The Anthropocene Reviewed, reviewed

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.

I noted that the earlier book had been banned or challenged in certain schools and libraries, much to John’s dismay.

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.

Back to the book!

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.


Auld Lang Syne

The Sycamore Tree

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.


Oct. rambling: How I See Humanity

Autumnal music and about Brian Wilson

per Uthaclena

John Fugelsang on Christianity

Hank Green: This Math Test Changed How I See Humanity

A History of Nuclear War with Peter Kuznick

American democracy has been in trouble before

Trump’s letter to the House Jan. 6 Select Committee

Inside the S–tshow That Was the Trump-Biden Transition

Understanding History in the Age of the Big Lie

The Odd Pathology of the Politician’s Mind

‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’: A Conversation With Co-Directors Ken Burns and Lynn Novick On Authoritarian Parallels

Weekly Sift Closing Arguments on abortiondemocracy, and Biden’s accomplishments 

What the failure of Liz Truss’s economic agenda in the UK can teach the U.S.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Transgender Rights II and Museums and Crime Reporting; Frank S. Robinson: Crime and Policing 

Plan to Save New York City from Rising Sea Level

It’s Time to Retire BMI as a Clinical Metric

Never Enough? Why ADHD Brains Crave Stimulation

This past week in healthcare investigations: Fentanyl Hidden in Cocaine; Missed Breast Cancer Diagnoses; Calling Out Racism

Upstate NY Habitat plans 25-unit condo; thought to be a world first

The Rev. Calvin Butts left behind a legacy of prayer and political activism

How Audley Moore Created a Blueprint for Black Reparations

Jules Bass, Producer Behind the ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ and ‘Frosty the Snowman’ TV Specials, Dies at 87; Remembering the Rankin-Bass Catalogue

Marvel, DC Among Last Bastion for Supersized Movie Paydays

Even Superheroes Have Moments Of Mediocracy As This Funny Comic Strip Shows

Now I Know: The Marketing Stunt That Vacuumed Up a Whole Company and The Lady Who Made a Living By Smashing Booze and The Unheard Words of the Star Trek Theme Song and The Odd History (Perhaps?) of the Malaysian National Anthem and The 21-Year-Old Irish Woman That Saved D-Day and The First Curfews and Why Is This Panda Rowing a Giant Pumpkin?


NYT: In praise of y’all, the most inclusive pronoun, which I supported 11 years ago

EA Poe, Nature Writer

We have to get rid of “ums” and “uhs” when speaking, right? Not necessarily.

The Birth of the Semicolon

A.Word.A.Day– Overton window – noun: The range of beliefs, attitudes, etc., considered acceptable at any given time.

Twenty Years of Sheila O’Malley

Researchers “Translate” Bat Talk. Turns Out, They Argue—A Lot

Happy Birthday, Jeff Goldblum!


Jerry Lee Lewis, Piano-Bashing Pioneer of Rock ‘N’ Roll, Dies at 87NYT obit. Rock hall

November Steps by Toru Takemitsu

Coverville:  1417 – Red Hot Chili Peppers Cover Story II and 1418 – Cover Stories for The Waterboys and World Party

In Autumn by Edvard Grieg

Toward the Unknown Region – Ralph Vaughan Williams

Alan Menken performed a ten-minute medley of songs to which he contributed the music.

The Isle of the Dead by Sergei Rachmaninoff

Lucy Simon, Tony-Nominated Composer, and Sister of Carly Simon, Dies at 82; Winkin’ Blinkin’ and Nod – the Simon Sisters

Top 15 annoying pianists

The Greatest Adventure from the animated The Hobbit

Ken Levine with author/filmmaker David Leaf, talking about musical genius Brian Wilson:  Part 1 and Part 2

Julyish rambling: in search of meaning

That’s Life

HTETEOTW Chapter 3: Energy, Complexity, and Civilization

Inflation: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Pope apologizes for ‘catastrophic’ school policy in Canada

As Monkeypox Spreads, US Vaccine Access Is Pitifully Inadequate

How Much Household Income Is Required To Be Considered ‘Rich’ In These US Cities

Journalists Sense Turmoil in Their Industry Amid Continued Passion for Their Work

Five journalists covering the Internet in search of meaning, not viral trends

When Mixology Meets Medicine

LIVE: Around the World Cams / Beautiful Earth Webcam

The story we tell ourselves about today’s Stars and Stripes is a lie. The truth is much stranger.

John Green: Has this artist ever seen a baby?

Now I Know:  The Herd Mentality That’s Actually Rather Democratic, and  Maybe Monday Should Still Be the Weekend and The World Record That Will Definitely Stick and Hungry Hungry Hero Dog?

