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.…

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,”…

Florida Woman Bites Camel

Identifying her as a “Florida woman,” as I interpret it, suggests that we’re dealing here with what Newfoundlanders would call a come-from-away and New Yorkers would call an out-of-towner. The tantalizing implication is that a local woman would have known that you could give a truck-stop camel an infection requiring antibiotics by biting its genitalia.

While the veterinarian was caring for the camel, was anyone attending to that Florida woman? She had, after all, been sat on by a six-hundred-pound camel, an experience that has to be at least uncomfortable and probably injurious. A reader has to wonder if she had some broken bones or some cracked ribs or at least a nasty taste in her mouth.

And we still have the deaf dog to deal with. –Calvin Trillin, New Yorker

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Conspiracy (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season One, Episode 25) Parasitic Bug Doppelgängers on Earth

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation This episode piles on the cloak-and-dagger tropes such as secret messages, clandestine meetings, imposters, and, of course, conspiracy. “Don’t trust anyone,” warns an old friend of Picard’s who, no surprise, doesn’t make it to the end of the next act. The story ambitiously builds upon suspicions that Admiral Quinn first mentioned to Picard in s1e18 “Coming of Age,” warning of high-stakes fractures within the…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In February, 2001, I was blogging about computer nostalgia, Napster, a horror typing game, usability, and web blurbs.

In February, 2001, I was blogging about Computer nostalgia and text adventure games.“Walking into a room rendered in the Q3 engine can be lovely and impressive, but when you’ve only 16K to tell a story, you have to rely on the gamer’s imagination to provide the details. Just the words ‘you are on a beach’ can summon vistas no game can provide.” — James Lileks Napster. File-sharing was destroying the…

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I can’t believe I’m fact-checking a viral story about the gender of a plastic potato with detachable body parts.

  I can’t believe I’m fact-checking a viral story about a plastic potato, but Hasbro is removing the “Mr.” from its “Potato Head” logo, and offering a new mix-and-match package that includes two potato bodies, one baby potato, and a bunch of loose parts that will let kids put them together however they want. That doesn’t mean it’s discarding or re-gendering the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters.  (Though the…

Details on the disappearance of the Utah monolith

Mr. Bernards, 34, of Edwards, Colo., was visiting the monolith on Friday night when, he said, four men arrived as if out of nowhere to dismantle the sculpture. Mr. Bernards had driven six hours for the chance to ogle the sculpture and to take dramatic photographs of it. Using upscale Lume Cube lights attached to a drone, he produced a series of glowy, moonlit pictures in which the monolith glistens…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In November 2000, I was blogging about the US Presidential election, mirrors, Arts & Letters Daily, and more

In November 2000, I was blogging about Ursula K. Le Guin Why we perceive mirrors reversing things left/right but not up/down Pioneering blog Arts & Letters Daily (just a year older than my own blog) Nick Montfort’s constrained poem “Upper Typewriter Row“ The 2000 US Presidential Election controversy (ballot design, hanging chads, recounts, political cartoons) The Web Economy Bullshit Generator The Onion’s fake “Fontly Speaking” typeface design column. James Lileks’s…

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Booby Trap (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season Three Episode 6) When LaForge gets absurd with a hologram nerd, he’s a-creeper

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. To escape a thousand-year-old booby trap, LaForge interacts with a holodeck simulation of the designer of the Enterprise’s engines… and gets waaay too attached. The teaser shows LaForge on a date — a failure that he later talks over with Guinan. Meanwhile, Picard, thrilled to explore an old warship, is dismayed that his officers never played with ships-in-bottles. (“I did, sir,” says O’Brien. Picard must…

Friend I hadn’t seen for about 20 years delivers a vintage nerdy gift.

During the original run of Star Trek: The Next Generation, my college roommate and I invited our friends over to our duplex for Star Trek parties. Our local TV station ran the show at midnight Sunday, which was a terrible time, but we sometimes had 30 people over. Though we kept in touch virtually, I hadn’t seen my roommate for probably 20 years, so it was pleasant surprise to hear…

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Five myths about daylight saving time

No, Daylight Saving Time was not created to help farmers (actually, they hate it) and no, it doesn’t save energy (running the air conditioner longer in the evenings costs more than we save by turning on fewer lights in the morning). And why are we on “Daylight Standard Time” just four months out of the year? Reading about these myths will make you an *informed* sleep-deprived Monday morning grump. Daylight…