I Cannot Begin to Tell You How Proficient I Am in Microsoft Word

Is this satire? It doesn’t matter. It gave me feels. For me, though, it was Word Perfect and Broderbund Print Shop that were there for me as a teenager finding my voice. Bold and italics are the oils that grace my palette. Cut and paste the strings upon my lyre. Fonts, bullets, columns, indentations—these stubborn materials are no match for the alchemy with which I extract meaning and impose order.…

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Frame of Mind (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 21) Riker is an asylum inmate who hallucinates he’s a Starfleet officer rehearsing a play about an asylum inmate

Rewatching ST:TNG Riker overprepares for a role in “Beverly’s play,” which distracts him during his briefing for an undercover mission, so that Worf accidentally cuts him while demonstrating a ceremonial knife. The night of the performance, the crowd applauds enthusiastically, but Riker is disturbed when he notices in the crowd a humanoid alien he had bumped in the corridor before. Suddenly the setting shifts, and Riker finds himself in a…

He dedicated years of his life to QAnon. One day made him question it all.

Thoughtful analysis structured around one man’s personal journey away from QAnon. No single online platform is responsible for QAnon’s rapid rise. YouTube hosted the videos that many members credit with their “red pilling,” the favored term for a supposed enlightenment or exposure to conspiracy theories. Facebook allowed for easy conversation, meme sharing and organizing. Twitter, Justin’s favored platform, provided fertile ground for QAnon influencers and their lies. “It was an amplification machine,”…

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Lessons (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 19) Picard and a new officer bond over their shared interest in music

Rewatching ST:TNG When Picard is up in the middle of the night amusing himself with his archaeology hobby, he’s annoyed to find that Stellar Cartography has taken communications, library systems, and the replicators offline.  When he heads down there, the officer in charge is taking some sensor readings that are so delicate they can be totally ruined by a 3am meet-cute. Lt. Commander Nella Daren is intelligent, focused, witty, well-rounded,…

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Media Bias Chart (Ad Fontes, v. 9)

Objective news reporting is an ideal. Wherever humans are involved, there will be bias. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with journalism that reports with a particular slant, but informed consumers of news who want to understand a complex issue aren’t served by one-sided media coverage that flatters and amplifies their world view. This chart sorts popular news sources on a left-right axis according to political slant, but also on a vertical…

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…