Plenty of important (and concerning) things happened in the world this week, as has become typical in the current political and social climate we live in. But for many comic book and pop culture fans, the big news of the week was the passing of legendary Marvel Comics storyteller Stan Lee.
At 95 years old, we all knew the end was coming sooner rather than later. But it’s still hard to believe that we won’t have Stan Lee alongside us to celebrate the elevation of his creations to supreme pop culture. Yet Lee’s death also prompted more celebration than mourning as we remembered what characters like Spider-Man, the X-Men, Fantastic Four and so many, many others meant to us through childhood and into adulthood.
It’s too bad that Lee’s death brought us the nostalgic escape and joy that we needed, but celebrating his legacy certainly provided a welcome diversion — even if it was borne from unfortunate news.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you reading this. Based on my conversations, the holiday jumped on us sooner than expected. But it’ll be nice to have a break, regardless of whether or not you spend that time with family and friends. I have ambitious plans to… watch a lot of TV and movies when I’m not eating. I might have another Not a Newsletter before we dig into our respective meals. Not sure about that yet.
Regardless, I’m certainly thankful that you care enough to stop by. And I’m grateful for both the opportunity to write and express myself. Here’s a Stan Lee quote to take you into this week’s reading:
“The more you read, the better you’re going to become as a storyteller.”
** It’s been nearly impossible to read the dozens (hundreds) of tributes to Stan Lee following news of his death. What’s made them so compelling, however, is reading about how Lee’s creations touched people or the many different paths they took to his work. For example, what She-Hulk meant to Alyssa Rosenberg. Even if Lee didn’t write many of her stories, he created a foundation for future creators to build upon. [Washington Post]
** Last Sunday (11/11), CNN broadcast the very last episode of Parts Unknown. Season 2’s finale covered Detroit and Charlie LeDuff recalls his interactions with Bourdain while he was in town and looks at where they visited five years later. [Deadline Detroit]
** Many of you probably saw this pop up on your timelines this week. But just in case you didn’t, Kevin Alexander’s piece about putting a Portland, Oregon burger joint atop his list of the best in America and the devastating effect that had on the business provokes plenty of thought about these sorts of articles. Becoming a sudden tourist sensation isn’t always a benefit, especially if the business isn’t meant for that. [Thrillist]
** In an unfortunate coincidence, Bill Addison’s list of the 38 best restaurants in America was released this week. Hopefully, none of these places become overwhelmed like Stanich’s. But I’m linking to this because it’s the first time I’ve actually eaten at one of the restaurants on such a list, thanks to A., who took me to Junebaby when I visited Seattle this past spring. Of course, the meal was wonderful. [Eater]
** For the past six months, I’ve tried hard to establish a better work-life balance and feel less burned out. I’m certainly less tired, stressed and irritable. I feel healthier. I’m more pleasant to be around (as far as I know). But I’ve probably suffered professionally. Going by the “four-burner” theory, is it possible to have true balance? [James Clear]
** MTV Unplugged was a sensation for music fans through the 1990s. Even bands that weren’t considered great musicians — like Kiss or Stone Temple Pilots — were elevated by playing their work acoustically. Artists like LL Cool J had their music viewed differently. Both of those perceptions applied to Nirvana, who may have performed the best (or most memorable) Unplugged in 1993. [The Ringer]
** My friend A. and I just talked about our handwriting deteriorating due to typing all the time. I jot down more notes (on Steno notebooks!) than she does, however, so maybe those muscles haven’t completely atrophied. Also, I prefer the basic Bic ballpoint that is celebrated here. Not fancy; just writes well. But I haven’t written in cursive since… probably junior high. [The Atlantic]
** I’ve said in the past that I would’ve loved to be a fullback in college or pro football. Block, hit, run, catch. “It’s just a football position,” says Michigan’s Ben Mason. I’m content to live vicariously through sledgehammer running backs like him that Jim Harbaugh has brought back to Michigan football. [Michigan Daily]
** Having former referees on NFL TV broadcasts to help analyze and interpret particular calls during a game has certainly changed the way we watch football. Fox was revolutionary in adding Mike Pereira to its telecasts. But this may not be a good thing. Devoting so much time to explaining poor calls and rules has arguably ruined the experience of watching a game. [The Ringer]
** This link’s a little bit old because of my procrastination with “newsletters.” But in listening to the soundtrack to A Star is Born, Lady Gaga’s songs stand out far more than Bradley Cooper’s. Maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise, but the movie portrays it as the complete opposite. [Slate]