Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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88 Responses

  1. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

    Tonight I am going to be watching Jason Collins beat Michael Sam to the punch. Collins has signed a 10-day contract with my favorite team: The Brooklyn Nets.


  2. Avatar NewDealer says:

    I like the relative shortness of UK TV shows. US TV shows are too much of a major time commitment and it seems like people have hours upon hours of must see TV and that further reduces American reading.

    I’m all about increasing the amount of reading hours done by Americans. It would be a more interesting nation if people talked about Haruki Murakami novels at the Water cooler instead of The Voice or some such.

    Did I ever mention that I was snobby? Just a bit?

    I am currently making my way through:

    A Dance to the Music of Time: Third Movement by Anthony Powell

    The Cave and the Light: Plato versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization by Arthur Herman

    1941: The Year that Keeps Returning by Slavko Goldstein.

    I just came back from the used book store and purchased:

    Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Viplent Eclipse of Harry Crosby by Geoffrey Wolff

    A People Apart: The Jews in Europe, 1789-1939 by David Vital

    Not only am I reader. I generally seem drawn to books that are far from what is on the bestseller list.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:

      I have absolutely no desire to read Game of Thrones for example. No desire at all. Same with any other fantasy epic like the Wheel of Time series.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

      I think cable gets it about right with 10-15 episode seasons.

      I also think that if books were discussed at the water cooler it would be Game of Thrones and not that Japanese bloke’s. I did like Norwegian Wood, though.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Will Truman says:

        I don’t disagree. The US is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the media.

        I get that we live in a golden age of TV. It seems like every tv show has a hardcore group of fans who will take serious offense if you do not watch their show.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

        I have never met a person who takes offense if you don’t watch their show. You hang out with the wrong people.Report

      • I suspect that the amount of offense taken is often related to how one expresses their disinterest.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

        Right, “I’ve never seen your show, but I know it’s not worth watching, because it’s on television, and television is a vapid, soul-sucking medium that only people of lesser intelligence and character enjoy” is going to get angry reactions.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Will Truman says:


        I was using a bit of hyperbole and it is more about how TV is talked about on culture sites but it seems like there is a constant round of must-see TV debuting every week and needing catching up on starting with: The Sopranos, Party Down, Eastbound and Down, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Girls, Community, Sherlock, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Justified, Baylon 5 (new version), Looking, and many more. Where do people find all this time to watch all this TV?


        Again this is where it seems American cultural politics gets very weird. It is horrible to be anti-populist and reject TV but it seems perfectly acceptable to be a non-reader and it is seen as snooty to recommend people read beyond the bestseller list and mass market thrillers or YA or fantasy. Maybe I am being naive but I read books in the New York Review of Books classic series and wonder what exactly makes them highbrow and inaccessible. Some are like The Anatomy of Melancholy but others strike me as being or should be accessible to the average reader. Serious question can you tell me why this book would be inaccessible to the average reader without snark?

        Same with Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time, Stoner by John Williams, or The Go-Between by LP Hartley.

        I have a hard time figuring out what makes high-brow culture high-brow because I am in the thick of it and to me A Dance to the Music of Time is just as accessible or more accessible than A Game of Thrones or the Wheel of Time.Report

      • Avatar Trumwill in reply to Will Truman says:

        @newdealer Of the shows you’ve listed, I’ve only seen three through (assuming you meant Battlestar Galactica where you said Babylon 5) and seen more than one episode of only three more. It’s not really expected that you watch all of these programs.

        I’d also say that recommending books is as much about presentation as expressing disinterest. I can’t imagine all that many people will actually take offense at a book suggestion. Though saying something like “You should read more!” can get a bad effect.

        That last part is due in part because, before the Golden Age of Television, TV people had to listen to a lot of snobs who didn’t just not watch television, but who proudly proclaimed that they did not own one and often shared their very low opinions on television. It’s possible that expressing a general disinterest in television elicits reactions from that time.

