Five Stranger Things About Media and Technology Right Now

(I don’t know why I started giving these posts classic sci-fi/monster movie titles, but here we are. Here’s Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10, and Part 11.)

1. The worst thing that can happen to you on Twitter is to get the official blue checkmark. Once you have that, they’ve got you for life.

2. It occurs to me that there’s a way to make politicians and company heads tell the truth: every question a reporter asks should be followed up with “Do you swear to God” or “Do you swear on the lives of your children?” See what happens.

3. If I understand The Last Jedi trailer correctly, Han Solo has been replaced by…a CGI hamster?

4. Much like all those weird flavors of Oreos and autoplay videos on web sites, there’s no reason for the new Will & Grace to exist (though I’m glad they Bobby Ewing-ed that whole plot from the finale where they didn’t speak for 18 years and their kids married each other).

5. The Letter will be back and in your mailboxes the second week of November. I had planned to have it out to you before that but I want to relaunch it with a big Thanksgiving/Christmas edition. And even though it continues to be in the 70’s and muggy and looks like summer never wants to go away, I still believe that Thanksgiving and Christmas are indeed coming.

PBJ

Some first week of October debuts:

Charles Schulz’s Peanuts, on October 2, 1950
The Twilight Zone, on October 2, 1959
The Andy Griffith Show, on October 3, 1960
The Dick Van Dyke Show, on October 3, 1961

Now, those are four of my favorite, well, anything ever, so I’m particularly pleased that, purely by happenstance, Professor Barnhardt’s Journal made it’s debut the first week of October too. In fact, today is PBJ’s 15th anniversary.

When I started PBJ, I didn’t know what to expect. The big question was, could I get anyone to contribute? I sent out e-mails to people I liked and tried to persuade them to write for me. How could they refuse? My pitch was basically this: Not only will you not be paid, you’ll be read by almost three dozen people! I didn’t have a lot of hope and figured I’d have to write everything myself, but then I had people like Roger Ebert get back to me and say, sure, I’d love to write for you!

It still amazes me. USA Today even named us a “Hip Click,” and Yahoo! made us their “Pick of the Week.”

I have a post up over there where I pick several of my favorite essays and stories over the years. There are others I could have mentioned but I didn’t want the post to be just be a long, hard-to-get-through list, so after you read what I’ve picked take a look at the archives.

Baby, It’s Warm Outside

First off, a big thank you to everyone who contributed to this! It is much appreciated.

Second…why is summer back? I didn’t order this. Can I send it back and get something else? Maybe the nachos?

I had already switched to “hot beverage mode” last week when the temps dropped to the 60s and there was a nice E/NE breeze. Finally, fall was here! No more shorts! No more sweating! No more annoying “It’s gonna be a Subaru summer” commercials! Now we’re back to dew points around 65 or so and I’m kicking myself for putting the fan away. Supposed to be a change on Friday when a cold front comes by, brings some relief, and pushes Maria out to sea. More mugginess next week though.

I don’t want to get all political, but I’m taking a knee too. To protest the return of summer. It’s just symbolic though, because if I actually took a knee at this point it would take me a while to get back up.

2017 Fundraiser!

This web site is now old enough to drink.

This month marks the 21st birthday for my site. Balloons! Cake! General merriment! That’s a lot of years, a lot of words. If you like what I do here, I have a request.

I’ll be blunt: a writing career isn’t what it used to be and I need cash. Not just for the usual life purposes but it also costs money to maintain this site and the pop culture blog Professor Barnhardt’s Journal (which turns 15 in October). Not a lot, but enough, and I want to start adding new things in 2018: a podcast, video, and more. So I guess what I’m asking is, if you enjoy the sites, maybe you can donate a buck or two to help keep everything going? A little goes a long way. If you give $8 you get a year’s subscription to The Letter, a handwritten or typed letter I send out quarterly via snail mail. And if you want to give even more, well, I’m certainly not going to argue with you.

Of course, if you can’t give anything, that’s fine too! These sites will always be free (there’s a free book too!). I appreciate each and every visit.

But if you can, click the Donate button on the right and you can pay securely via PayPal or a credit card.

Thank you! (Oh, needless to say, if you want me to write something for you, please get in touch.)

I Rate Things

On a scale of 1 to 10…

The Monuments Men: 7
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: 10
People who sit on my stairs and leave their Dunkin’ Donuts cups and cigarette butts: 0
Grocery carts with wobbly wheels: 1
Car commercials: 0
Frank Sinatra: 10
Sweatpants without pockets: 4
In-ear headphones: 2
No-alcohol mouthwash: 5
Reynolds Wrap: 10
Wolf Blitzer: 4

3…2…1…Relaunch!

So I quit social media and started mailing out handwritten letters. I’m always on the cutting edge of technology.

Subscribers to The Letter know that I stopped it earlier this year. I loved doing it but just couldn’t keep up with sending out a new, fresh letter every single month, especially with all of the other writing I was doing. But today marks its relaunch because I think I’ve come up with a solution.

It will now be a quarterly! I’ll send out a new one every few months or so (starting at the end of this month). And because it’s now a quarterly I’ve also dropped the price. It’s only $8 for an entire year. (If you’re not sure what The Letter is, here are all the details.) If you’re already a subscriber things will proceed as usual.

If you’d like to subscribe, just click the “Donate” button on the right and send the money through either PayPal or credit card (sorry, I can’t accept cash payments through this site – the bills keep getting stuck in the hard drive).

Order today! Makes a great gift! Help save the post office! Exclamation points!

Actual footage of me writing a letter.