Dandy Cat

It may not be news to anyone, but I’m finding that a good1 pair of silicone-coated tongs are perhaps the most useful and underrated tool in my kitchen. I keep finding new uses for them!

  1. A very forgiving word here. Mine were part of a cheap set from Amazon↩︎

Gone with the Wind publishers brand novel ‘racist’ and ‘harmful’ at start of new edition

From Jacob Stolworthy:

A new edition of Margaret Mitchell’s epic novel, released by Pan Macmillan, contains a caution at the start warning readers of its “problematic” content.

The note reportedly says the book has not been rewritten to erase the offensive material, but says it includes “racist” elements that are “hurtful or indeed harmful”.

I feel that this is an appropriate and adequate addition to the book. Assure the readers that nothing in the text has changed, give some historical context, and allow people to choose for themselves if they want to venture into a problematic book.

This is in contrast to the recent trend of removing or altering problematic language and themes in previously published works. New editions of the books of Agatha Christie, Ian Fleming, and Roald Dahl have had their texts changed in recent months. I can understand why the publishers have made their alterations, but I believe it’s the wrong tack to take.

It will surprise nobody to learn that I don’t own the rights to these books. I’m just some guy in Southern California, not some powerful publishing decision-maker. However, I don’t feel censorship is necessarily the correct decision to make with most things. Not only would Margaret Mitchell’s book be reduced to a slim and confounding thing, but trying to erase slavery from history, even in the context of a work of fiction, would be far more problematic.

It’s not a book ban, but a text ban is still an erasure. In the case of Gone with the Wind, removing any text relating to slavery would be akin to whitewashing the past. I’m glad the publishers haven’t made that decision. Context and education are important. Willful ignorance and turning a blind eye to the atrocities of the past are harmful.

UPDATE: Is there a word for book publishers who fall over themselves to alter the content of older works for “current sensibilities” because other publishers are doing it and they don’t want to be branded as politically incorrect or behind the times?

Penguin Random House has started changing “outdated” terms in the works of P.G Wodehouse. Jeeves and Wooster couldn’t escape this fate either. This time, they’ve also included a disclaimer at the front of the book. As I wrote above, an explanation of a book’s history and how it may be problematic today is an acceptable addition. Altering the content? I’m not as certain.

This is beginning to feel like reactionary jumping on the bandwagon. At what point do these actions go from feeling like they’re well-intended to an obvious fear of losing money?

Letterboxd Diaries—March 2023

Total movies watched: 28.

Favorite movies of the month: The Bridge on the River Kwai and Women Talking.

Worst movie of the month: The Dark Tower.

Be sure to follow me on Letterboxd! 🎥

I’m also finding out that installing new ceiling insulation requires turning the room into some kind of Dexter-style, plastic-covered space. If I see them start to tack up pictures of random people on the walls and lay out sharp tools, then I’m going to have some serious questions for them.

I’m getting new ceiling insulation installed in my work space/bedroom today. Hopefully, this will help mitigate the oven-like temperatures I’m plagued with every year in that room. There’s hardly anything more unpleasant than trying to sleep in a puddle of my own sweat.

The new Apple Music Classical app is a refined and focused experience. I’ve immediately gotten much enjoyment out of what it provides. It gets a hearty recommendation for any fan of the genre.

It’s still a shame that it’s not yet available for iPad or Mac. What an easily avoidable fumble.

While it may not be a great indicator of overall health, I was still excited to see that my BMI has finally shifted down into the “overweight” category. Being classified as “obese” didn’t feel too good.

Does the Pope live in constant fear of spilling communion wine/spaghetti sauce/melting chocolate from fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies on his brilliant white robes?

I read The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami. This is not my preferred short story collection of his; that honor would go to Men Without Women. This was fine enough and had a couple of stand-out stories, notably one that was turned into an amazing Korean film. 📚

I strive every day to be more like my fancy bed frame: Light, sturdy, expansive, aesthetically pleasing, and tightly assembled with fine Japanese joinery.

A fancy bed frame headboard featuring great Japanese joinery

I wonder if I’ll ever get to the point where I’m not laid out for most of a day after receiving a COVID booster shot. Granted, it has gotten better since the first ones—I’m not a moaning pile of soreness like I used to be.

I’m looking forward to this evening when I will surely feel better.

I watched Greta Gerwig’s Little Women last night and, as is always the case with these sorts of films, finished it thinking I should buy and read Emily Post’s Etiquette.

Why shouldn’t I try to be the most polite and fancy lad possible?

‘Monk’ Reunion Movie Set at Peacock

Second only to better-be-soon news about the better-be-happening fourth Psych movie, a Monk movie is the best thing I’ve heard about all day.

Tony Shalhoub will once again star as Adrian Monk, the consulting detective who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and a wide range of phobias. Other returning cast members are Ted Levine as Leland Stottlemeyer, Traylor Howard as Natalie Teeger, Jason Gray-Stanford as Randy Disher, Melora Hardin as Trudy Monk, and Hector Elizondo as Dr. Neven Bell.

