Park bench reading

Park bench and lamp at William Silver ParkHere’s a bit of today’s favorite reads (and a listen) to see you through this hump day! It’s the perfect kind of weather to sit outside with the laptop and read to my heart’s content. (I can’t get enough of this tiny park up the road! That bench is so idyllic!)

MentalFloss critique of the AP tweet that turned out to be a hack is both informative and fun. How many AP errors are in a fake AP tweet? Seven. Yes, seven.

This American Life’s What Happened at Dos Erres is winning a bunch of journalism awards and is well worth a listen. Of the many fascinating stories Ira and the crew share, this is one that will stick with you for a long, long time.  A word of warning, have a box of tissues ready.

Amy Harmon’s Asperger Love is a fascinating look into romance and mental illness through the relationship of Jack and Kristen. An excerpt is available for free at Byliner. You can buy the story in full or subscribe to Byliner if you’d like. It’s definitely worth the subscription!

The Atlantic’s story on the woman who leads North Korea (SPOILER: It’s Kim Jung Un’s auntie) is another interesting angle on the silent country. Which reminds me, have you started reading NKNews yet? You really should if you’re interested at all in what is happening and has happened in Pyongyang.

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Tragedy, comedy and the comedians who save us

I always struggle with what to do in times of crises. I believe it’s important to stay informed, but I also struggle with not completely losing my shit and crying all day when something truly horrific happens. So today I’m sharing some of the best news coverage of the Boston Marathon explosions with some of the best commentary from two of America’s greatest comedians.

First the wise words of Patton Oswalt, who is one of the most loving and lovable men via his Facebook.

Boston. Fucking horrible.

I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”

But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

Now on to the tough stuff.

Finally I’ll leave you with Stephen Colbret’s wisdom and wit.

Before we begin, I just want to take a moment to talk about the attack in Boston yesterday. Now obviously our thoughts and our prayers are with everybody there. And as the President said, we don’t know who did this, but they will be found and they will be brought to justice.

But whoever did this obviously did not know shit about the people of Boston. Because nothing these terrorists do is going to shake them. For Pete’s sake, Boston was founded by the Pilgrims — a people so tough, they had to buckle their God-damned hats on!

It is the cradle of the American Revolution! A city that withstood an 86-year losing streak! A city that made it through the Big Dig, a construction project that backed up traffic for 16 years! I mean, there are commuters just getting home now!

Even their bands are tough! It is the hometown of Aerosmith, who in their fifth decade are still going strong! Even Steven Tyler looks fantastic… for a 73-year-old woman!

But here’s what these cowards really don’t get: they attacked the Boston Marathon, an event celebrating people who run 26 miles on their day off until their nipples are raw, for fun! And they have been holding it in Boston since 1897 — and do you know how tough you have to be to run in a whalebone corset?

And when those bombs went off, there were runners who, after finishing a marathon, kept running for another two miles to the hospital to donate blood.

So here’s what I know: these maniacs may have tried to make life bad for the people of Boston.

But all they can ever do is show just how good those people are.

This week we could all use a little more comedy.

A bit of reading

I’m a bit pressed for time today, so I’ll just leave you with some links to a few of my favorite writings today.

This story from Everrett Potter about the new Salt Lake City is rather nice. It’s an excellent piece of traveling writing as well. In other SLC news, you can volunteer to bottle feed kittens this spring.

I loved this editorial in The New York Times from football player Scott Fujita. He takes on marriage equality and how he hopes to one day tell his daughters their friends are equal. It’s touching, poignant and perfectly timed.

The Future Journalism Project published a wonderful piece by a student who is paying for journalism school at Columbia. It made me think as did the article it’s in response too. I’ve thought a lot about grad school. I can see both sides of the argument. It’s interesting to think about the way we value education and words.

Now for some literature I’d like to point you to The Paris Review winners’ work from Otessa Mostegh for Bettering Myself  and J.D. Daniels for Letter From Kentucky. The two young writers’ short stories are delightfully different. Mostegh paints a wonderful portrait of a woman in a rather dark place. Daniels’ memoir is touching, nostalgic and difficult to forget the picture of Kentucky as he winds through memories and present moments.

