Saturday, June 22, 2019

Internet Wading for June 2019

Pop music and culture, history, interesting (or just odd) stories in the news, science, art—those are the things that get into these Internet Wading posts. And since I share a lot of pop music, why not start there?

“Hit Charade”, a 2016 story from The Atlantic talks about “the bald Norwegians and other unknowns who actually create the songs that top the charts”. The article says: “ If you flip on the radio, odds are that you will hear one of their songs.” And most of us would never know that.

When Dr. John (the stage name of Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack died earlier this month, I read the obituary on the NBC News site and was surprised to learn that he sang the Popeyes Chicken jingle ("Love That Chicken From Popeyes"). That was one of those things I never knew, but also something that was so obvious once I knew. But, then, I seldom pay attention to music used in commercials, unless it’s a current pop song, so there’s that. Like most people, I probably know him best for his biggest hit, “Right Place, Wrong Time” [Listen to the official audio on YouTube], a 1973 song that seemed impossible to avoid—or bop along to—in its day.

What about Movies? “Remake My Day” compares movies with their remake(s). There are many ways of looking at it: What critics thought, what audiences thought, and their profitability. They also compare rankings and then divergence in opinions.

On to history! Runner’s World (appropriately enough…) published “The Surprising History of Streaking (Yes, the Naked Kind)". Because we should know our history, right?

Similarly little known history is that of Joan Jett Blakk, the story of a performer and activist who ran for Chicago Mayor and US President. A new play, Ms. Blakk for President, has opened in Chicago and tells one of the many LGBT+ stories not often remembered these days—though I do because I was still in Chicago during the first two campaigns. As the Windy City Times review puts it:
“Whether the effort was performative or real, Chicago witnessed history in the early 1990s when Joan Jett Blakk, an African American drag queen who was the creation of activist Terence Smith, ran not just for Chicago Mayor, but in 1992 ran for president of the United States.”
“The Extraordinary ‘Cookbooks’ Left Behind by Prisoners of War and Concentration Camp Victims” is about what the title suggests. It’s also fascinating.

Similarly interesting is "40 Years of New York City Captured Through a Taxi Driver's Photos”, which combines history and photography. Can’t go wrong with that.

Interesting, sure, but also kind of alarming is “When 20,000 American Nazis Descended Upon New York City”, a 2017 story from The Atlantic, about a short film (up top), about that evening. I knew about that night, and about the American “bundists”, but it’s still disturbing to see so many Americans gleefully embracing Nazism. These days it seems it could happen again.

Some science, history, and pop culture all in one! “The English Word That Hasn’t Changed in Sound or Meaning in 8,000 Years", which is both not what I expected, and fascinating all at the same time. Obscure history, science, and pop culture all rolled into one—what’s not to like?

Speaking of pop culture and history, The Atlantic’s 2016 story, “The Hot New Millennial Housing Trend Is a Repeat of the Middle Ages”, seems likely to have overstated its case a bit, but there are millennials who do similar things—just most don’t not necessarily due it to the extent or in precisely the way the article suggests. On the other hand, it’s been suggested as something that would be good for senior citizens. They might actually be more likely to embrace it.

About older people, sort of, how about ”The rise of granny panties”? “High-waisted underpants made a huge comeback”. We all needed to know that.

“Forget fast fashion: slow style pioneers on the clothes they've worn for decades” from The Guardian. There was even a Kiwi in the mix. There’s nothing I’ve had for decades (apart from a couple things from my childhood that I keep for sentimental reasons), but I do have some shirts I’ve had for maybe 15 years. They’ve lasted because they’re seasonal (I only wear them over the course of a few months), and because I take care of them. There’s an advantage in this: Clothes that one buys from a big retailer are everywhere when first purchased, but unique a year or two later when everyone else has moved on to The Next Fad. Being thrifty has fashion advantages, it turns out.

Fads are something that come and go all over the place, including, these days, in health and food. “There’s no such thing as ‘bad food.’ Four terms that make dietitians cringe”. This Washington Post story covers terms that I can’t stand, either. Don’t be get started on “detox”!

Technology is sometimes hard for people to wrap their heads around, especially if science isn't their "thing". Lately I’ve seen a lot of utter nonsense about the upcoming 5G cellphone spectrum and its supposed harm to people. Yeah, social media helping to spread disinformation and misinformation yet again. Surprise! Well, it turns out that there was one story that was actually worth reading: “Debate rages over 5G impact on US weather forecasting” from Physics World.

On another technological note, “The Catch-22 That Broke The Internet” from Wired. In early June, “Google couldn’t fix its cloud, because Google’s cloud was broken.” Oops.

Space’s final frontier—madness! I always thought it was a joke, often perpetuated by satirists, but apparently believers in “lizard people aliens” are real: “It looked like a simple domestic murder. Then police learned about the alien reptile cult.” It's from The Washington Post, so it’s apparently for real—though for a story like that, I wish it was real “fake news”. It’s kind of disturbing to know that people who believe in that are real and walking among us.

Well, maybe a real story about actual space instead: “Views From Above: The Past Eight Months in Orbit”. Earth is pretty awesome, really.

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That’s it for this wading adventure. Time to get back to winter and hibernating—I mean, um, wading around.

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