I missed this back in 2014: WIRED did an oral history of The Right Stuff. One of my favorite movies, starring some of my favorite actors, about one of my favorite topics, based on one of my favorite books. Lightning in a bottle.
Heat has long been one of my favorite movies, for several reasons; I think it may have been the third or fourth DVD I ever bought, back when DVDs were a $40 extravagance. News has hit the wire that Michael Mann is releasing a prequel novel to Heat which will explore the lives of the characters before the movie's timeline and after (at least, for those who are still alive). I haven't read much this past year—I still have to get a copy of Project Hail Mary—but this one I will purchase.
I've long been a fan of the Onion A/V Club, a website dedicated to pop culture and home to a ton of excellent writers from the early days of the web. Some time ago they got merged into Gawker and when that family of sites imploded they were able to hang on, most likely because of the quality of their work. G/O Media, the new corporate owners of the old Gawker sites, are now basically pushing the longest tenured writers at the A/V Club out in a pretty blatant move to bust up their union and hire cheaper workers in a race to become yet another middling entertainment site. I can only hope they follow the lead of the writers at Defector and build their own thing together.
This seems like good news, so I'll post it here: DirecTV has announced it will cease broadcasting OAN News, the batshit right-wing network promoting vaccine conspiracies. From an earlier Reuters report [emphasis mine]:
The announcement by DirecTV, which is 70% owned by AT&T, comes three months after a Reuters investigation revealed that OAN’s founder testified that AT&T inspired him to create the network. Court testimony also showed that OAN receives nearly all of its revenue from DirecTV.
The Democrats are now the party of only trying to stop things from getting worse; they currently control the House, the Senate, and the Presidency and yet they have accomplished very little, either because they are so corrupt or so self-defeating or so uninterested as to have accepted the idea that Accomplishing Very Little is what they are there to do.
Kelsey McKinney writes for Defector about what going back to normal means; she's put something into words that I've been feeling but haven't been able to properly synthesize: the pandemic illustrates just how broken the American society we've built actually is, how our elected officials can't help us or fix it, and how a whole group of powerful interests don't want things to get better. We are all experiencing trauma and most of us don't have time or energy to realize or process it.
Defector is nominally a sports website but the writing reaches far above and beyond that. Every author is outstanding. I recommend subscribing—the site is owned by the authors and it's worth every penny (and I don't typically subscribe to many websites).
Jalopnik, a car blog from back in Ye Olden Days, is basically a dried up husk of what it used to be in its prime. But there are a few shining gems left if you know where to look: Last year David Tracy, who has been a correspondent there for years, went on a quixotic trip to revive a Jeep FC-170 in the Pacific Northwest, where it had been abandoned for decades. We've been waiting for the writeup ever since; he posted the whole story today. Seeing what he went through to get it running, and where he took it after that, is inspiring to say the very least. More of this, please.