        (Not that there is anything wrong with not owning a television. Though I technically owned one, I didn’t even have my TV plugged in for long stretches at a time in between 1998 and 2005 or so. I remember having to scramble to hook up my old TV whenever I had a pressing need to watch something (presidential debates, for example, or a movie night with a date). At other points, there was a TV but it was mostly my roommates that watched it.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

        [Censors self.]

        Argh argh argh argh argh argh argh.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Will Truman says:

        It is horrible to be anti-populist and reject TV but it seems perfectly acceptable to be a non-reader and it is seen as snooty to recommend people read beyond the bestseller list and mass market thrillers or YA or fantasy.

        I notice that you’re comparing “rejecting TV” with being a “non-reader.” I submit that those two things aren’t really comparable. It’s one thing not to watch TV. What annoys people is ostentatiously not watching TV. As far as I know, people don’t generally advertise not reading books the way they advertise not watching TV.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

        You should troll some of these “non-readers” more often.
        Recommend books, and then ask them later if they looked at ’em.
        (Bonus points if you actually give them a copy).

        Of course, you’d have to recommend a particular type of book…
        (trolls write books too — and the reactions you’d get!).

        I don’t claim much in the way of pop culture knowledge — I’ve only
        seen parks and recreation on that list.Report

      • Avatar dhex in reply to Will Truman says:

        it’s all about how you talk about what you like/love. i’ve had conversations with workfolk who have no contact with extreme music about the fierce energy of grindcore and some of the (pg) silly band names. it’s entirely possible to be into marginal stuff and yet find a way to express that enthusiasm without turning people off.

        also you might learn something by listening to people talk about their own interests. wacky!

        that said i’m reading “a fine place so far from home” about first generation college students who became academics. it’s interesting and some of it has resonated with me, but i don’t think that higher ed as a whole is now quite as jerky as some of these personal essays discuss; i don’t think (but can’t rule out) that professors would make fun of a 1st gen student who didn’t know how to pronounce a french term they’d read but never discussed, and it wasn’t the case when i went to school.

        my lousy argumentation skills were mocked, but deservedly so. not so much my ignorance about how “raison d’etre” was pronounced.Report

    • Avatar aaron david in reply to NewDealer says:

      “Dude, did you read the part where the sheepman talkedinrunonsentences!?
      “That’s not as cool as the well!”

      Yeah, it would be different.Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumbers in reply to NewDealer says:

      It would be a more interesting nation if people talked about Haruki Murakami novels at the Water cooler instead of The Voice or some such.

      Yes, but the trick would be to get everyone to read the same book at the same time.

      Hence book clubs.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

      Welsh TV can take a 2 hour movie and turn it into a five hour … TV Show.
      The results are predictably hideous.
      (What did you expect? They are welsh, after all…)
      I’d throw in a Tolkien joke here, but you wouldn’t get it.
      And Blaise isn’t around, so why bother?Report

  3. Avatar aaron david says:

    I liked Sherlock well enough, but yeah, three episodes? I think HBO has the right number with about a dozen, a la The Wire.

    Working on Conrad’s Arrow of Gold right now, but also rereading The Anubis Gates, just for the shear joy of it.Report

  4. Avatar NewDealer says:

    I also saw the Wind Rises last night (Japanese subtitle variant)*

    All of Miyazaki’s whimsey and genius and human touch cannot wash way or hide the fact that this is a movie about a man who designed planes for the Axis during WWII and I found that hard to swallow. I am with the Chinese and the Koreans on this one. Miyazaki’s attempts at acknowledging the errors of the Axis in WWII were weak tea. He has a German character on the run call the Nazis a bunch of hooligans and the same character states that Germany and Japan will pay dearly for choices and course of action. There are also criticisms of Japan’s version of the Gestapo who are derided as the “thought police” in the movie. Yet the main character wanted to design planes and designing fighter planes was the only game in town in Japan. Never does he question or think that perhaps it is better to not design planes than it is to design war planes. He seems to go into a bit of a “banality of evil” kind of thought pattern when dealing with engineering problems like how to reduce drag and such. Once in a while the protagonist would say he didn’t want to design war planes but it didn’t seem to get to him too much.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:

      Forgot my asterisk!

