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Category: Culture

In Which the Chronicler Expounds His Enduring Affection for Certain Bits of ST:TOS

In Which the Chronicler Expounds His Enduring Affection for Certain Bits of ST:TOS

What did I latch onto for comfort viewing the past two nights? Star Trek: The Original Series. Gosh, what a wonderful vision of daring and exploration into the unknown. Of course, this effusion is helped along by my sticking to several opinions of the [insert arbitrary and fawning superlative here] episodes of the original series.

In many cases, they’re a group of, well, adventurers, D&D/RPG-style. The rough & tumble nature of their whimsy is all in service to the story they’re telling week to week. Even so, the best moments focus on the relationships between. Insight into these characters is what makes them so compelling, and the show relevant and even inspiring.

There are so many moments that touch me. The earnest desire to understand the unknown, the sheer bravado. I’m kinda moved by a lot of these 60s teleplays.

So what’s this got to do with art? Art is an adventure, of course. If requires we feed our desire and expand our horizons, to outer space if need be.

I Could Pick Out a Quotation at Random From Hodgman, but This is a Typically Great One

I Could Pick Out a Quotation at Random From Hodgman, but This is a Typically Great One

When you live in New York or any big city, it is easy to fail at growing up. The city is designed to keep you in a state of perpetual adolescence. You never need to learn to drive if you don’t want to. And even if you do drive you can go back to that bar you went to when you were twenty-one, and it will still be there, and it will still be called Molly’s, and the older waitress there will still remember you and let you sit where you want. And feel be years later, when she is no longer there, when there is just a picture of her above the bar on a place of sad honor, and you know what that means and you don’t want to think about it, guess what: you do not have to. Because no one is driving home, and you’re back again, listening to “Fairytale of New York,” which is still on every jukebox, falling into the same conversations you had with the same friends in the ’90s: about how the internet is going to change culture, and what you are going to do when you grow up.

— John Hodgman, Vacationland

Returning, Briefly, to Digital Hygiene, and a Reason So Many of Us Are So Frustrated, Angry, and Short on Time

Returning, Briefly, to Digital Hygiene, and a Reason So Many of Us Are So Frustrated, Angry, and Short on Time

A recent episode of Note to Self (I highly recommend subscribing) was a repeat, but also a really, really good one. It’s an overview of the ways social media companies are driven to manipulate us, honing algorithms that ever more selectively push our buttons.

Our psyches are exploitable, and even with no malice intended, we’re taken advantage of without even knowing it. It’s more important to take time out for perspective, for reflection, for people face-to-face and hand-to-hand.

You Need Distractions Today, I Can Tell, and Here Are Three Short but Amazing Things

You Need Distractions Today, I Can Tell, and Here Are Three Short but Amazing Things

J. Mascis, the (usual) singer & guitarist for Dinosaur Jr., knocked out a karaoke version of Tom Petty’s “Don’t Do Me Like That” in Provincetown.

Here’s a gallery of some physical versions of art for Magic the Gathering cards.

And, since those are relatively brief, dig this wonderful archive of present-day objects repurposed as Star Trek props in various iterations of the franchise.

Little Unpleasant Tasks Can Contribute to a Bigger Creative Picture If You Own Them

Little Unpleasant Tasks Can Contribute to a Bigger Creative Picture If You Own Them

It’s a part of most retail jobs that employees have to do certain chores that may be gross or filthy. Cleaning bathrooms and floors, dealing with trash, wiping down fixtures and windows. These can seem demeaning, and I’ve thought so on more than one occasion.

They aren’t, though.

I was thinking about their place in work of all kinds, and it’s not just that you have to do them, I think they contribute, weirdly, to a bigger picture.

They’re small cogs in a larger machine, just like you, if you’re one of those workers. But you have to do the same kind of maintenance at your own house, and there’s no shortage of cleanup in art, either. These tasks relate.

They also interrelate. An attitude of reverence toward your tools and tasks carries over to the important work, the art itself. Working a job is valuable training in maintaining the harmony of everything unseen in the art you make. It supports and frames it. It makes it possible to forget about everything but the art itself.

Sir Paul Still Charms the Pants Off Everyone

Sir Paul Still Charms the Pants Off Everyone

I finally got around to seeing the Carpool Karaoke featuring Paul McCartney, and it was typically wonderful. I really can’t get enough of Paul just being his alternately down-to-earth and godlike-famous selves—the latter of which he dubs “Him”—but this was a cut above. It must be terribly hard, sometimes, to reconcile being a person who just wants to walk around in the world as a normal human with a concept people want to worship and get a piece of, everywhere you go. I’m continually amazed by the grace he displays of such relentless recognition. I’m sure it’s hard.

So many of us think we want to be famous, and should think harder and longer about what it might mean. There’s little controlling it if it happens.

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day

Canada, I love you and your many artistic wonders. I always have.

Growing up, I came to rock music late, but it was Gordon Lightfoot (Mom was a big fan), then Joni Mitchell and The Guess Who. I discovered Rush, a permanent fixture on my musical psyche just as I started high school, then Triumph and Saga. SCTV overshadowed every other television show. In rapid succession, I realized most of my favorite media was of Great White North origin.

There were painters like Philip Guston, Agnes Martin, comics like Cerebus, more comedy from Kids in the Hall, and too many bands to name them all here, like Big Wreck, Our Lady Peace, Sam Roberts, Joel Plaskett, The New Pornographers, Tegan and Sara.

Never mind hockey, the only pro sport I follow.

You have my admiration and my heart, neighbors. May it always be so.