Oh John Carroll

Month: February 2013 (page 1 of 4)

Lego Ballplayers →

Craig Robinson came down with a case of uveitis this month, and had to find a non-computer-based outlet for his creativity.  He decided to make baseball players out of Legos.  Can’t decide if Andre Dawson or Randy Johnson is my favorite.

A Food Designed To Addict →

Michael Moss has an incredible story for The New York Times Magazine about the science of junk food:

If Americans snacked only occasionally, and in small amounts, this would not present the enormous problem that it does. But because so much money and effort has been invested over decades in engineering and then relentlessly selling these products, the effects are seemingly impossible to unwind. More than 30 years have passed since Robert Lin first tangled with Frito-Lay on the imperative of the company to deal with the formulation of its snacks, but as we sat at his dining-room table, sifting through his records, the feelings of regret still played on his face. In his view, three decades had been lost, time that he and a lot of other smart scientists could have spent searching for ways to ease the addiction to salt, sugar and fat. “I couldn’t do much about it,” he told me. “I feel so sorry for the public.”

I haven’t had a drop of soda in a few weeks, and I’m feeling even better about it now.

Poem Painter →

Jamie Poole makes portraits with shredded poetry.

Unemployment Activity #6

Rent a Redbox movie, but don’t return it to its point of origin.  Reassure yourself of your ability to make an impact on the world.

We Buy White Albums →

Over at Dust & Grooves, Eilon Paz interviews Rutherford Chang about his exhibition “We Buy White Albums”:

My collection of White Albums is on display at Recess, a storefront art space in SoHo. It’s set up like a record store with the albums arranged in bins by serial number, and visitors are invited to browse and listen to the records. Except, rather than sell the albums, I am buying more. I currently have 693 copies.

I geeked out while reading this, as I’ve long admired these editions from afar.  What a great idea.  If I was in New York, I am sure I could spend hours looking at all of these.

Reliable Sourcing →

At Inside Higher Ed, Scott Jaschik writes about a West Liberty University instructor who told her students not to use Fox News for a political journaling assignment:

The instructor at the West Virginia public institution included some possible news sources, such as The Economist, BBC, CNN and The Huffington Post. But the instructor also specified that two sources could not be used. One was The Onion, which the assignment notes “is not news” and “is literally a parody.”

The other barred source is the one that got the instructor — Stephanie Wolfe — scrutiny this week. She banned articles from Fox News, writing: “The tagline ‘Fox News’ makes me cringe. Please do not subject me to this biased news station. I would almost rather you print off an article from the Onion.”

I faced a similar situation in a class on sports writing.  Many of my students wanted to cite the awful Bleacher Report, and while I wanted to outright ban it, I found it much more helpful to simply address these sources on a case-by-case basis and direct my students toward more reliable and thoughtful sources.  I imagine they learned more in the process than if I had simply banned the web site at the outset of an assignment.

While I can’t say I’m a Fox News viewer or supporter, such a ban does seem further silly for a journaling assignment, which should be a bit more free-wheeling and open.

Don’t Pity The Passengers →

If the Carnival Triumph story doesn’t already have you doubting a future cruise, Josh Eidelson’s Slate story on cruise labor will:

The passengers escaped the ship late Thursday, five days after an engine fire disabled the vessel. But, amid the scenes of bathrobe-clad passengers kissing American soil, there’s been comparatively little attention to the crew that was stuck with them — and kept on serving them. Though they likely suffered most, the cruise workers’ misery lacks the allure of irony: They’re not accustomed to vacationing in luxury. Indeed, thanks to the efforts of Carnival and company, they can’t even count on the basic labor standards available under U.S. law.

I’ve never been on a cruise, and I’m feeling pretty good about that these days.

The Oakland Readings

My friends Moira, Richard and Seth decided to host an impromptu reading for Google Voice this past weekend in Oakland, California.  The results are excellent: nearly 3 weeks of new content at Poetry, by Google Voice.

Several of those readings are already posted, including work by Walt Whitman, William Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss.

We’re All Cynics Now →

Grantland’s Brian Phillips thinks soccer is screwed:

And that’s the sad part: Precisely because we turn to sports as a solace from the rigged deck of the average Wednesday, sports are incredibly susceptible to exploitation by the same bullies and middle men who shuffled the cards in the first place. You’re bummed out that somebody’s rigging soccer matches? You think that’s unfair? OK, so what do you do when unfairness bums you out? You watch a soccer match! You watch a soccer match because the rules are clear and the action makes sense and it’s a chance to see talented people do fine things. So you keep watching, and thus keep guaranteeing paydays for all the people who are working around the clock to ensure that none of that will stay true.

Elusive And Sadly Ephemeral →

Tasha Robinson interviews Aziz Ansari for The AV Club.  In honor of Valentine’s Day, it’s all about love:

At recent shows, I’ve been reading audience volunteers’ text messages, and it’s the most interesting thing to me. It’s so personal. You can see the ebbs and flows of a whole relationship over the course of 10 to 15 short sentences. You also see how these unofficial rules about waiting to text, not sending a second text before hearing back from the first, etc., are so widespread, and so adopted by our culture. I read this one guy’s texts where he texted a girl once and then texted again an hour later, after she didn’t respond. There were audible gasps in the audience when I read that. The fact that that provoked that kind of reaction fascinating to me. So many people are dealing with that nonsense, and from doing shows about it, it seems like a there is a lot of frustration, and many people are just sick of that shit, and wish they could just spend more time with people in person.

I haven’t had the chance to see his Buried Alive show, and yet I’m already looking forward to his next hour.

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