Smalltalk through masks is hard; I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at last night’s six-theatre Sondheim tribute

If you said hello to me recently and I didn’t seem interested in smalltalk, but just raised my eyebrows, made friendly sounds, and drifted on, I hope I didn’t seem indifferent. I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at the Lamp Theatre last night, but it was also kind of overwhelming. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly bad at recognizing faces (see this Post-Gazette article…

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Birthright, Part 2 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 17) Worf teaches traditional ways to young Klingons in Romulan prison camp

Rewatching ST:TNG The Klingon captives tell Worf they had no chance to fight their Romulan attackers at Khitomer. After the Klingon leadership refused to acknowledge any of their warriors had been captured alive, and the Romulans leadership had no further use for them, the Romulan Tokath spared them. Over the years, they formed a new community where Romulans and Klingons live in peace. The leaders of both factions warn Worf…

Perspective | How NPR’s Steve Inskeep cracked the code for interviewing Trump

The role of mainstream journalists is significant, and, overall, their record has been far less than stellar. Too many, whether in a one-on-one interview or at larger sessions with a number of reporters, have failed to push back in a way that matters. Trump is such a facile talker — one who specializes in dazzling displays of distraction, ad hominem attacks and repetition — that challenging him effectively in real…

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Birthright, Part 1 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 16) Worf learns his father may still be alive; Data dreams

Rewatching ST:TNG The Enterprise-D visits Deep Space Nine, so that the producers can take advantage of the beautiful promenade set and jam in a guest appearance from DS9’s Dr. Bashir. O’Brien doesn’t appear in this episode, but he’s mentioned in a brief and completely unnecessary scene where LaForge complains the pasta on DS9 “tastes like liquid polymer,” but Worf thinks it’s “Delicious.” Worf is approached by a ratlike alien who…

Academics want to preserve video games. The game industry is fighting them in court.

For decades, champions of the video game industry have touted gaming’s cultural impact as the equal of literature, film and music. Traditionally, the classic works from those mediums have been preserved for study by future generations, and amid gaming’s global rise in relevance, a group of video game scholars and advocates is pushing to preserve the game industry’s historic titles and legacy in a similar fashion. In the process, though,…

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Tapestry (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 15) The dying Picard has a chance to alter his rash youth

Rewatching ST:TNG Picard is in sickbay with a gaping hole in his chest. Crusher can’t save him. In a white void, Picard meets a familiar figure, Q, who claims to be God, and conjures up a vision of Picard’s father (who is *so* disappointed), and voices from Picard’s past — people he says have died because of Picard’s actions and inactions. We see a vision of a young Picard laughing…

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Father David Hudgins RIP | In His Own Words

My friend from high school passed away a few days ago. What an amazing preacher. So intelligent, so approachable, so passionate. What a loss to the Diocese of Lansing and everyone who knew and loved him.   I am laughing through my tears at his aside, “I want to smack ’em!”   (I knew him through the Drama Club and really enjoyed our scenes together, especially in Our Town, where…

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Face of The Enemy (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 14) Troi role-plays as a feared Romulan intelligence officer

Rewatching ST:TNG Troi wakes up, looking like a Romulan. When Subcommander N’Vek tells her she’s impersonating the imperial intelligence officer Major Rakal, and that she’ll be killed if she doesn’t play along, he invites her to use her empathic powers to see whether he’s lying. He’s not. He’s using the assumed authority of “Rakal” to prevent his commander from opening some mysterious cargo containers. Back on the Enterprise, a former…

Fact Check: No, an NPR story on the Trump supporters’ attempted coup dated January 6, 2021 9:33 AM ET is not a sign of a conspiracy theory

A conspiracy theory featuring a news story that NPR posted early on Jan 6 2021 and then updated after the pro-Trump demonstration turned into an anti-democracy riot was shared widely last year. My meme explaining the concepts of time-stamps and updating a breaking news story didn’t get shared nearly as much. People who already believe journalists regularly lie to make Trump look bad will share viral memes that confirm that…

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Aquiel (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 13) LaForge adopts a murder victim’s dog. Is she really a suspect?

Rewatching ST:TNG LaForge gets a little too involved when investigating the disappearance of a lieutenant posted on a remote relay station. On a routine supply mission near the Klingon border, the Enterprise-D finds only a friendly dog and a mystery.  The plot requires the details of the mystery to remain fuzzy so that LaForge has time to sift through the personal logs of Lt. Aquiel Uhnari. The technobabble uncertainties with…

Grappling with Genocide: Fostering Empathy and Engagement through Text and Image (NEH funded education summit, Seton Hill University, July 11-22 2022)

Some of my amazing colleagues have collaborated on an amazing NEH-funded summer institute that provides teachers in grades 6-12 with resources for teaching about genocide. The event, scheduled for summer 2022, includes units on the erasure of Native Americans, an empathy-building Narrative 4 storytelling workshop, and more. There’s a stipend for participating in this event, and on-campus housing is available at a very modest cost — about 10% of the…

Starship Mine (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 18) Picard out-thinks thieves raiding an evacuated Enterprise-D

Rewatching ST:TNG Picard plays cat-and-mouse with thugs when the Enterprise is evacuated for routine maintenance. During a long tracking shot, Picard bumps into senior staff members who just happen to be standing in the corridor with administrative problems for him to solve. In the turbolift, Data tries out his new “small talk during awkward moments” subroutine, and Picard recommends he meet Commander Hutchinson at this afternoon’s reception on Arkaria Base.…