Addendum to previous

I made a rookie mistake last night and got on the metro going in the wrong direction, which wouldn’t have been a problem except that I embarked at Columbia Heights around 2:30 A.M. on the second-to-last northbound train. I wasn’t that drunk, but I somehow confused Greenbelt for the Green Line’s southern terminus (it isn’t). Then I heard the conductor announce the next stop as “Fort Totten.”


I exited and looked in vain at the schedule for the opposite direction. I’d probably passed the last southbound train on the way up, the one I was supposed to board in Columbia Heights. So there I was at Fort Totten just shy of 3 A.M., outdoor temperature approaching mid-50s, phone at maybe 60% battery. Google Maps said the walk to Chinatown (and home) would take an hour and a half. The party I’d just left and the person I’d just walked home from that party were both an hour away in Columbia Heights, not worth it. So, long story not much shorter, I walked from Fort Totten to Chinatown and arrived without incident a little after 4 A.M. 

Dumb? Perhaps. I was still a little drunk and probably dehydrated, hadn’t eaten in five hours, and my parents would probably be upset that I didn’t take a cab. But I had a knife and running shoes, I am not female, and I felt like accepting a challenge, possibly in response to what I worked out in retrospect in the last post

Thoughts from last night

Interacting with people a few years ahead in life is not intimidating in the moment (especially once you add booze) but very much so in retrospect. These people have (multiple) degrees/fellowships, jobs, their own apartments or townhouses, bills, fleshed-out LinkedIns. I’m an undergraduate unpaid intern moonlighting as a military/aviation rivetcounter. I am nowhere near their league career-(let alone dating-)wise, and I do not know how or even if that gap can be closed in a few years once I graduate. 

On the plus side, I discovered gin-and-tonics and cinnamon-flavored vodka, the latter disproving my long-held belief that flavored vodka is shit and should be avoided at all costs. 

Oh my god, I read this book in fifth grade and became that insufferable “did you know Moby Dick was real?” know-it-all who then proceeded to read Moby Dick, or The Whale in sixth grade (protip: Melville is not conducive to middle-school book reports). Thomas crimecommitter, I’ve changed my mind, this is the nonfiction book I think would make an excellent movie. Honestly looking forward to this as much as another Pacific Rim or Godzilla

  • Track Name

    Episode 104: The Laughter Games

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    Kind Of A Talk Show


Episode 104: The Laughter Games

This week, Thomas, Raynell, and Daniel bring the dystopia, including Napoleon’s ultimate ambitions, comedy clubs charging by the laugh, less than private restrooms, and a man slowly Googling himself to death, all before answering a thought-provoking series of YOUR questions!

(You can also listen to the show by left-clicking this link, or right-clicking it and hitting ‘save link as’ to download it or just visit our blog!)

Behold the Episode 104 Postgame! 

~1:30 Bazinga!

I was unfamiliar with the joke, the meme, and its origin

~2:05 Raynell interviews a band

This is what popped up when I YouTubed “LANY.” Chill song, when’s the interview air? 

~2:45 Story #1: No One Expects the Spanish Recognition (Daniel)

~5:50 Raynell cannot believe this?!

I’ve called bullshit on at least two previous KOATS stories (Garamond kid—>Episode 93 and Kim Jong-Un haircuts), both at least as hoaxy, yet Raynell draws the line at pay-per-laugh? Bizarre. 

~10:35 Story #2: Port Police Pre-emptively Punish Possible Pee Perverts (Thomas)

~20:00 Story #3: Damaging Digital Doodad Dependency (Raynell)

To quote my high-school AP English teacher: “I actually don’t think you’re funny when you act like horny little boys” and “You only earn your penis when you’re no longer obsessed with it.”

~25:20 Eczema segue

Couldn’t find the NPR story (it was relayed to me by my mother anyway), but this Cal press release correlates. 

~27:40 Question #1: Who’s Daniel? 

maneatingbadger is all up in your airwaves the way Napoleon was all up in Prussia! … Yeah I don’t rap, but I am a friend of the show and de facto fill-in for when one of your fab four can’t make it (I think this is my fourth or fifth appearance?). I absolutely take credit for talent-scouting Madeeha (worldiary), and I also do post-show fact checks and commentary because who the hell’s ever heard of homework? 

