Scarecrow, Tin Man, Dorothy, and the Cowardly Lion approach Emerald City in this still from The Wizard of Oz

The Hidden Subversive Messages of [MGM’s Screen Adaptation of] The Wizard of Oz

When I tried teaching The Wizard of Oz in a literature class, I was a little frustrated with myself that I couldn’t bring the class discussion much farther than “how this book is different from the movie” and lists of one-to-one symbolism (“the yellow brick road represents the gold standard,” or  ‘the scarecrow represents agriculture, the tin man represents industry, and the cowardly lion represents the military”).  Part of my…

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In September 1999 I was blogging about

In September 1999, I was blogging about What makes a play worth seeing twice, according to Tom Stoppard The then-unrealistic expectations of voice-recognition software A critique of the “information wants to be free” mantra A Microsoft exec who predicted that digital publication would eclipse print publication within a decade How marketers are pushing your buttons with the help of technology and semiotic theory The storytelling genius and embedded racism of…

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Elementary, Dear Data (TNG Rewatch: Season 2, Episode 3)

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation after a 20-year break. LaForge works on his model ship in main engineering (?) and invites Data to enjoy a Sherlock Holmes holodeck adventure. Sounds fun, but a slow start, with low stakes. We can forgive the director for spending a lot of time showing the characters reacting to the richly detailed Victorian set. It was probably not cheap to build. I have to…

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A day after using an apparently altered hurricane map, Trump defends his Alabama claim

It was Mr. Trump who used a black Sharpie to mark up an official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration map, which he displayed during an Oval Office briefing on Wednesday, according to a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “No one else writes like that on a map with a black Sharpie,” the official said of the map, which added Alabama into…

The history of Tetris randomizers

A pleasantly detailed analysis of how the various editions of Tetris chose what piece was next. In 1985, Alexey Pajitnov and Vadim Gerasimov released Tetris to the public. This fun and highly addictive game challenged players to fit pieces together that were dealt in a random order. Since then, over 150 licensed versions of Tetris games have been released. Varying in game modes, rules, and implementations, they all play slightly—or very—differently. In…