comedy, journalism, videos, web

Mostly Memorable Media: Links for July 7

A irregularly published assortment of the best reads on the web.

The future

Whither office parks? Younger workers would rather live and work in cities (NYT). But aren’t cities prohibitively expensive? Seems easier to spruce up these parks with nice strips of restaurants and other diversions. That’s basically what Tysons Corner is doing on a Very Large Scale.

Bubbles vs. climate change: MIT scientists have a Montgomery Burns-ian solution to climate change. Make a Brazil-sized shield of bubbles in space. Not from champagne, sadly. (Freethink)

Photo by pineapplelove 🙂 on


Give up on Manchin already. Try Collins or Murkowski. And just get some climate deal done before the GOP potentially takes the House. (WaPo)

We nearly had another mass shooting July 4. But an anonymous tip led to arrests that may have prevented countless casualties in Richmond, Va. (Axios Richmond)

Who killed journalist Shireen Abu Akleh? We’re not sure it was Israel. But we’re pretty sure it was Israel. (Politico)

News deserts abound … Roughly one-fifth of the country lives in or is likely soon to live in an area not covered by local media, allowing elected officials to do their dirty work unwatched. Newspaper newsroom employment has dropped by nearly 60% since 2005. (Northwestern/Medill)

… while a prominent J-school collapses. The once-proud University of North Carolina journalism school is turning into a wingnut’s plaything. (Poynter)

COVID is outrunning the vaccines. Thanks in part to the FDA’s sloth (Matthew Yglesias). But that’s about to change (Reuters). And these variants continue to be less scary, especially if you have any kind of vaccine protection (Yale). Less than one-third of people studied (disclaimer: it’s self-reported) are even reporting a fever (NBC). If it’s up to me, everyone would either be up to date on vaccines (preventing serious illness and hospitalization) or wear a mask (preventing infection). We don’t have the political will to mandate that, so we’ll have to rely on the honor system. Which would be easier if we were honorable people.

Will Trump ever really get caught in a legal quagmire? Probably, but not by the Jan. 6 committee, which is more about Trumpism than it is about Trump, no matter how many revelations remind us that the ex-president will forever be in the conversation as the Worst Ever. But it’s in Georgia where the man who’s as orange as a peach is likely in real trouble. (The Atlantic)


Why Russians believe the “Nazi” tag in Ukraine: It’s not just misinformation. It’s a different way of looking at Nazis, rooted in WWII:

The common Russian understanding of Nazism hinges on the notion of Nazi Germany as the antithesis of the Soviet Union rather than on the persecution of Jews specifically said Jeffrey Veidlinger, a professor of history and Judaic studies at the University of Michigan. “That’s why they can call a state that has a Jewish president a Nazi state and it doesn’t seem all that discordant to them,” he said

Also noteworthy in this story: “We tolerate in most Western democracies significantly higher rates of far-right extremism,” said Monika Richter, head of research and analysis at Semantic Visions and a fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council. Ouch. (WaPo)

Silly rabbit. Twitter is for journalists! Among U.S. journalists, 69% take Twitter Very Seriously, a number that rises to 83% for young’uns. How many average Americans get news from Twitter? Just 13%. And they say we’re out of touch. Oh, wait, they’re right. (Pew)

And on the lighter side …

Problems explained in pizza: Canadian comedian Julie Nolke is back with Part 7 of her “Explaining the Pandemic to Her Past Self” series, and this one tackles other issues.

Metal marching, I’ve been told! Metal marching, I’ve been told! Keeps our Navy feeling bold. Keeps out Navy feeling bold. Andres Antunes, the man who made Kenneth Copeland’s judgment on COVID-19 go viral (sorry) with a metal remix, has done it again with a terrific Navy marching cadence.

Rock on.

comedy, music, videos

Weird Al-related question: Lamest claims to fame

Lame Claim to Fame isn’t the best track on “Weird Al” Yankovic’s No. 1 album Mandatory Fun, but it’s worth a listen, and the video entertains:

And now it’s stuck in my head. Whenever I think of some tenuous connection I have to a celebrity, I hear the song.

So here’s a quick brainstorm of my unimpressive third-hand connections to famous people:

– My mom interviewed Kim Basinger before she hit it big.

– My freshman roommate went to work in the record business and is thanked on the liner notes of a couple of Barenaked Ladies albums.

– My granddad met Christie Brinkley while she was visiting Florida for a swimsuit shoot.

– My mom’s roommate married Ted Turner. (No, not Jane Fonda.)

– I’ve interviewed David Beckham 1-on-1. (OK, so that’s actually kind of a big one.)

– Alex Morgan called me an idiot on Twitter. (Coincidentally, I stood three feet away from her on Wednesday night.)

– I caught a page of George Will’s speech when a gust of wind blew it away at Duke commencement.

– Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor, once commented that my name was better than being named Bo Diddley.

– I checked into a hotel immediately after Gretchen Bleiler and talked about hotel amenities with her.

– I rode a ski lift with Sarah Hendrickson.

– I saw Bobby McFerrin perform before Don’t Worry Be Happy.

– Belly’s bass player told me not to wimp out and switch to acoustic guitar.

– I replaced Ben Folds as a percussionist with the Duke University Wind Symphony. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense — Ben Folds didn’t go to Duke. (He actually went to Miami and studied percussion but didn’t graduate.) But he was recruited to go on the Wind Symphony’s Fall 1987 semester in Vienna. That was my freshman year, and I had no idea what the Wind Symphony was but got drafted into the group to play string bass. (Which ALSO makes no sense.) I stayed in when the Vienna group returned, then switched to percussion partway through my sophomore year.

I had no idea that this was the least bit significant at the time, of course. I just knew a couple of dudes in Wind Symphony kept telling everyone to go see Majosha play. Turns out that was Ben’s band pre-Ben Folds Five. I didn’t even realize Ben had gone on the Vienna trip until — today, when I asked Wind Symphony alumni about the tie between the Wind Symphony and Majosha.

My journalism career is cheating in a way. I’ve obviously met and spoken with many famous soccer players and MMA figures. I was once in a mob of people interviewing Clint Eastwood (jazz concert at Duke). I did a phone interview with guitar legend Richard Thompson. In the one Duke men’s basketball game I covered, I asked a question of Mike Krzyzewski in the postgame press conference and spoke briefly with Grant Hill. I was in a small group for a postgame interview with N.C. State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow. I’ve met a couple of TV people — Bob Ley, Ian Darke. And I’ve exchanged friendly texts with a couple of legit celebrities.

Anyone else have some good lame claims to fame?

music, videos

Best music videos ever? Well, there’s Radiohead and Foo Fighters

A lot of the selections in NME’s 100 Greatest Music Videos are from what you might call the post-MTV era, so color me skeptical. I might need to go back at some point and check out a few of them.

But the top 10 has some excellent choices, including the wonderfully enigmatic clip for Radiohead’s Just and the clever cooperative dreams that add another layer of sweetness to the Foo Fighters classic Everlong.