Defending democracy

Trump doesn’t have a side of the 1-6 story; there is no ambiguity 

The Jan. 6 Hearings Utterly Embarrassed Trump and All Involved. The final January 6 hearing of the summer spotlighted Trump and allies like Kevin McCarthy and fist-pumper to fleeing coward Josh Hawley. It should serve as a reminder of their humiliating but dangerous thirst for power.

Mark Leibovich’s new book, Thank You For Your Servitude, pillories a party whose leaders remain (at least publicly) in the 45th president’s thrall. e.g.,  Elise Stefanik Attacks NYS Department of Education

The Secret Service Has Managed to Locate Only One Coup-Related Text Message

If Trump Wins in 2024, Christian Nationalism – which MTG has suggested for the GOP – Could Reign Supreme in Government. Also,
Authoritarianism 101: Trump Plot to Purge Civil Servants If Reelected Draws Alarm – “Do not underestimate the destruction this will cause”

Roberts’s Attempt to Keep “Roe” Intact Fell Apart After Alito’s Draft Leaked 

Matt Birk (R-MN) Warns Abortion Leads to Women Having Careers and Claims Pro-choice Advocates Are Always Playing “the Rape Card” 

“Pro-Life” Idaho Republicans Declare Women Should Be Left to Die to Save  Fetuses

Primala Jayapal Shares Her Own Abortion Story — and Why Abortion Rights Are Vital

Why did Republicans vote against legal condom use?



That’s Entertainment

Comic-Con 2022 Trailers

Marvel’s Movie Math: Comic Creators Claim It’s “Bait and Switch” On Payments 

Kennedy Center Honors Will Fete George Clooney, Gladys Knight, and U2

 Whatever happened to Sandy Duncan?

Discover the late Peg Lynch, a woman who, in the early days of television, wrote 11,000 scripts and starred in her own TV network hit sitcom for six years

Emma Allen, the New Yorker cartoon editor, makes history as the youngest and first woman in the role

Permanent JEOPARDY hosts and second chance contestants

How I Became the Fake Tom Cruise

There was a CBS-TV series called That’s Life (2000-2002)  about “Lydia DeLucca, a 30-something, a blue-collar underdog who turns her life upside down when she ditches the guy she’s about to marry and goes back to college. Now, Lydia must juggle her classes, work, family, and friends, all the while trying to make ends meet.” I watched it because of Ellen Burstyn and Paul Sorvino, who played Lydia’s parents. Sorvino died at the age of 83.

Burt Metcalfe, Producer on Every Season of ‘MAS*H,’ Dies at 87

Mary Alice, Actress in ‘A Different World, I’ll Fly Away, Sparkle, and much more, dies at 85

Alan Grant, Legendary Batman, Lobo, Judge Dredd Writer, Has Died

Actor David Warner has died

Aaron Latham, Screenwriter, Journalist Dies at 78. Husband of CBS News’s Lesley Stahl

Taurean Blacque, Det. Neal Washington on Hill Street Blues, Dies at 82


There’s a guy named Maxwell Frost (D-FL) running for Congress. Every time I see his name, I think of this song by Mann and Weil

Coverville 1407: Cover Stories for Imagine Dragons and Joan Osborne and a Fast Times Tribute and Coverville 1408: The Don Henley Cover Story

Jan A.P. Kaczmarek’s score to Finding Neverland

Audra McDonald sings Climb Ev’ry Mountain from the 2013 televised version of The Sound of Music

Playing for Change: King Clave featuring Mickey Hart

All That Jazz – Bob Fosse Tribute, with scenes from Chicago, Cabaret, and Sweet Charity

Celluloid Heroes – Blackmore’s Night

We Both Reached For The Gun from the show Chicago in Korean

The Music Man with a partially deaf cast

Joni Mitchell Surprises Fans With Her First Full Concert In Nearly 20 Years

June rambling: It goes on


Belief in God in the U.S. Dips to 81%, a New Low

Life: It goes on

In 6-3 rulings, SCOTUS strikes down New York’s concealed-carry law

Also, SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade; I wrote about it here and hereNow whatKelly is not happy either.  And Clarence Thomas believes SCOTUS should reconsider contraception and same-sex marriage rulings. Plus, can we trust tech companies to protect privacy?

Will the Great Salt Lake stay great?

The detectives hunting for underwater volcanoes

Trump administration embraced herd immunity via mass infection — The strategy likely contributed to many preventable deaths

Feds Aim to Slash Nicotine

How are autism and Alzheimer’s related?

John Green: On Disease

The Healing Power of ‘I Don’t Know’ 

Hank Green: Are You Eating a Credit Card Every Week?