See also my About me

~30:05 Question #2: When did you first start using Tumblr? 

My first post was September 11, 2012. I used to post links prolifically on Facebook, but that platform’s algorithms became less and less conducive to that, so I jumped to Tumblr and started following a wide variety of news media and commentary blogs on all manner of topics. At one point, Tumblr was how I consumed news and information on politics, science, and current events. But my dashboard hums a lot less these days. ShortFormBlog has left. My GPA and social life (hah!) are reasserting themselves. The hiatus continues… 

~33:35 buzzfeed as serious journalism

Buzzfeed World and BuzzReads! Longform fangirling so hard—

~34:20 Question 3 nonfiction book into movie

My suggestion was America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East by Hugh Wilford.

Less exciting for the STEM crowd, I know, but it’s a lively account of how the U.S. tried to shape the Middle East post-WWII, with tremendous consequences for the situations and issues we currently face (Syria, Egypt, ISIS, etc.). Now that they’ve made Argo, I’m sure Hollywood could do a “based on a true story” thriller about Theodore Roosevelt’s grandson propping up a coup in 1953 Tehran. So what that Mossadegh was democratically elected? See also All the Shah’s Men by Stephen Kinzer

What also just occurred to me was Blind Man’s Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew

The Hunt for Red October and Crimson Tide are due for reboots, no? 

Gonna try and start linking to the stories we reference, if only to highlight Thomas’s brilliant headline writing. Tremendous thanks as always to the KOATS crew for inviting me on-air yet again. 

In July, during the recent Israeli war in Gaza, Whisper was able to monitor Israeli Defense Force soldiers on the frontline. “We had 13 or 14 soldiers who we were tracking – every whisper they did,” one Whisper executive said during the Guardian’s visit. Separately, Whisper has been following a user claiming to be a sex-obsessed lobbyist in Washington DC. The company’s tracking tools allow staff to monitor which areas of the capital the lobbyist visits. “He’s a guy that we’ll track for the rest of his life and he’ll have no idea we’ll be watching him,” the same Whisper executive said.

Revealed: how Whisper app tracks ‘anonymous’ users | Technology | The Guardian

This report is scathing.  

Whisper are denying it.  I have concerns about the ethics of reporting on a company you’re in behind-closed-doors partnership discussions with, but I have no doubts about the Guardian’s reporting. I don’t guess they’ll be issuing any retractions here.

(via gregcohn)

  • Track Name

    Episode 104: The Laughter Games

  • Album


  • Artist

    Kind Of A Talk Show



Episode 104: The Laughter Games

This week, Thomas, Raynell, and Daniel bring the dystopia, including Napoleon’s ultimate ambitions, comedy clubs charging by the laugh, less than private restrooms, and a man slowly Googling himself to death, all before answering a thought-provoking series of YOUR questions!

(You can also listen to the show by left-clicking this link, or right-clicking it and hitting ‘save link as’ to download it or just visit our blog!)

It’s that time of the week again folks- Check out our show! feat. me, holysweetgoddamn, and maneatingbadger. Absent kingofthekastle to disastrous effect.

Look mom, I’m on a podcast! 

UPDATE: Postgame posted

Our new hit single: “We’re Ashamed of Our Fellow Americans”




Know that song, I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free…? We need an inversion of that. Suggested lyrics: "We’re ashamed of our fellow Americans, because it seems like they’re all jerks …"

"And they’ve all forgotten the men who died / to save their right to twerk." 

"I would never STAND UP next to you ‘cause I wish you’d go away/Good Samaritans they don’t exist/Not in the U.S.…A … A"

Someone please record this. 


A long trip into the wilderness

tl;dr: This is ShortFormBlog’s last post. I’m going to play with another idea, tentatively called DataSlam, over this way.

On January 1, 2009, I started ShortFormBlog with the hope of building it into a pretty cool place for news, numbers, quotes, blurbs, and a few other things. It was a great thing to work on for a good long time, and it even had some success and a few people loved the dang thing.

But after a couple of abortive efforts to rekindle my personal interest in the site, I think now’s a good time to admit that it’s time to put it to rest. I’m getting older, and I have other things in my life that take precedence (you know, being married and stuff like that), and I admit that it would be nicer to experiment on a smaller scale, just to see what happens next and not force myself to do any one thing creatively.

