From ‘American Sniper’ to ‘Macbeth,’ a Reporter’s Moviegoing Spree – NYTimes.com

I love this essay about a two-day bender at the movie theaters.

Henry Higgins has a song in “My Fair Lady” in which he talks about how even-keeled his life was before Eliza Doolittle came along and messed it up. That is true at the movies, too. Alone, you can respond any way you want; the only negotiation is between you and the screen. Let another person in, and everything changes. My friend was gracious, but I could tell that he wished the seats were farther back and that he was repelled by what he perceived to be the unpleasant jingoism cascading around the theater. I felt responsible, because the movie had been my idea.

That was a bummer. I began to believe that maybe art is better experienced alone, which is not a healthy belief.

And this too:

The movie was “Night at the Museum 3: Secret of the Tomb,” and it was pretty bad. It was a perfect thing to see alone, because I really liked it and would not have wanted to explain myself to anyone.

From ‘American Sniper’ to ‘Macbeth,’ a Reporter’s Moviegoing Spree – NYTimes.com

Decoding a Menu at Root & Bone – NYTimes.com

In a study of more than a million Yelp restaurant reviews, Mr. Jurafsky and the Carnegie Mellon team found that four-star reviews tended to use a narrower range of vague positive words, while one-star reviews had a more varied vocabulary. One-star reviews also had higher incidence of past tense, pronouns (especially plural pronouns) and other subtle markers that linguists have previously found in chat room discussions about the death of Princess Diana and blog posts written in the months after the Sept. 11 attacks.

In short, Mr. Jurafsky said, authors of one-star reviews unconsciously use language much as people do in the wake of collective trauma. “They use the word ‘we’ much more than ‘I,’ as if taking solace in the fact that this bad thing happened, but it happened to us together,” he said.

Another finding: Reviews of expensive restaurants are more likely to use sexual metaphors, while the food at cheaper restaurants tends to be compared to drugs.

Decoding a Menu at Root & Bone – NYTimes.com

For Arianna Huffington and Kobe Bryant: First, Success. Then Sleep. – NYTimes.com

Kobe Bryant: Exactly. I’ll give you an example. When you watch me shoot my fadeaway jumper, you’ll notice my leg is always extended. I had problems making that shot in the past. It’s tough. So one day I’m watching the Discovery Channel and see a cheetah hunting. When the cheetah runs, its tail always gives it balance, even if it’s cutting a sharp angle. And that’s when I was like: My leg could be the tail, right?

Arianna Huffington: That’s amazing.

KB: Inspiration surrounds us.

Maybe it was a cheetah named Dirk Nowitzki. Also really interesting in this interview: both of them weaning themselves from the “I only need {{very small number}} hours of sleep” lie. They both wised up and made changes to sleep more.

For Arianna Huffington and Kobe Bryant: First, Success. Then Sleep. – NYTimes.com

What I Discovered on My Flash Drive

I really like the whole mood and vibe of this review. A smart writer who’s not super-invested in the industry or the product in general, but still curious and open-minded, talking about a new-to-them thing.

What I Discovered on My Flash Drive

Each of us is born with a series of built-in confusions that are probably somehow Darwinian. These are: (1) we’re central to the universe (that is, our personal story is the main and most interesting story, the only story, really); (2) we’re separate from the universe (there’s US and then, out there, all that other junk – dogs and swing-sets, and the State of Nebraska and low-hanging clouds and, you know, other people), and (3) we’re permanent (death is real, o.k., sure – for you, but not for me).

In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters – NYTimes.com.

All else being equal, upward mobility tended to be higher in metropolitan areas where poor families were more dispersed among mixed-income neighborhoods. Income mobility was also higher in areas with more two-parent households, better elementary schools and high schools, and more civic engagement, including membership in religious and community groups.

Hey wait that cuts across party lines what should I believe?! Cf. The Geography of Stuck.

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

The Net Is a Waste of Time – New York Times

I stay in. Hooked. Is this leisure – this browsing, randomly linking my way through these small patches of virtual real-estate – or do I somehow imagine that I am performing some more dynamic function? The content of the Web aspires to absolute variety. One might find anything there. It is like rummaging in the forefront of the collective global mind. Somewhere, surely, there is a site that contains … everything we have lost?

Oldie but a goodie. William Gibson in 1996.

Today, in its clumsy, larval, curiously innocent way, it offers us the opportunity to waste time, to wander aimlessly, to daydream about the countless other lives, the other people, on the far sides of however many monitors in that postgeographical meta-country we increasingly call home. It will probably evolve into something considerably less random, and less fun — we seem to have a knack for that — but in the meantime, in its gloriously unsorted Global Ham Television Postcard Universes phase, surfing the Web is a procrastinator’s dream. And people who see you doing it might even imagine you’re working.

The Net Is a Waste of Time – New York Times