Friday, September 25, 2015

Morning Coffee (9/25/15)

Happy Friday!

Me elsewhere: Rosewood will fill the "mindless procedural" hole in my viewing schedule nicely. Limitless was fine, I guess.

Dan Snow started a podcast!!!!

This is FASCINATING: ‘This Goes All the Way to the Queen’: The Puzzle Book that Drove England to Madness

YA author Saundra Mitchell makes some important points: Feminism, Footnotes and Female Spaces in Boybandlandia

The most Instagrammed food? Pizza. Yes, I'm slightly surprised it isn't coffee. And now I want pizza. Let's go get some pizza!

Speaking of Instagram - did I think the fact that this profile of a rich New York teen with lots of followers existed was kind of ridiculous? Yes. Did I read every word anyway? Yes. Do I want to go watch Gossip Girl now? YES.

Printed books: not so dead after all.

!!! Man Builds 'Dog Train' To Take Rescued Pups Out On Little Adventures !!!

Please read the Fug Girls on Dorothy Parker's famous fresh hell line being credited to Ryan Murphy. "And for further reference, just in case, Ryan Murphy also didn't write any of the following: 'Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn;' 'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife;' or 'All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.' JUST IN CASE."

Ooh, pretty: Dazzling Photos of Russia's First Annual Pyrotechnic Festival

Songs from a Bon Iver Album In Which Everyone Is Emotionally Stable and Living in the Suburbs

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Morning Coffee (9/24/15)

Me elsewhere: new show reviews! The Muppets was better than I expected. I liked the world-building in Minority Report. Blindspot was resoundingly meh.

And ICYMI, I started a running ranking of new fall shows, now updated with Rosewood and Limitless.

A little late, but important: You Have to Be an Actual Moron or a Wannabe Dictator to Want Your Wife's Face on the $10

Did you catch what Ben Carson said about Muslims and the Constitution?

Welcome to hell: Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook and the slow death of the web (I've never used ad blockers and with all this stuff currently going on about it I feel so VINDICATED.)

I've been so frustrated with the way people are talking as though Ryan Adams took Taylor Swift's worthless girly pop music and made it SUDDENLY GOOD, so I was very happy to read Todd VanDerWerff's take.

I also recommend Todd's take on peak TV.

Confession: This headline distracted me while I was in the middle of scheduling a tweet. The internet is full of distractions. Here are 7 tips to help you focus.

Paging C.J. Cregg: A Californian Highway May Get A Cougar-Only Overpass

Oh, here's the real story behind that Putin/Elton John hoax.

I'm not surprised that someone is premiering a fashion line on Snapchat, but I'm a little surprised that it's Burberry.

Signs The Vaguely-Named Building In Your Local Strip Mall Is Actually A Church And Not A Coffeeshop-slash-Art Space (I had this exact conversation in real life yesterday. Me: "I need a new writing cafe." Friend: "Bonhoeffer's downtown is good." Me: "Bonhoeffer's? That must be part of a church." It is.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Running Ranking of New Fall Shows

Since making lists and judging things are practically my two favorite things . . . why not keep a running list of my personal ranking of the new fall shows? I'll add to it as I watch things, and adjust if my feelings changed based on later episodes. (If I watch later episodes.) Note: This is how much I LIKE things, not just an evaluation of quality - there are certainly shows that I think are reasonably effective at doing what they're trying to do, but what they're trying to do is not something I enjoy. And we obviously all have all sorts of conscious and unconscious biases, but I've tried to ignore truly external factors, like "That actor was a jerk to me once" or "They cast my friend."

To the rankings!
  1. Grandfathered
  2. Quantico
  3. The Grinder
  4. Life in Pieces
  5. The Muppets
  6. Minority Report
  7. Rosewood
  8. The Bastard Executioner
  9. Limitless
  10. Blindspot
  11. Code Black
  12. Heroes Reborn
  13. The Player
  14. Blood & Oil
  15. Scream Queens
  16. Dr. Ken

Morning Coffee (9/23/15)

New show reviews! I liked Life in Pieces. I did not like Scream Queens.

Sad news: Yogi Berra has died.

Huh. Serial's next season will be about Bowe Bergdahl.

There was clearly no GOOD way the Baby Doe case could end, but this story is just terrible.

Okay, some GOOD news: Ta-Nehisi Coates is writing a Black Panther comic!!

Alyssa Rosenberg's piece about world-building in Minority Report and The Man in the High Castle is fascinating. (My Minority Report review is going up today, so I'll link it for you tomorrow.)

