The Sunday Stealing this week is about identity, an intriguing topic.
hot under the collar
hot under the collar
The Sunday Stealing this week is about identity, an intriguing topic.
Essays on a Human-Centered Planet
I agreed to review The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green on September 12 at the Albany Public Library, mainly for selfish reasons.
I’ve been having a terrible time reading books this year. I’ve attended many book reviews and author talks this year and have even bought several books from the authors.
So if I agree to review the book, which I bought when it was brand new in 2021, read about 50 pages, then never got back to it, I MUST finish it. I completed it the day before the review.
Next issue: how to present the review. The first thing, I suppose, is to explain the title. What the heck is the Anthropocene? According to the video The Anthropocene and the Near Future: Crash Course Big History #9, the Anthropocene is “an unofficial geologic era where humans have an immense influence over the biosphere.”
Then, I needed to explain what Crash Course, started by John Green and his brother Hank, is. “At Crash Course, we believe that high-quality educational videos should be available to everyone for free. The Crash Course team has produced more than 45 courses to date, and these videos accompany high school and college level classes ranging from the humanities to the sciences.
“Crash Course transforms the traditional textbook model by presenting information in a fast-paced format, enhancing the learning experience.” I learned. I discovered that my daughter had looked at several videos for her Advanced Placement history course, notably on the French Revolution.
And, of course, I needed to introduce them to John Green. Fortunately, on the 20 February 2023 episode of JEOPARDY, episode #8811, there was a category called A CRASH COURSE IN JOHN GREEN. One clue mentioned his book The Fault in Our Stars, which was “largely inspired by a young friend, Esther Earl, who died of cancer at 16″ in 2010.
The answer (or question) of one J clue was, “What is Nerdfighteria?” How do I explain that?! It is the mainly online-based community subculture that originated around Vlogbrothers videos, to “get together and try to do awesome things and have a good time and fight against world suck.”
This led to the DFTBA (Don’t Forget To Be Awesome) store and other activities. They’ve raised about $5 million to help fight maternal mortality in Sierra Leone. The Awesome Coffee Club, Awesome Socks Club, Pizzamas, and other endeavors have funded this.
But what do I want to say about The Anthropocene Reviewed itself? In a Vlogbrothers post from 2021, What is my new book about, John admitted that it was difficult to describe. It’s an adaption of 2018-2021 essays, plus others going back to 2008. It’s a memoir.
Answers from some Nerdfighters: “The Anthropocene Reviewed attempts to capture what it means to be human. It is both joyful and terribly sad, filled with light and darkness, levity and grief. “
“It’s essays that “review facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale.”
“It is about honoring your lenses from which you see the world, letting yourself wonder and wander, but never forgetting that your lenses are not the full picture, and they depend on who moves them.”
John reviewed the reviews of his book.
Ultimately, I spent most of my time reading from the book. The only section I shared in its entirety is the section about the movie Harvey.
I did NOT play these videos. But if YOU want to get a sense of The Anthropocene Reviewed, check out these three, at least the first one.
I liked the book a lot. Moreover, I loved the integration of self and the stuff around self. My audience seemed to appreciate the artfulness of the duality of the form in the book.
The Good Book
Here’s the new Sunday Stealing, The Pen Company. But before I get to that, a couple of Independence Day announcements in Albany, NY.
First, the July 4 oration will take place at the Stephen and Harriet Myers residence, 194 Livingston Avenue in Albany, NY, sponsored by the Underground Railroad Education Center (UREC). Music by Magpie, who will be joined by Kim Harris.
A metal box in my office that has my birth certificate, my father’s death certificate plus other important documents. A box of photos. My laptop.
Oddly, it wasn’t my date. My ex-girlfriend was going to the Washington (NY) County Fair with her new boyfriend c 1996/97. She invited a friend of ours and me to attend as well, because we were all “mature” people. It was…weird. Interestingly, they broke up, I got back together with my gf, and we’ve been married 24 years.
The loss of freedom and justice in the United States, based on the actions of several governors and state legislatures, the rhetoric of several candidates for the 2024 Presidency, and recent Supreme Court decisions.
Usually playing double deck pinochle or backgammon on my phone.
Probably my 50th because I had a big party at my church. I made a mixed CD that I gave out.
Fig Newtons with milk.
It might be Albany, NY because that’s where I decided to live. My favorite place to visit might be Galveston, TX; I’d go out to he pier at 5 a.m., watching the tide from the Gulf of Mexico come in.
We have a garden. But I have little or nothing to do with it.
My hometown was Binghamton, NY. It was small enough – and my school was tiny enough – that I can to this day name most of the kids in my 9th grade class. And I’m still friends with three of them. Oh, and went to kindergarten with them too.
A Century of Pop Music bt Joel Whitburn.
“Gomes takes the Bible off its pedestal and presents it to us as a tool for Christian living. This book is a must read for any Christian struggling to read and understand the Bible in modern terms. He explores many of the controversial topics of the Bible, including race, homosexuality, women’s roles, anti-Semitism, wealth, and more. [This is definitely true.]
