Culture

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History

Growing up, I found music more interesting than sports.

I devoured every issue of Rolling Stone and Musician in between sessions at the piano or on my guitar. My classic rock sensibilities followed me through my classical music studies as a music (and philosophy) major at Duke, where I interviewed guitar legend Richard Thompson (page 18) and a host of jazz luminaries (page 3 — and yes, Clint Eastwood was there). I wrote about my percussionist days, and I still harbor dreams of being a bass player in a semi-progressive rock band.

So I have plenty of music posts at my personal blog, Mostly Modern Media. You’ll also find some fun reads on television and comedy. My friends at the entertainment site Popdose also let me write.

I’ve also had some brutally honest reflections on my occupation, journalism, starting in 2000 with my grad-school projectThe Changing Face of News in the Information Age. I warned of journalists sacrificing accuracy and context to be “first” with the news, and I worried that readers would personalize their information to the point of ignoring everything that doesn’t fit their world view. I hate being right.

And I’m not just a sports-and-rock guy pontificating about journalism. I spent much of my career on news desks. At Duke, I covered the sentencing of the “bogus baron” and wrote opinion pieces on letter grades and academicese. At Ozy, a couple of decades later, I wrote about Millennials spurning small towns in a piece that was picked up at NPR.

But the biggest non-sports piece I’ve ever written was a Guardian piece on the revival of Flat Earth theory. Written in 2016, not 1716.

Projects and indexes

Recent music

Latest at Mostly Modern Media 

  • Would you recognize satire or fake news if it bit you in the backside?
    There’s a great moment in Aziz Ansari’s Netflix special in which he asks people about a story in which the pepperoni on a pizza may have looked like swastika. What did you think of the story? Was it a swastika? A few people answer with applause for the options he throws out. Did you read … Continue reading Would you recognize satire or fake news if it bit you in the backside? →
  • Rebuilding Springfield
    I’ve been playing The Simpsons: Tapped Out for a while. It throws a lot of buildings and characters at its players, and I’ve grown tired of trying to cram them in. I went through and “stored” many of the buildings in town. I left in place a couple of areas that I liked: The park … Continue reading Rebuilding Springfield →
  • Help me decide which books to read
    I read many, many words every day. In addition to things I read for work, I subscribe to newsletters from The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Conversation and several more. But at some point, I need to tackle this stack of books. I have 12 books on my “not yet read” … Continue reading Help me decide which books to read →
  • Things I used to be good at: Timpani
    I have no idea why my percussion teacher had such faith in a relative beginner at Duke, but I wound up playing Elliott Carter’s March at my senior recital after only two years of instruction. I did not, however, play it as fast as this guy, who’s impressive but omits the fun switches from the … Continue reading Things I used to be good at: Timpani →
  • Need insulin? Visit the land of curling … and one heroic medical researcher
    Things I did not know: An Ontario scientist named Frederick Banting sold the patent rights to insulin, the life-saving drug for diabetics, for $1. “Insulin does not belong to me, it belongs to the world,” said the Nobel Prize winner. A century later, Canada is once again bailing out diabetics — this time because of … Continue reading Need insulin? Visit the land of curling … and one heroic medical researcher →
  • Why we’re not impeaching now …
    The Republicans can’t turn against Trump the way they turned against Nixon because they see him as their best chance to maintain power so they can keep pressing their traditional Republican values. Like free trade … oh, wait … Like reining in deficit spending … oops … Like using the bully pulpit to encourage moral- … Continue reading Why we’re not impeaching now … →
  • Sex on the big screen — no, not Game of Thrones on your 65-inch HD in the basement
    Murder! Guns! Graphic war scenes! A man tenderly running his hand … Whoa, whoa! We can’t let our kids see that! Our sensibilities about sex and violence have always been a bit hypocritical. Jamie Lee Curtis taking off her top in Trading Places? That’s an R rating. A film strewn with death? Today, PG-13. In … Continue reading Sex on the big screen — no, not Game of Thrones on your 65-inch HD in the basement →
  • One way to see Ireland …
    (Allow time for this to load. Lots of photos.) About 6.5 million people live in Ireland and Northern Ireland combined. Roughly 10 million have left since 1800, the University of Cork’s emigration site tells us. After visiting for the second time, I have a question: Why did they ever leave? OK, yes, Ireland has had … Continue reading One way to see Ireland … →
  • Maybe time to start cataloging immigration nonsense?
    I keep bookmarks on all sorts of things, from clips of my writing to a catalog of what’s going wrong in this country. On this site, I’ve put a couple of categories from those bookmarks in one handy place — see the bullshit and climate change pages. I’m thinking it might be time for an … Continue reading Maybe time to start cataloging immigration nonsense? →
  • Things to remember about the Cohen testimony that the “liberal media” haven’t emphasized enough
    Yesterday, a man who is going to jail for doing the dirty work for the president of the United States produced documents for and gave many new leads to a Congressional committee that’s trying to get to the bottom of the president’s many misdeeds. Many in the “liberal media” missed the point, echoing what happened … Continue reading Things to remember about the Cohen testimony that the “liberal media” haven’t emphasized enough →

Full clips by topic: music, tv, reviews, academia, books

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