      In the American dub, the main character is voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In the Japanese one, he is voiced by a 52 year old man. I find this interesting for some reason.Report

  5. Avatar Chris says:

    The Cave and the Light: Plato versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization, eh? It’s all Plato’s fault.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

      Oops, sorry. Should have put a spoiler warning there. 😉Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Chris says:

        I take you are an Aristotelean then.

        The author so far is taking a balanced approach and showing the good and bad of both philosophers and suggesting a balance. He regards Ghandi and Martin Luther King as being part of the Platonic-idealist tradition and views them in a very positive light. He also said that Plato can lead to a Pol Pot if unchecked. For Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas and Thomas Jefferson are good students/descendents but an unchecked Aristotle can also give rise to an unjust status quo and political corruption like Boss Tweed.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        No, I’m not an Aristotelian, not particularly at least. Or a Platonist. I like my being to be becoming. Like I (jokingly) said, though, I was spoiling the book.

        Also, it’s not a very good book.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Chris says:


        Did you read the book or is that another joke?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Yes, I did. Definitely not joking about its quality.

        Do you read much philosophy?Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Chris says:

        Not for a while. I am looking for stuff that is written for something more complex than a general readership but not as complex as peer-reviewed academia.

        Any recommendations?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Well, if you don’t want to read the primary sources (with Plato and Aristotle, I’d recommend doing so, and there are some excellent secondary sources on them to help you navigate — Aristotle in particular is difficult to navigate), you might start with Kenny’s A New History of Western Philosophy, which is really pretty good (all 3 volumes, though that looks like it has all three in one).

        If you want something more in depth, the Routledge Philosophers series is pretty excellent. I’ve read Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche (there are better books on Nietzsche, if you’re interested), Spinoza (same as Nietzsche), Aristolte, Locke, and Heidegger. There are several others, and the book on Hume that’s coming out this year is supposed to be very good. They do a good job of situating the thought (Spinoza, e.g., can be confusing without grasping the debates about substance that had been going on for a thousand years, and Locke can be hard to grasp if you don’t know the context of “ideas” and Descartes and general and particular) so that, if you wanted to go to the primary sources afterwards, you’d have a pretty good foundation for understanding them.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Also, I forgot that there is a philosopher whose very name is verboten in these parts, which also made me wonder what the commenter who led to the banning of the name is up to these days.Report

  6. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    On the length of Sherlock, it’s worth noting that each episode is an hour and a half long. So even though it is technically a three episode TV series, it has the meat of a movie trilogy.Report

  7. Avatar Maribou says:

    I’m reading a middle grade novel called the 10 PM Question, by a NZ author. Set somewhere in the South Island, Dunedin I think. (the city is not named and I don’t know the street names well enough to tell. If it doesn’t come up by the end of the book I’ll have to do some Googling.) Also in the middle of the 2013 volumes of Best American Essays and Best American Science and Nature Writing. And the usual assortment of other things.

    Watching the third season of Sherlock.Report

  8. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    I watched the gold medal hockey game, which was awesome.

    I will soon be watching the commentaries on my Game of Thrones Season 3 box set.Report

  9. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    Finishing up Allegiant right now.Report

  10. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I didn’t see the Closing Ceremonies myself, but I understand that whoever organized it was able to laugh about the gaffe during the Opening Ceremonies. When groups of people formed the Olympic rings, they had the upper right group stay clustered before finally assuming their position, recreating the gaffe. Sounds like a pretty cool and fun way to show a sense of humor about the whole thing.Report

  11. Avatar Glyph says:

    Man, True Detective was painful last night.

    Turned off Walking Dead because it was just…so…painful in a different way, right after watching TD.Report

  12. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    Are we not doing B5 this week?Report