instead of alone at home.

Back in 2011, I got to attend a NASA social media event at Kennedy Space Center for the final flight of Endeavor, although I didn’t get to stay through all the scrubs in order to actually witness the launch, or even visit the pad.

I hate Elon Musk. For better or for worse, that can’t keep me from watching today’s historic launch of Crew Dragon, the first time astronauts have launched into orbit from the United States since 2011, as Bob and Doug McKenzie Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley travel to the International Space Station.

More Hands, Less Body

My only regular podcast at this point is Social Distance from Katherine Wells and James Hamblin of The Atlantic. Today’s edition (“Is Anyone Else Not Showering?”) focuses on this Daily Mail post ridiculing Hamblin’s hygiene habits — or, more accurately, misconstruing both his hygiene habits and health advice based upon a promotional appearance for his forthcoming book, Clean: The New Science of Skin.

The podcast usually is an informative interview bookended by mutually-chiding banter between the hosts; this edition skips the interview segment. Highlights include Wells (who sounds like Jewel Staite) announcing that her Purell “has been liberated from its bladder”, Hamblin explaining that “we sold people so much soap that we had to start selling conditioner”, and a brainstorming session as to how to reduce Hamblin’s 90,000-word book down to a marketable catchphrase as a way to seize control of the internet’s apparent lack of nuance. I’ve titled this post for Hamblin’s own late-in-the-show suggestion.

For the record, I am a not-daily shower person, mostly for reasons related to regulating my available resources (or “spoons”), but I do at least actively wash up at the sink on a daily basis.

The methodology behind that state-by-state binge survey is totally nonsensical.

To determine each state’s favorite show during the COVID-19 outbreak, CableTV.com surveyed 6,852 people, asking what they were watching while sheltering at home. The most popular titles were then analyzed using Google Trends data to discover which shows each region of the US was searching between March 1, 2020 and April 21, 2020.

What does search activity have to do with this? Why didn’t the survey simply ask what state people lived in?

‪After weeks of trying, I think I‘ve determined that I simply cannot get through the three fan-conversation episodes of The Good Place: The Podcast. Someone let me know if there’s any particular interview that’s especially good and where it is in which episode.‬

That television feeling when you thought it was bad enough you had to suffer through the Alias episodes about Noah only to look up a little bit later to realize Sydney Bristow is in blackface in order to pose as an Arab jihadi.

I dropped Killing Eve and I don’t listen to Taylor Swift, but this story spinning out of this week’s episode is pretty spectacular.

Dan Hon, briefly discussing a novel he’s writing, says, “[O]ne phrase I had to write down in conversation with a friend figuring out part of, well, the fundamental conceit of the novel, was ‘edit wars for infrastructure’ in a world where software has eaten, well, the world” — and honestly all I could think of was that I’d once described Annalee Newitz’s The Future of Another Timeline as “SJWs vs. MRAs across the wiki of Time”.

“Why hasn’t Margo Timmins ever sung a duet with Natalie Merchant?” I’ve wondered while reacquainting myself with Cowboy Junkies in recent months. She has, and I am transported.