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Overzealous Recycling 007: Was that just a pose?

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— If you missed the last Overzealous Recycling, you can read it here —

I’ve been following a lot more people on Twitter recently, largely to try and get more views in my timeline. That’s increased the noise on my TweetDeck, but I felt like I wasn’t seeing as much stuff as I wanted to while trying to keep my follower count lean.

No, I haven’t been adding more conservative political views or anything like that. Most of the follows have been culture writers, especially people who either work in the comic book industry or cover it, to try and learn as much as I can for The Amusement Park Podcast or my own writing.

Along the way, I’ve noticed a few writers linking to their Muck Rack page, a database for journalists and public relations professionals. (I think it was Meg Downey, writing for DC Universe, who first got my attention.)

This reminded me that I created a Muck Rack page for myself a couple years ago. I had actually forgotten! I’m even a verified journalist there! My avatar was a photo of baseball player Munenori Kawasaki wearing a Cubs cap, which means I posted it in 2016. So I figured it was time to wipe off the cobwebs and update that thing.

I’m guessing a few PR people found me that way, but I’m hoping some editors and hiring managers might be browsing Muck Rack as I’m actively seeking new work. I’ve linked the page on my Twitter bio as well, but you can find my Muck Rack page here.

You’ll Be Deeply Missed, Nick Cafardo

Baseball — and baseball media — lost one of its best with the Boston Globe‘s Nick Cafardo passing away this past week. Cafardo was 62, which is just far too young. It’s just about the same age my father was when he died, which made this resonate a bit more.

I think it was impossible to cover or follow baseball — as a beat reporter, columnist, blogger, or a fan — without reading Cafardo’s work. His Sunday Notes and On Baseball columns were extremely insightful and enjoyable. As a baseball writer, they were indispensable for learning what was going on throughout the sport.

Cafardo had been with the Globe for 30 years, covering the Red Sox for the past 15 years after a stint reporting on the New England Patriots. He covered the Pats just as their long run of success under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady began. And the Red Sox won four World Series championships while he followed the team.

It just doesn’t seem possible that we won’t have another baseball season with Cafardo’s information and insight. Condolences to his family, including his son Ben, who many of us have worked with through ESPN’s PR department. Cafardo will truly be missed.

Grocery Store Playlist

It’s been a couple weeks since I went grocery shopping long enough to listen to some music. But I finally ran low enough on food that I needed an extended visit. So here’s a new playlist.

This time, I shopped at Trader Joe’s, if you think any of these songs (the David Lee Roth version of “California Girls”? Really?) don’t sound like current supermarket fare. The frozen and cheese sections are particularly loaded, which allows for some good listening.

10 to Read

** I have spent most of the past nine months trying to find a better work-life balance, veering dangerously close to whining about it. I think I’m in a good place now, though may have leaned too far toward the “life” side of the equation. Is trying to “balance” those parts of your life creating an unrealistic expectation? [Fast Company]

** Mahershala Ali could win his second Best Supporting Actor Academy Award Sunday night. (What if it happens while many of us are watching him in the True Detective finale?) In college, he was a role player known for his defense with Saint Mary’s, then going by Hershal Gilmore. [Washington Post]

** Speaking of the Oscars, I feel less interest for this year’s awards than I have in the past. (Though I’ll still tune in Sunday night, of course.) I think a big reason for that is because the movie that looks like the best to me, A Star Is Born, seems to have lost momentum since its October release. Is it bad to be the front-runner four months out? Do some knock A Star Is Born for being a remake? [Vulture]

By the way, I think Green Book is going to win Best Picture. Just a vibe. I don’t think it’s the deserving winner. 

** This is a fun list of spaceship reveals in pop culture. But my favorite didn’t make the cut. I love, love, love the scene in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek when James Kirk and Leonard McCoy see the U.S.S. Enterprise for the first time. (OK, Michael Giacchino’s score helps — a lot.) [io9]

A close second, which is on io9’s list, is Rey and Finn finding the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Abrams knows how to reveal spaceships, man.

** “I’m good at two things in this world: throwing baseballs, and pissing people off.” Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer is a major asshole, and he knows it. Maybe lay off harassing young women on social media, dude. You can see why he clashes with teammates and coaches. But he’s also kind of fascinating. I’m sure I’d like him a lot more if he pitched for my team. [Sports Illustrated]

** If you saw Alita: Battle Angel (I thought it was really impressive visually, but only OK, story-wise) and are curious about the original manga source material, this is a good introduction. Personally, I’m always fascinated by how a movie adapts a book, which stories and characters are used, and which are left behind. [Kotaku]

** It probably shouldn’t be a surprise that DC Comics canceled the publication of a book in which Jesus Christ returns to the world and is dismayed to discover that most people worship an all-powerful superhero. The comic was going to be released under DC’s Vertigo imprint. Writer Mark Russell and illustrator Richard Pace will be able to publish Second Coming elsewhere, however. [SYFY]

Musical Interlude

I saw on Facebook that Paul Westerberg’s Suicaine Gratification was released 20 years ago. This was Westerberg’s third solo album, following 14 Songs and Eventually.

Yes, 20 years ago makes me feel old. But I just listened to the album recently while going through old CDs and it sounded so fresh to me. Westerberg really seemed to have progressed as a songwriter by then.