At New York Private Schools, Challenging White Privilege From the Inside

"Happy Birthday" is now in the public domain and xkcd is on it.

Speaking of comics, I love Defunct's take on the Emmys.

Heh. The Onion: Pope Francis Reverses Position On Capitalism After Seeing Wide Variety Of American Oreos

Miserable Tambourine Players in Western Art History

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Morning Coffee (9/22/15)

Me elsewhere: I don't know if I can deal with In the Heart of the Sea.

Let's have an all-quote edition today, just 'cause.

"(Abélard was eventually castrated after fights with Héloïse’s family, a detail Compaq executives were unaware of at the time.)"

And a differing Fiorina take: "If the US has a bad couple of years, she can't just go buy Canada."

"St. Francis and Donald Trump have only one quality in common, but it is crucially important: neither can be bought." (Max Weber is so SOOTHING.)

This this this: "My objection was that if we—as consumers and producers and purveyors of news—decide that we will simply ignore the existence and arguments of every pundit, candidate, or religious dissenter to whom we object, it doesn’t in fact make them go away. It simply takes us out of the conversation."

"Brain surgeons, long burdened with the onerous reputation of being among the smartest people in the world, are expressing relief that the Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson is shattering that stereotype once and for all."

"It's said that Mary wanted Cecil to buy a set of curtains at the auction," says Stonehenge's curator, Heather Sebire. "And he came back with something rather different." (Stonehenge. He bought Stonehenge.)

"Beyond the ability to feed yourself, it doesn't fucking matter if a million people love you or five people do."

"Do you happen to have a baby picture of Andrew Jackson?
What’s the weather going to be like in Nashville five months from today?
Does this look infected to you?"

Monday, September 21, 2015

Morning Coffee (9/21/15)

Me elsewhere: The week's TV news and some thoughts on The Martian.

PSA: Apparently in five states, including New Hampshire and New York, drivers' licenses will soon not be sufficient ID to get on a plane. So THAT's annoying.

Fall TV season gets underway today. I'll be reviewing the first episode of each new show as we go, but to get you started, Kate Aurthur's 8 Fall Shows To Be Excited About, 10 To Give A Chance, And 6 To Avoid is a good read and tracks pretty well with what I've heard from others who have seen a lot of the shows in advance.

Two highlights from the Emmys last night: Andy Samberg's peak TV musical number and Viola Davis's acceptance speech.

Important: Fleeing Syria: A Desperate Migration

Everyone who cares about books or publishing should read this: I Gave A Speech About Race To The Publishing Industry And No One Heard Me

Here's the terrifying anti-Muslim conspiracy theory that Trump's supporter was citing

I need to see if there were any updates to this story over the weekend, but Paul and Rubio aides got in a bar fight??

Today in "It is 2015 and I cannot believe we're still talking about this:" American Academy of Pediatrics Reiterates Safety and Importance of Vaccines (Similarly, I was at the NH Democratic Convention over the weekend, and it's so surreal that "climate change is real" and "women should get equal pay" are still controversial things that become huge important applause lines.)

This debate length infographic (comparing the transcript to books) is DELIGHTFUL.

"'See yon tall and stately figure across the hall?' Ana asked, guiding Morgana’s arm in the direction of the man who had drawn the attention of the entire room merely by entering it. 'He is your cousin.'

'That,' Morgana said delightedly, 'explains the fond and platonic feelings I felt for him once I saw his face!' She looked forward to meeting him. How uncomplicated it all would be."

Friday, September 18, 2015

Morning Coffee (9/18/15)

Happy Friday! Let's ignore Trump for the moment.

!!!! The BBC is launching an online subscription service in the U.S. !!!!!!!

In other important import news: Canadian All-Dressed chips are coming! They are MY FAVORITE chip flavor. (It says for a limited time but maybe if we buy enough they will stay?)

Here's the National Book Award fiction longlist.

Sweden is a treasure.

I'd somehow missed the fact that Ryan Adams is doing a whole album of 1989 covers, but oh my God.

It's Friday. Let's look at how Minnie Mouse influenced fashion.

It's Friday. Let's ogle fall coats.

It's Friday. Here's a kitten and a baby waking up from a nap.

It's Friday. MORE KITTENS.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Morning Coffee (9/17/15)

Me elsewhere: I'm reviewing the first episode of all the new shows again this year. First up: The Bastard Executioner. Also: teasers for Miss Peregrine and Allegiant.

I saw this Ted Cruz scorpion ad on TV for the first time last night and it was SO bizarre. And I did NOT get the message at all - when it was talking about harmful people striking again, and showing cowboy boots, I assumed he meant Bushes. Or Clintons.

