Primitive Internet video more prophetic than we could ever imagine


This 1981 video, about a very early form of Internet-accessible newspapers, is making the rounds. It’s more prophetic than it intends to be, with the San Francisco Examiner‘s David Cole saying, “This is an experiment. We’re trying to figure out what this means to us as editors and reporters and what it means to the home user. We’re not in it to make money. We’re, uh, probably not going to lose a lot, but we’re not going to make a lot, either.” [My emphasis.]
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For the past couple of weeks in Serious Eats Talk, I’ve been meddling with Talk topic titles, trying to help make them more precise and reflective of what’s being asked in the thread.

In some cases, I truly think my meddling is helpful. For instance, “Need a butcher in Phoenix” is a better title than “Need a butcher.”

Well, the Serious Eats community is sharp, and they’ve noticed. I’ve been called out a couple times now on it, the latest in this thread that SE member PerkyMac started early Tuesday morning.

I’ve been following the conversation and commenting there over the last two days and have realized that maybe a large part of my headline meddling had to do with some of the recent off-topicality in Talk. We’ve gotten more than a few emails in the last couple months about threads going off-topic and becoming too filled with chit chat. And now I’m wondering if my playing with Talk titles was a way to try to correct that and steer things in a more serious direction.

Anyway, I have more to say about it in this comment on that thread. What I’m blabbing about here is my Style Bites site, which I’ve now taken out from behind its privacy wall.

SE member dbcurrie, who works at a newspaper, brought up AP style in the abovementioned thread, and it reminded me that I had been keeping Style Bites to myself. I really love talking about copy-editing and blogging and writing for the web (which is also why that Talk topic has been so fun to participate in). And now that I’m sharing the Style Bites blog, I hope to do more of it on Kublog/Style Bites. Continue reading “ now public”

It’s an idea

nameredacted: ok, i’m sure you’re much too busy to want to talk about this, so i’ll just type it and you can tell me what you think later nameredacted: it’s a reality website concept called BLOG IDOL nameredacted: people audition with blog entries nameredacted: and then the finalists have to write a post on whatever … Continue reading It’s an idea

The Georgia Guidestones

The story behind the guidestones is as mysterious as the monuments themselves. In June 1979 a well dressed, articulate man walked into theoffice of the Elberton Granite Company in Elberton, Georgia and said that he wanted to know the cost of building a large monument to the conservation of humanity. He identified himself as Mr. … Continue reading The Georgia Guidestones

Rut Blees Luxemburg

Rut Blees Luxemburg at Union Gallery Just heard a few songs from Original Pirate Material on BBC 6 Music, which had me navigating to read a bit about the album on Wikipedia. I’ve always liked the album art on that record. Wiki says it’s by Rut Blees Luxemburg, “a German artist who studied photography at … Continue reading Rut Blees Luxemburg

Jeffrey R. DeRego’s ‘Union Dues’ series on ‘Escape Pod’


If you’re a speculative-fiction fan and aren’t plugged in to Escape Pod, shame on you.

There’s a great series of stories you’re missing by Jeffrey R. DeRego. DeRego’s Union Dues series is sort of the Revisionist Western of the superhero world, imagining all the mundane details of superhero recruitment, training, and PR spin that go along with a legion of “supers” trying to live among—and apart from—us “normals.”

Think of it as Studs Terkel’s Working meets Watchmen (minus the epic arc of that Alan Moore alternate-history superhero story).

From DeRego's Facebook pageThe most recent tale, “All About the Sponsors” (published on Escaped Pod on Jan. 2) finally gives us the origin story of “The Union.” And while it answers some long-burning questions, it’s not the best of the Union Dues series.

My favorite so far has been “All That We Leave Behind”, in which Megaton, a “superstrong” is charged with recruiting a bullied teenage boy whose own superstrong powers are just starting to manifest. The Union’s policy is to remove manifesting supers from normal society, give them an “identity,” write them into comics, and send them on missions that are often little more than glorified disaster relief—all to create and preserve a fragile, self-serving myth that allows the morphed characters to coexist (however tenuously) with a public that doesn’t always appreciate their “help.”

“All That We Leave Behind” sees Megaton wrestle with a crisis of conscience over what to do with a teen superstrong whose single-parent mom is dying of cancer and needs him as her sole caregiver. It’s a touching story that perfectly illustrates DeRego’s antihero universe, touching on all the themes—doubt, frustration, a sense of pointlessness—that are hallmarks of this world in progress.

Continue reading “Jeffrey R. DeRego’s ‘Union Dues’ series on ‘Escape Pod’”