** Greg Pak is a comic book writer, filmmaker and Rhodes Scholar with whom you may or may not be familiar. His experience as a freelancer has led to some good insight on taking opportunities, even when they’re not exactly what you want, knowing when to say no, holding yourself accountable for your mistakes, and how to engage a potential audience. [ICv2]

** Should we say “no” more often in our personal lives, in addition to our work lives? Maybe that helps eliminate life clutter and reduce stress. I’ve probably gone a bit too far in this direction, and sometimes think I should say “yes” more often. In work situations, however? I burned myself out. [The Guardian]

** I ate jackfruit as a meat substitute for the first time last week. Prepared with a lemon-garlic sauce, it was pretty good! I’d like to try it as a pulled pork substitute, but every time I’m at a BBQ joint, I’d rather have the real thing. I’ll do it someday soon, though. [The Guardian]

I’d even consider buying a jackfruit next time I visit the Hong Kong Supermarket in Norcross, Georgia, where boxes of the giant, spiky fruit are on pallets. But they’re like the size of an infant, and there’s a lot of smell and slime to deal with once you cut through that outer shell.

Weekly Affirmation

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Overzealous Recycling 002: Nothing really matters, anyone can see

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This week’s cover photo alludes to Bohemian Rhapsody‘s surprising Golden Globe Awards win for Best Picture – Drama. The voters of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association thought the Queen biopic was better than Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, A Star is Born and If Beale Street Could Talk. (I haven’t seen Beale Street yet, but hope to take care of that this weekend, now that it’s opened in Asheville.)

Obviously, this is all subjective and awards don’t matter that much, but come on. Bohemian Rhapsody was fun and a testament to the greatness of Queen’s music. But the narrative was a mess and the script played with the facts more than necessary. Yes, the re-enactment of Queen’s 1985 Live Aid performance was tremendous, even more so when you compare it to the real-life footage.

Bohemian Rhapsody reminds us Queen was great, ignores too much about Freddie Mercury — 

This isn’t even a concession to popular tastes. If so, wouldn’t Black Panther have won that award? Maybe the voters just got caught up in the music and Freddie Mercury’s story (regardless of how the movie portrayed it). Or we just chalk this up to being the Golden Globes and winners don’t linger in the memory as they do with the Academy Awards.

But if the award got you to listen to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “We Will Rock You” or “Radio Ga Ga” over the past week, that’s not a bad thing.

Musical Interlude

Well, it has to be a Queen song after all that, right?

Writing Outbox

The rebooted Star Trek movie series might be finished, which I wrote about for the Amusement Park Podcast website.

Maybe there’s still hope, but with “Star Trek 4” on the shelf (and the film’s director, S.J. Clarkson, moving on to direct the Game of Thrones prequel pilot), it doesn’t look good. That cast is probably moving on to other things too. Unfulfilled potential is always disappointing.

10 to Read

** Reading more is a perennial New Year’s Resolution for me. I’ll argue that I read a lot online, but it’s not the same as reading books. I almost put “Aspiring Voracious Reader” in my Twitter bio. I envy those who devour books. Maybe my problem is that I don’t give up on books I’m not enjoying? Setting a goal is probably better, though. [Strand Book Store]

Right now, by the way, I’m reading How to Be Alone by Lane Moore and because we’re in the midst of the NFL playoffs, Gridiron Genius by Michael Lombardi. For the past 10-12 years, I’ve read a lot more nonfiction than fiction. This year, I’m reading some novels. I haven’t decided where to go yet (though Warren Ellis’s Normal is the current front-runner) and welcome your suggestions.

** Are you drinking coffee as you read this? (I’m enjoying some as I write this.) Would it surprise you to learn that coffee — organic beans ground properly, brewed at the right temperature, etc. — is a key part of the Portland Trail Blazers’ pregame preparation, 35 minutes before tipoff? A caffeine jolt is necessary when Portland is so far from every other NBA city. [ESPN]

** Peeing frequently is a symptom of diabetes, but I also drink a lot of water. (Typically, I drink about 100 oz. per day.) So what is considered normal? Apparently, I’m OK for how much I drink. (I actually counted last weekend; I went 14 times over a 24-hour period.) [The Cut]

** Another nonfiction book that will be on my reading list is Tommy Tomlinson’s The Elephant in the Room, in which he writes. This is a must-read for me. Not just because of how the topic relates to me, but also because Tomlinson is a wonderful writer and beloved figure in the sportswriting profession. Here’s an excerpt. [The Atlantic]

** Have you watched Bandersnatch yet? We reviewed it on last week’s Amusement Park Podcast, but apparently didn’t go as deep in the hole as we could have. I’m not sure I want to watch it again, but knowing that even more endings exist is certainly intriguing. Overall, Bandersnatch was a really fun, ambitious endeavor by the Black Mirror team. [TV Line]

** Chelsea Janes is going from covering the Washington Nationals to Washington D.C.’s true sport: politics. Some of the best sportswriting today comes from the reporters who cover the Nats: Barry Svrluga, Adam Kilgore, and Janes. I’m excited to see what she offers from the national politics beat. Janes is off to a good start, following Elizabeth Warren in Iowa. [Washington Post]

** I’m against the idea of MLB banning the defensive shift, though I understand why baseball is concerned about less scoring and fewer balls in play. Though the shift seems like a relatively new concept, its origins actually go back to the 1940s when teams were trying to stop Ted Williams. [FiveThirtyEight]

** Until reading this, I didn’t quite realize just how bad group restaurant dinners can be. I thought I disliked them because they were usually family gatherings. But a few birthday dinners where people didn’t at least contribute to the birthday boy or girl scarred me for life. [Lifehacker]

** It took me a long time to embrace non-superhero, alternative comics. But even when I wasn’t reading Love and Rockets, I knew it was there. The art and colors by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez were so eye-catching. When I visited the Fantagraphics store in Seattle last May, I wanted to buy all of those books and bring them home. [SYFY Wire]

** If NFL teams put as much creativity into their front office and coaching hires as they did with circumventing the Rooney Rule (which mandates interviewing minority candidates for head coach and general manager positions), more of them might be successful. [Bleacher Report]

Weekly Affirmation

Naturally, from noted motivational speaker, Ice-T:

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