So this is peace out. But I’ll always remember what became of SFB. You can build something yourself and watch it go somewhere. You can put your heart in things and see it grow. But it’s good to admit when the off switch should probably stay off.

Five sites you should read on Tumblr in SFB’s place:

BrooklynMutt: Peter Wade has been a great friend over the years and a man whose work I greatly respect. He’s always super-modest about his considerable skill. He has no reason to be.

Evan Fleischer: One of Tumblr’s most underrated minds.

PopCultureBrain: Why this guy isn’t writing for Entertainment Weekly, I’ll never know.

Mike Hedrick: A writer whose intelligence and clarity can knock you on your ass. He’s gotten a few bylines in the NYT.

Laughterkey: The best reblogger in the game.

Peace out folks. ShortFormBlog may be gone, but I’m not: I’m going to be playing with a new idea over this way. I’m calling it DataSlam (for now). Consider it my difficult, unformed second album. Old-school SFB will remain up in archive form.

It’s been good. — Ernie @ SFB

ShortFormBlog has been a daily inspiration and delight. I still remember the sheer awe of that quiet day in March last year when Ernie gave my little corner of the internet a considerate and tremendous boost. What he’s written here is also relevant to my current indefinite hiatus. I’ll keep the fanboying to a minimum and just thank him for his thoughts and efforts. My dash will be quieter without him, though I’ll be keeping an eye on DataSlam. I wish him well. 

  • Track Name

    Episode 103: Problematic Faves

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Episode 103: Problematic Faves

In this episode, Madeeha, Daniel, Raynell and Thomas bring stories of a man bubbling for peace, taking the fight to E.T., royal hookup culture, and more, all before answering YOUR questions! (Including the number and nature of our “problematic faves”)

(You can also listen to the show by left-clicking this link, or right-clicking it and hitting ‘save link as’ to download it or just visit our blog!)

During my hiatus I’ve been filling in more frequently as a substitute contributor on kindofatalkshow! Recap below. 


Quartz is indeed Atlantic Media’s “global business news brand launched in September 2012 for people who are excited by change.” 

~10:00 Atmospheric aftermath of nuking asteroids

I kinda mentioned what I believe would be a bigger issue than radioactive fallout: the electromagnetic pulse. Sure, glowing rocks the size of Volkswagons and college campuses landing on our heads sounds rather unfortunate, but an EMP’s effects on our electrical grid and communications networks would be much more harmful and widespread

~11:30 “Hollywood science”

Ignore me bungling the delivery of a comically oversimplified analogy from Armageddon

~13:20 Command and Control by Eric Schlosser

Thomas is referring to Chrome Dome. As an aside, an Ohio-class boomer can carry 24 Trident II missiles with up to twelve MIRVs, each yielding 300-475 kilotons. For comparison, Hiroshima’s “Little Boy” had a 16-kt yield. 

~16:30 “Son, watch yoself.” 

I want this as a GIF/ringtone. 

~21:25 How various religious groups see themselves and each other

If you want to read through the Pew report, it’s here. I think the more recent survey on religious influence in politics is more interesting. Thomas is correct that Evangelicals appear to be the largest religious group in America, with Catholics a close second as of 2007

~35:30 Question #2: Ebola

Hadn’t read about this before the recording, or it would’ve put the question in a much different light (not that people dying isn’t serious enough). 

~36:50 Question #3: Facebook

Like KOATS on Facebook! I have it on good authority they’re gonna boost their presence shortly. There is also evidently a Twitter… You guys need branding help/social media interns. 

~39:00 Question #4: TIL -

- what a “problematic fave” is. There are several problematic fave Tumblrs (yourfaveisproblematic and shittythingscelebshavesaid) as well as commentary on the resulting shortfalls (yourtumbirisproblematic, Jezebel, and culture war reporters). Ultimately, as my political geography professor said in class today, “We have a tendency to see our founding farmers as a sort of demigods. We cast George Washington as this honest saint, and he owned hundreds of slaves and probably raped a number of them!” While the issue of Washington fathering children with slaves is disputed, the larger point that everyone’s human, fallible, imperfect, and subject to gaffes and unfortunate/unpopular opinions is relevant. 

And that’s a wrap. I’m still looking for my problematic fave, who’s yours?

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