I'm sure everyone has been telling you to read Ta-Nehisi Coates's new piece, but seriously: The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration

Here's the National Book Award nonfiction longlist (including the aforementioned Coates). I feel like there's more personal writing and less history than in previous years? Not that that's BAD, necessarily, but there were fewer things that made me think "Ooh, I want to read that" than usual. (Fiction longlist out today.)

That said, I loved this piece on writing in cafes, which combines personal history with history history. The most productive writing spot for me ever was the cafe at the Borders where I used to work. Like 2k words an hour good. Discounted drinks, people I knew around ALL THE TIME if I needed a moment of interaction, some say over the music, it was basically like being at home and in public at the same time. RIP Borders. Anyway, this has made me conclude that I need to find a good local writing cafe. (Though if you're near Cheshire, CT, let me take a moment to recommend Cheshire Coffee, which my dad and I discovered this weekend when we had a crumb cake/coffee emergency while driving home from New Haven.)

This story about Putin (not) chatting with Elton John is amazing. Did someone just . . . prank call Elton John? That's what's going on here, right? I want it to have been, like, Ringo. Ooh, or Prince Harry.

An important thing to keep in mind during refugee discussions: For Those Who Remain in Syria, Daily Life Is a Nightmare

Ooh: CIA declassifies collection of cold war-era intelligence memos (Actual conversation I had at dinner the other night: How the End of the Cold War Ruined Everything. [Okay, maybe not everything. We were talking mostly about the Olympics and the space program and spy fiction.])

Speaking of: Do real spies write the best spy novels?

"HELEN: I personally prefer to live alone
GILBERT: is this some sort of code
I just don’t like company

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Morning Coffee (9/16/15)

Me elsewhere: The fourth Divergent movie has a new name, and I made you a TV premiere spreadsheet.

This is terrible: Irving 9th-grader arrested after taking homemade clock to school: 'So you tried to make a bomb?'

Shocking breaking news: Study Says Women Are Still Underrepresented on TV in Front of the Cameras and Behind the Scenes

Hmm: HP Will Cut as Many as 30,000 More Jobs After Split (I realize Fiorina is not directly responsible for any of the HP split debacle, but it's still . . . interesting timing.)

My friend Libby has smart things to say about Matt Damon, Project Greenlight, and systemic racism.

Facebook is making a Dislike button, and they say it's to allow people to show empathy for bad news, but is that really how people are going to use it?

Here’s Why Eastern Europe Is So Much More Antagonistic to Syria’s Refugees than Western Europe

I desperately need this ice cream truck purse, and as usual there's a lot I like in the Kate Spade show (in that slideshow).

"BEOWULF: hey Grendel
say hi to your mom for me"

Monday, September 14, 2015

Morning Coffee (9/14/15)

I decided to take a vacation day to get myself organized and work on some projects and enjoy the fact that it's cold and rainy, and I'm SO HAPPY ABOUT IT.

Me elsewhere: TV news for the week and some thoughts on the Concussion trailer and debate.

Important: The War on Women Is Over - And Women Lost

Well, it's been a nice run, humanity: Robot mother builds and improves its own children

Wow: Why drivers in China intentionally kill the pedestrians they hit.

Bye, humanity, part two: Scientists are reawakening a ‘giant virus’ frozen in the Siberian wilderness

9/11 Conspiracy Theories: Inside The Lonely Lives Of Truthers, Still Looking For Their Big Break (There's an interesting/random Veronica Mars connection in there!)

I'm not sure why the New Yorker decided to profile gay mystery novelist Michael Nava right NOW - so far as I can tell he doesn't have a new book out or anything - but his Henry Rios series is great and you should all read it.

This is the sort of thing that makes me SO HAPPY we have Vox: What's the deal with that Aretha Franklin documentary?

Men Wearing A Military Helmet And Nothing Else In Western Art History

Friday, September 11, 2015

Morning Coffee (9/11/15)

(It is, of course, September 11th; I have nothing particularly original to say about that, so I'm going to continue with usual happy Friday links, with the assumption that today of all days making some cheerful distractions available is not a terrible thing.)

Ahaha: When Cookie Met Sally. (With the "I'll have what she's having" bit, and this is why Sesame Street is the best.)

A bunch of my friends are in a fun webseries called Social Medium and they have a nifty new trailer!

My friend Carrie wrote a great piece about The Young and the Restless and soaps in general that made me want to go watch my soap of choice (Coronation Street).

The best possible response to that Victorian piece: I Love 2012. So I Decided To Live In It.