Tech Monopolies: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Why the US military is listening to shrimp

The Texas Republican Party goes off the deep end

US travelers now need a visa to enter Japan

The surprise hiatus of the band BTS is sending ripples throughout the South Korean economy

The Monkeys and Parrots Caught Up in the California Gold Rush

Orphan Trains: A Brief History and Research How-to

Creative with your catchphrases

Pride parade.TU

June 12, 2022, Pride Parade, Lark St between State and Lancaster Sts, Albany, NY. The car that was the basis of the First Presbyterian Church Albany float stalled out; this was the improvisation. Photo by Jay Zhang, first used by the [Albany] Times Union. Used with permission.

Lessons from Fictional Fathers

PBS NewsHour commentator Mark Shields dies at age 85

James Rado, Co-Creator of Groundbreaking ‘Hair’ Musical, Dies at 90

Jon Stewart: acceptance speech for the Mark Twain Award

Anna “Brizzy” Brisbin -History of Voiceover

Amy Schumer, Selena Gomez, Tracee Ellis Ross, and THR’s Comedy Actress Roundtable

50 years of The Price Is Right 

William Henry Cosby Jr. lost a civil trial

The Insane Plan to Lift NYC’s Palace Theatre

The smile: a history

The Ultimate Guide to Dream Interpretation

A surprise response from Professor O’Neill

 How to ‘Zhuzh’ Up Your Vocabulary; zhuzh is NOT a word I want to see in Wordle

How to prepare for hurricane season 2022 and avoid storm-related scams

8 Ways to Spot Counterfeit Money

Now I Know: The Fired Employee Who Got The Last Laugh and  When Shouting “Cr*p!” is a Wish Come True and Capture the Flag, updated and A Fishy Train Line That Goes Nowhere

About Me (kinda sorta)

Mark Evanier answers my question about mandated representation in cartoon animation in the 1980s. “Doing the right thing for the wrong reason”

Kelly did linkage and wrote about Judy Garland, mentioning moi

I’ve been doing that Sunday Stealing, which fillyjonk also did here and here and here and here. Kelly did the same here and here


Purple Haze – Joy Oladokun 

Rapsodie Espagnol by Maurice Ravel

This Must Be The Place – Ondara 

Espana by Emmanuel Chabrier

Where Grace Abounds – Julius Rodriguez 

NPR Tiny Desk concert with the current off-Broadway production of Little Shop Of Horrors

Freedom – Jon Batiste

 Reclamation – Brandee Younger 

God Bless The Child – Melanie Charles

Hustle (Live) – Sons Of Kemet 

Communion In My Cup  Tank And The Bangas ft. The Ton3s

Dealing with the way stuff happens

The Sad Gap

As luck would have it, I came across two different series of blog posts involving, well, dealing with the way stuff happens in the world.

The first source is a series sent to me by my friend ADD. “If you have any interest at all in where our civilization is going and how we got to this perilous moment, please take a look at Professor Sid Smith’s new series How To Enjoy The End of the World. You’ll find far more reasons to have hope and even know how you want to proceed than you might think; the title is NOT meant to be funny or ironic.

“He’s absolutely serious about making the most out of living in a time of the collapse, starting with understanding why it’s happening.” If you watch none of the other videos, check out the prologue “Why You Shouldn’t Let Collapse Get You Down.”


The other was two videos in the Vlogbrothers series. Hank Green asked Are You Stuck in The Sad Gap? In his piece, Hank notes all the myriad topics he’s concerned about at about 2:25, and the list he says is incomplete.

Hank writes in the notes: “I… think that there are some people who think that The Sad Gap is the honorable, correct place to be. As if you are a bad person if you get out of the place where you only feel hopelessness and outrage. I am, frankly, OVER THAT. I think it’s making things much worse. And I never thought it was the right thing to do and the moment I realized that other people did, I got very worried.”

His brother John Green replied in How Do You Cross the Sad Gap? In four minutes, he notes how impossible it is to fix EVERYTHING, even if you wanted to. He notes what worked for him. Now, he’s focused on maternal mortality in Sierra Leone, where he, with tons of help, has actually turned the tide in that narrow, specific area.

I get it

I see the despair out there, everywhere. “OMG, OMG, what can little old ME do about Ukraine and gun violence and racism and environmental catastrophe” et cetera, et cetera, et cetera? The fretting, I posit, is totally human and understandable, and not terribly helpful. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t happen to me from time to time.

Maybe you and like-minded people can do… something about one of the things you are most passionate about. Or at least recontextualize it. But trying to fret over each perceived crisis until we move on to the next one is not particularly productive.

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