Not a Newsletter: 03/10/18


Rather than gripe about the things that got on my nerves and made me angry this week, which has become the favorite intro during the short life of Not a Newsletter, I thought I’d try to tell a story instead.

Timehop is one of my favorite apps, providing a daily social media nostalgia trip. I often enjoy seeing photos I took on that day, links to tweets, or even links to articles I wrote years ago that sometimes seem as if they were written by someone else who was more talented.

But this photo from five years ago popped up this week:


Of all the junk currently cluttering my desk to plant my geek flag and reconnect with my inner child, my Ron Swanson bobblehead is probably my favorite. My niece, then two years old, often enjoyed looking at it (surely entranced by the mustache) and making that head bobble.

But five years ago, she accidentally knocked Ron off my desk, causing his head to snap off. I wasn’t mad. It was an accident caused by a two-year-old. It was just a goofy keepsake. I knew some Gorilla Glue would fix it.

Little did I know that my niece was upset. She didn’t show it by crying or anything like that, though she was surprised when the doll broke. Maybe she expected me to yell at her. But later in the day, she was laying on the floor watching TV and holding Ron’s headless body. Ron’s head was right next to her.

I had to chuckle, but it kind of broke my heart too. I had no idea she was so attached (unlike Ron’s head). Or maybe she just felt bad. Two days later, Ron was restored and she was happy (maybe relieved). Everyone’s been OK ever since.

It showed me how much of a soul this kid has. Five years later, that’s still absolutely true.

The Listening

Normally, this would be “The Watching,” but nothing really gripped me this week. So instead, I’ll just share this, which I also posted on Facebook).

Current ranking of stuff I need to watch/finish on Netflix:

1. Jessica Jones, season 2
2. Altered Carbon (4 more eps)
3. Chris Rock: Tambourine (only watched the first half)
4. Ugly Delicious
5. The Punisher (I know!)
6. Queer Eye

I wanted to embed the new A24 Podcast featuring a conversation between Greta Gerwig and Barry Jenkins, but haven’t figured out how to do so. That’s annoying because this was a big reason I switched to WordPress. Also, it made me late in posting this week’s Not a Newsletter.

** All the Way Home with Barry Jenkins and Greta Gerwig

It’s fun to listen to these two talk about filmmaking, especially when neither originally intended to be a director. How Gerwig came to that realization, in particular, is a story that you would expect to see in a Greta Gerwig movie.

Also, A24 is a stamp of quality in today’s movie landscape. If they made it, chances are it’s a good film — much like Miramax in the early 1990s. With Lady Bird, The Disaster Artist, The Florida Project, The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Good Time, A24 had a damn good 2017, making five of the year’s best movies.

The Reading


** Smart people can come off as awfully dumb when Silicon Valley types step outside their bubble, visit the Midwest, and act like they’re touring another country. (That probably goes for East Coast publications too.) Fortunately for them, those cities and states with far cheaper real estate and open space are all too eager for those entrepreneurs and businesses to move in. [New York Times]

** “We watch how you drive from home to the movies. We watch where you go afterwards.” I’m OK with MoviePass knowing I like late-night grocery shopping if I save money on tickets. [The Outline]

** Burger-flipping robots are our future. That means the rest of us will get the “real jobs,” right? [Washington Post]

** C’mon, man. I’m trying to be good, eating low-carb. Don’t take my bacon away. (Yeah, yeah, yeah — chicken and fish. I know.) [The Guardian]

** Marvel has changed the movie business, establishing a cinematic universe other studios have tried to repeat and creating a brand that seemingly can’t misfire. But what if Marvel sold all of its characters to Sony, which was on the table 20 years ago? (Unfortunately, this is behind a paywall, but I’ll send it to you if you’d really like to read it. ) [Wall Street Journal]

** Former major league pitcher and Detroit broadcaster Lary Sorenson has quite a story, and not in a good way. But after doing time in prison and losing just about everything, he appears to living clean now. It could’ve been a very ugly ending for him, so hopefully he’s on a far better path. [Detroit News]

** Is it better to brush before breakfast or after you eat? What about flossing before or after brushing? Information for life. [Lifehacker]

** Apple’s Air Pods were maybe the first product that I jumped on as an early adopter. Although short supply kept me from buying them right away. (I love ’em, by the way.) I probably wouldn’t have bought them if I wasn’t able to use an Apple gift card I earned from trading back my old iPhone. But maybe I should’ve waited for version 2.0? [Slate]

The Writing


Charles Barkley on SNL: “I’ve been saying whatever the hell I want for 30 years, and I’m doing great”
Alex Rodriguez looks smooth, all smiles in guest appearance on SNL with Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley gets to play Star Wars in SNL sketch that was cut for time

* U.S. women’s hockey star Hilary Knight visited new hockey fan Leslie Jones on SNL, and… created controversy?
Takeaways from the 2018 Oscars: No surprises, not Kobe, Kimmel appreciation, Queen Frances, move on from the flub

* Penny Hardaway? Memphis Tigers reportedly ready for splashy coaching move to replace Tubby Smith

* Who are the playoff favorites in the National League? It’s a trickier question than you think (Roundtable)
* What American network and sport pairing is the most natural and iconic? (Roundtable)

* Rian Johnson did indeed toss out J.J. Abrams’ story for The Last Jedi, according to Daisy Ridley

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