The Martin Luther figurine was Playmobil's most successful new product ever, and I find that fascinating.

One of the main characters in the Captain Underpants books came out in such a refreshing, matter-of-fact way.

Heeee: Taylor Swift: A Socratic Dialogue

Tumblr of the day: Nihilisa Frank

All you wanted to know about Sherlock Holmes in 17 vintage charts

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Morning Coffee (9/10/15)

Not a link, but: I watched the Colbert Late Show premiere on demand last night - it will forever baffle me that there are enough people routinely awake that late to make late night TV a thing, because I AM NOT - and it was so enjoyable, and I think that's the first time I've watched an entire episode of any network late night show, so well done, CBS. (Oh wait, I do have a related link: if you're interested in the business of TV, this interview with CBS CEO Les Moonves is great.)

New emoji are coming! Everyone's talking about the taco and burrito but I'm pretty excited about CHEESE. (I'm always excited about cheese, regardless of context.)

This makes me feel so much better about my entirely emotional attachment to the monarchy: Long live Queen Elizabeth: Why monarchies are better than republics

Related: If you're a certain kind of person (like me) you probably want to click through 49 slides of the Queen's hats.

And: Sixty Years of Queen Elizabeth II Faking Fascination With Extremely Mundane Things Even if you don't like the monarchy philosophically: this lady has a job and she works extremely hard at it.

I will never tire of reading about the maple syrup cartel, and Louise Penny should really consider this for a future book. (Hi Tahleen!)

I would also like someone to write me a novel about high-powered South Korean teachers, please.

Here's that "living like Victorians" thing everyone was going on about yesterday, in case you were, um, living like a Victorian and somehow missed it. You guys know I love history and even I thought I was going to break my eyeballs from rolling them so hard at this. (Having had open heart surgery makes these things pretty clearcut: I would not have wanted to be born much earlier than I was, because then I'd be dead.)

"Put simply, if a tech company introduced the human as a product engineered to drive cars, it'd go out of business."

Ayn Rand's Charlotte's Web

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Morning Coffee (9/9/15)

Me elsewhere: I'm not sure how to feel about the Shannara trailer.

Today Queen Elizabeth II becomes England's longest reigning monarch, passing Queen Victoria. Let's look at some rarely seen pictures of the young Elizabeth. (You know you pay too much attention to these things when almost all the "rarely seen pictures" look familiar.)

Fascinating and important: Jihad and Girl Power: How ISIS Lured 3 London Girls

NOPE: "Trump said that his experience at the New York Military Academy, an expensive prep school where his parents had sent him to correct poor behavior, gave him 'more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military.'"

Speaking of: Nixon sent Trump a letter in 1987 saying Pat Nixon thought he should run for office. SO. (Yes, Dad, this one was for you.)

Sam Smith is doing the new Bond song. I am . . . underwhelmed by the choice, but had to bring you an article that features someone called Barbara Broccoli who is apparently a real person and not a Sesame Street character.

I really feel like Julie Plec understands me on a deep level.

I'm excited about PBS's new Civil War drama Mercy Street, but it's going to take some time to see Josh Radnor as an old timey surgeon without just giggling. (In the video linked there he says his character is arrogant. That must have been SUCH A STRETCH for him.) (I mean, because of his HIMYM character. I have no reason to think Radnor himself is anything but delightful.)

"hi i’m so sorry to bother you
it’s me
Dante Alighieri
from life?
from being alive?"

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Morning Coffee (9/8/15)

Back to work!

A day late, but important: The Forgotten Radical History of Labor Day

YA (and some other) authors, led by Patrick Ness, have raised over £500,000 for refugees. I'm glad to have had a very small part in that. (It's still going! Not too late! Publishers are starting to kick in matching donations at certain milestones, so head over and give a little if you can.)

Ooh, the BBC World Service is expanding, including new plans for Russia and North Korea. (I love the BBC World Service. I have it on in my car almost all the time.)

I have somewhat mixed feelings about this Wikipedia scandal. I mean, obviously the extortion part is bad, but doesn't everyone assume any sensible person/company is policing (or paying someone to police) their entry??

This is indeed a good list of New England towns to visit, but BuzzFeed clearly has no idea what the word "tiny" means. Nor "hidden." PORTSMOUTH IS NOT A SECRET, YOU GUYS.

Seeing Freedom in Their Future, Psychics Reveal All: ‘It’s a Scam, Sir’

Let’s All Laugh At This Awful Casting Notice For Moment, Shall We?