By the way, Wired found out you can own a dire wolf for about $3,000 and a long wait. Someone has been breeding them since 1987!

Is it all bad news?

Is it just me or are the news this morning a tad bit extra depressing?

How nice.

Sorry, all, can we work on making some good news happen today? Or at least some better entertainment? I’m rewatching Kid President to pick myself up from the headlines. As he says, “What will you create to make the world more awesome?”

Here we are again

It’s another Wednesday and time for this week’s round up of awesome writings on the web. But first a little treat without much in the way of words. The Retronaut has a series of pictures featuring the first Russian pig in space. Yes, the Soviets got a pig drunk, stuffed it in a cannon and blasted drunk piggy into the atmosphere. It is indeed as glorious as it sounds.

Now on to actual words, my favorite article this week in “Holy shit! What’s wrong with the world?” comes from BusinessWeek. It’s all about the tunnels under and around Nogales, Arizona and Sedona making easy work of running drugs from Mexico to the United States.  A fascinating look at what drug cartels and border patrol will do.

Next there’s this bit in the LA Times about Bain Capital and just where $37 million in start up money came from. Turns out a hefty chunk has it roots in El Salvadorian families with ties to death squads.

On to other happier, less creepy things.

Finally an explanation for all that tape covering Olympians bodies this past week or two.  A discussion about whether or not, Oscar Pistorius prosthetics give him an advantage in the running game. (Spoiler: They don’t, he still doesn’t have ankles.)

At the end of this round up let’s take a little jaunt on over to Iran, and the cinema cropping that happens there. Remember how super religious people don’t really like skin or women? Yep, they don’t. So it turns out Iran has decided to show foreign films just with some fun changes like clothes or completely erasing women or random vases to cover cleavage. I suppose that’s one way to keep the innocents safe. Now I just want to know when the some enterprising Mormon is going to begin marketing censored films.

I hope you enjoy this weeks reads just as much as I did.

Wonderful Writings and Such

This week in Writing Wednesday, I thought I would share some linky love to the great stuff on the internets worth a read.

First up is “Byliner,” a very cool collection of all the best non-fiction writing journalism has to offer for free or very cheap. I’m completely engrossed by “Damn! They Gonna Lynch Us!” by Mike Sager, written for GQ shortly after the Rodney King beating in 1991. However a good place to start is their 101 Best Stories list.

Next I’ll point you in the direction of Emily Horne and Joey Comeau at “A Softer World” because Emily first introduced me to “Byliner.” Joey’s other written works are also pretty fantastic. So if you’re feeling up to something a little weird, a little dirty, a little sexy and super sweet, check out “Lockpick Pornography.” I love Joey’s words and Emily’s artwork. Together they are doing something great in Toronto, and separately they’re still awesome.

This story about Dharun Ravi and the part he played in Tyler Clementi’s suicide is powerful and moving by Ian Parker for “The New Yorker.” It’s a riveting story that is much more complicated than one homophobic student spying on his gay roommate. (By the way, Ravi was released from prison yesterday and is on probation.)

Now after all that seriousness, it’s time for some fun and a little activity. I am enamoroed with these strawberry and champagne cupcakes from 20somethingcupcakes. All her recipes look to-die-for-delicious, and I can’t wait to get baking this weekend with a little inspiration from her.

Recently I’m giving serious thought to joining in on the Imported From Gotham City competition going on right now with Chrysler and The Dark Knight. Mostly because I want to meet Chris Nolan, not because I think I’m even close to a decent editor when it comes to film. (Any editors out there willing to give credit to a fangirl?)

Speaking of doing, did you see this article on MedicalDaily about how sometimes we become the characters we identify with in stories? Yeah, pretty amazing stuff.

Life: Famous last words?

Probably not so much, but my final thoughts to sum up my Westminster experience are in The May Issue of the student newspaper.

You can read the article here.

And my favorite article from the issue is here.

And my best interview for this issue is here, and another great interview is here.

Yes, I’m a self-promoting whore. Just deal with it.