I can’t wait!

I started trying to learn how to properly touch type a few days ago. The experience has taught me in short order why some people use and prefer Dvorak and Colemak layouts. QWERTY hardly feels intuitive, even after using it my whole life.

Apple Music Classical to Launch on March 28th

From John Voorhees at MacStories:

On March 28th, Apple will launch Apple Music Classical, a free app that’s already available for pre-order that will offer a catalog of over 5 million classical recordings to Apple Music subscribers at no additional cost.

I was beginning to think that this app would never see the light of day. That it would be another Apple acquisition that’s just quietly absorbed and never heard from again. Maybe some of the features of Primephonic would find their way into Apple Music, but nothing more.

As a classical music lover, I’m happy they proved me wrong.

It’s too early to say if this new app will answer classical music lovers’ prayers, but it looks like the foundation is sturdy. The app should only get better once it’s released (especially since it’s being released through the App Store and may not be encumbered with receiving only annual updates, like most of their other apps).

The audio quality should also be top-notch. Classical songs were quick to take advantage of Hi-Res Lossless and Dolby Atmos playback. Coupled with proper metadata and a more thoughtful and appropriate presentation, Apple Music Classical could be, pardon the pun, music to my ears.

At long last, Castro has been updated. To call me underwhelmed would be an understatement. It took them over a year to give it a slight visual refresh? Where’s the promised syncing between devices? Where’s the iPad app?

I’m so glad I switched back to Overcast.

Letterboxd Diaries—February 2023

Total movies watched: 29.

Favorite movie of the month: TÁR.

Worst movies of the month: Men and Cell. Those were memorably, frustratingly bad.

Be sure to follow me on Letterboxd! 🎥

My taxes for this year have been done. As always, it was an unnecessarily tiring ordeal, but I’m relieved to have gotten it done in such a timely manner.

Letterboxd Diaries—January 2023

Total movies watched: 24.

Favorite movie of the month: Bringing Up Baby.

Worst movie of the month: Red Dawn.

Be sure to follow me on Letterboxd! 🎥

I read Past Tense by Lee Child. While it wasn’t the best Jack Reacher novel, it was a new take on the old formula. This refreshing change made for a propulsive and enjoyable read. 📚

I’ve long lamented the fact that I’ll probably never be able to become a stealthy ninja or renowned super spy, given the way my knees and ankles crack when I walk.

I read Stella Maris by Cormac McCarthy. This was a wildly different book than The Passenger, but it does a good job of informing much of what was in it. A fascinating pair by one of the greats. 📚

I just found out that a somewhat local independent bookstore, called Cellar Door Bookstore, is being evicted from their Riverside, CA location of ten years. Here’s their announcement. At the time of their eviction notice, they were given a meager forty-one days to clear out their entire inventory and hand over their keys.

Since they’ve received no explanation for the eviction from their property management company, speculation about this terrible surprise is all anybody has right now. Cellar Door has long held reading events led by local drag queens called “Drag Queen Storytime.” It’s hard not to feel that this harmless and supportive event is the cause of their eviction. No official reason has been given, so it wouldn’t be right to condemn anybody for their actions yet. However, the timing of everything—so soon after a recent Drag Queen Storytime—is telling. If that’s the reason, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest. Upset, but not surprised.

Hateful actions from ignorant people happen all the time, and often it’s especially hurtful when those actions happen so close to home. Luckily, Cellar Door is not run by people who will take any of this lying down. They will have to vacate, but that doesn’t mean they’ve reached the end of their story. They’re sure to find another location (hopefully close by and run by good management) and will continue providing their community with a welcoming and loving book-centered experience.

In the meantime, I’ll be going there as soon as possible to give them some of my money during this rough time. I’m also excited to soon have the opportunity to continue supporting them at their future location.

I encourage anyone who reads this to purchase as many books as you can from them—they have an online storefront—or make use of companies that support local bookstores and other worthwhile literary causes, such as Bookshop.org, IndieBound.org, ThriftBooks, Better World Books, or really just anywhere that isn’t Amazon.1

UPDATE: According to a poorly written article in The Press-Enterprise, Cellar Door has been given until March 31, not February 28 as they were first told, to relocate. A small kindness, but one only given after this story attracted a fair amount of backlash from the community. The store will still be moving and will still be better off for it.

  1. Especially now that Amazon ended their AmazonSmile program because it “has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped.” Yet another disappointing load of corporate cruelty. ↩︎

I read The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay. A fascinating, high-concept idea. Unfortunately, much of the first half is full of tiring exposition dumps and a misunderstanding of the maxim of “show, don’t tell.” 📚

Apple released a new full-size HomePod today, and it’s sadly not the HomePod I was hoping it would be. I bet it’ll sound great, but at a still prohibitive $299, I’m hoping it won’t suffer the same sad fate as its predecessor.