Awesome: Book or Beer?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Morning Coffee (9/7/15)

I know I said I might take today off, but! I had to come tell you that the remastered The Civil War is starting on PBS tonight. I've never seen The Civil War, somehow, so I'm excited, but even if you saw the original, you should probably read Alyssa Rosenberg's piece on the remaster and consider giving it a try. And make sure you check out this interactive graphic that shows the differences. It's really neat.

Me elsewhere: Lots of TV news!

I've seen several friends asking for basics on the refugee crisis and why it has suddenly become such a big thing, so here's a combination of three pieces that I think do a good job of making things clear while not eliding too much of the complexity: start with the New York Times's Desperate Crossing interactive photo essay; then read Vox's explainer; then head to Slate for We Could Stop More Refugee Children From Drowning. But We Won’t.

Inside Jeb Bush’s fall strategy to deflate Trump and court conservatives

I'm curious to see the outcome if Iowa Democrats have satellite caucuses and Republicans don't. It's not like the parties are up against each other at that point, so relative turnout doesn't matter in that way, but how will it affect the type of candidates who do well (and get momentum) or don't?

The Witches of Salem is what finally pushed me over the edge to resubscribe to the New Yorker. (I tried giving it up to save money. I lasted eight months. It was TERRIBLE.)

The Fascinating Afterlife of Peru's Mummies

I have fond memories of a school field trip to the Wadsworth Atheneum, and I'm curious to see its big new renovation.

The Onion: I-90 Adds Lane For Drivers Traveling Cross-Country To Stop Woman From Marrying Wrong Man

Sunday, September 6, 2015

What heat wave?

It's a million degrees outside but I've been wanting to bake something all week and it's a long weekend and WHY NOT. A friend posted pictures of blondies she made a bit ago so that was in my head, and I figured I'd try the recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which is, by the way, my favorite food blog - interesting but not fussy, the right level (for me) of narrative chattiness without making me say "just get to the recipe already," and - most importantly - every recipe of hers I've tried has WORKED. This one was no exception!

This recipe may be the platonic ideal of a certain kind of workaday baking for me - all ingredients I keep on hand anyway; lots of options for variations (this time I added scotch - yes, that's a listed option! - and pecans and semi-sweet chocolate chips I had sitting leftover in the fridge); comfortingly elemental measurements - a stick of butter, a cup of sugar, an egg; one bowl; easy to mix by hand if you don't want to lug out the mixer; no fancy finishing or decorating. And - by the way - DELICIOUS. Go make some blondies!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Morning Coffee (9/4/15)

HAPPY FRIDAY! And happy three-day weekend, to those who have one! I am planning to mostly stay in my house and catch up on work and gift knitting and maybe bake some cookies, and I'm honestly REALLY EXCITED about it. But I'm going to give you a few extra links today in case I go crazy and SLEEP IN or something on Monday.

"It looks just like Tinder but it's not actually a way for cats to find relationships. It's much more like a Hot or Not for cats."

I suggest you take two minutes out of your day to gaze at Ireland being pretty. (A few comments here: 1. It showed me an Ireland tourism ad before the video. VERY GOOD AD PLACEMENT. LET'S GO. 2. I feel like they're overstating the isolation of the Aran Islands a bit. "One island even has a bank"? One island has a SPAR, with a normal grocery selection and at least an ATM. 3. People do, in fact, get around in those horse carts. It was the only way to get to our B&B when we went.)

This is, in fact, what I want scientists to be working on: longer-lasting ice cream. (I'm not joking. Ice cream is very important to me.)

Royals and Their Dogs

"Lance Corporal Derby XXX was unavailable for comment." (You should click through. Lance Corporal Derby XXX is a SHEEP.)

Because the Hallmark Channel loves me and wants me to be happy, they're doing a new Fall Harvest series of movies.

In other fall news: Here's the Pumpkin Spice Latte Instagram account! If you click through there's a way to get one early.

Here's a great interview with the Fug Girls about The Royal We and more. (If you're a Kindle person and haven't read The Royal We yet, it's currently $3.99. I expected to like it but I LOVED it.)

"The real bishop said: 'My admiration is enormous - if my life depended on it, I couldn't knit a bishop.'"

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Choose Your Next Book (Related, sort of: Do you guys want book reviews? I kind of want to write book reviews. I don't know. It's September. I want to take on ALL THE PROJECTS.)

7 Inanimate Objects That Are Actively Plotting Against Us (Trust me, it's adorable.)

The Timeless Allure of the Art of Knots

If Alexander Siddig Were Your Boyfriend

Thursday, September 3, 2015