It might be Roger Ebert, whose movie essays I enjoyed greatly. His autobio, Life Itself, is the book I would liked to have written, if I had the skills.
Olives. Black olives, green olives.
I wrote about terrible neighbors across the street, but thankfully, they’re gone.
100 $100 bills;
Another Sunday Stealing meme. This one concerns some of my favorite topics: history, books, movies, and music.
What period of history is your favorite to read about?
“Favorite” may be stretching it, but it’s the period in American history between the end of the Civil War (1865) and the beginning of the Civil Rights era of the mid-20th Century.
Reconstruction included several black legislators; Jim Crow, which largely undid the progress; the “scientific” rationalization of bigotry; the Red Summer of 1919; the civil rights leaders who were ahead of the curve.
What is your favorite genre of fiction?
I like fiction rooted in real events. The only Stephen King book I ever read was 11/22/63.
Do you choose a book by its cover?
Sometimes. Or at least the book jacket. Does this tell me something I didn’t know AND want to find out? Incidentally, it is true: some librarians DO refer to books by their color. “Can you get me that tall green book, please?”
Where do you do most of your reading?
On the sofa, near an end so that I can put one arm up.
Without looking, guess how many books are in your TBR pile. Now, look. Were you right?
Hundreds. Yup, hundreds.
How many movies are on your TBW list?
That’s quite a different calculation. There are tons of movies on various platforms that make the enumeration of the same to be quite impossible. Now, if you’re talking about movies I have on DVD that I have not watched, maybe a half dozen. But I also have lots of unwatched TV episodes and the like.
What’s your favorite genre of movie?
Quite possibly the documentary. Beyond that, comedy.
Do you still go to see movies in the theater?
Yes, but it’s much more difficult. Albany County is currently COVID-red, so my wife is reluctant to go, even though we both got COVID in August.
Moreover, I got out of the routine. When I went regularly, there were a lot of trailers that helped me decide whether or not to see that film in the future. Now, I know there are trailers online, but 1) there are so many that I don’t have the time, and 2) trailers on a computer are not the same dynamically as trailers in a cinema.
BTW, I dislike seeing movies on a computer screen, though I’ve seen several since March 2020. I’m trying to decide if I should get Roku or a newer, larger television set.
You have $10,000 and no strings or obligations for one full day. Where do you go, and what do you do?
Let’s further assume I can’t give it away to a charity, a political campaign, or to random strangers (100 $100 bills; it DOES appeal to me). It can’t be something practical. The one-day limit is a hassle. What I’d LIKE to do is buy out a large theater with at least a 500-person capacity and show a movie that people might want to see on the big screen, such as The Wizard of Oz or Casablanca. But I don’t know if I could pull it off logistically.
How many songs are on your favorite playlist?
About 3,753. I don’t know that I have a favorite playlist. The idea of hearing the same songs more than a dozen times a year is alien to me.
What method do you use to listen to music (Spotify, iTunes, Pandora…)?
I play compact discs. In fact, I’m playing the Psychedelic Soul album by The Temptations as I write this. Before that, I listened to Lyle Lovett, Rebecca Jade, Paul Simon, Tom Petty, Weird Al Yankovic, The Beatles, and Television’s Greatest Hits (TV theme songs).
I do have songs on Amazon, but that’s my fallback position.
I spent a few hours reshuffling the books in our house. As someone who has moved some 30 times in his life, you wouldn’t think I’d forget one fact, but I’ve been in my house for over two decades.
Books are heavy.
We have a bookcase in the living room. And there are some books there, especially some coffee table-sized tomes. Bit it also has my daughter’s homework, store catalogs (they are NOT mine), two clarinets, one tambourine (that IS mine), and miscellaneous otherwise homeless items.
Fortunately, the office where I write has almost wall-to-wall bookshelves. It is described in painful detail here. I had received a box of books on baseball which had belonged to Jack, who I saw at the Olin reunions almost every year. But there was no place to put them, unless…
I also have two bookcases in the attic. They are in use, and the contents are in a particular order. I have three Doonesbury collections, the four Elfquest volumes comprising the first series and a lot of books related to comic books and comic strips. It was clear. My Marvel Masterworks had to go upstairs. They JUST squeezed onto the available shelving.
I liked the look of them in the office. But, for the most part, I didn’t REFER to them. I might READ them. But the books I REALLY need in the office are the reference books. And I have a LOT of them. Music, television, movies, sports, the Bible. Some specific: Beatles, Dick Van Dyke Show, The Twilight Zone, even the index of The New Jim Crow.
But then I had to further rearrange the shelves, because, and I’ve known this for decades: books are of different heights. One does not want a paperback on a shelf designed for a tall tome. And the opposite doesn’t work at all.
Now, a few books from here, some shifted from there, and my new baseball books are shelved without leaving a massive gap in the panorama of tomes that I gaze at on a daily basis.
BTW, yes, I could trade in some of these for Kindle copies. But those don’t bring me joy. The panoply of colors and sizes and fonts bring me joy, and I’m really into joy right now.