2001, A Space Odyssey: Howard Johnson’s Children’s Menu
This is from a Howard Johnson’s children’s menu that explained the first 30-45 minutes of 2001, A Space Odyssey.
Kids are smart.
(via Dreams of Space)
JZT and Fe$h wrote a spec script for the Bill Engvall show. (Because, of course they did.) They emailed me to ask if I’d read a part in it. I was told I would be reading the part of “Curtis Retherford.”
This was JZT’s description of my character:
He’s a manipulative man. Quiet. He waits until he sees an opportunity to intervene. He has really been planning to murder the president all along.
SPOILER ALERT: It also contains these lines:
Yup. That’s me.
(This beats out the second-best description of myself I’ve heard in the last couple of days, which was Sarah Durfee describing me and Matt Mayer: “You’re both very picky and detail-oriented, but fine with being told what to do.” Durfee doesn’t follow me on tumblr, so she’ll never know I posted this.)
According to Rolf Reber, a psychologist at the University of Bergen, in Norway, “there is growing empirical evidence that people use a common source for evaluations of both beauty and truth.” The source he refers to is processing fluency, the state of being able to easily parse and understand a situation. Essentially, the more easily we can get a handle on a situation (because it’s mathematically simple, we’ve seen it many times before, it’s symmetrical, etc.), the more likely it is to seem right. For example, researchers have found that processing fluency can affect how people perform something as objective as arithmetic. In one study, Reber showed subjects addition problems represented as patterns of dots with different arrangements. They found that the more ordered and symmetric the arrangements, the more likely they were to be judged as true—whether they were actually true or not. It seems that humans may be wired to believe that famous John Keats line: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.
—Math as Myth, Samuel Arbesman
You are working on a first draft and small wonder you’re unhappy. If you lack confidence in setting one word after another and sense that you are stuck in a place from which you will never be set free, if you feel sure that you will never make it and were not cut out to do this, if your prose seems stillborn and you completely lack confidence, you must be a writer. If you say you see things differently and describe your efforts positively, if you tell people that you “just love to write,” you may be delusional. How could anyone ever know that something is good before it exists? And unless you can identify what is not succeeding—unless you can see those dark clunky spots that are giving you such a low opinion of your prose as it develops—how are you going to be able to tone it up and make it work?
—Draft No. 4, by John McPhee. The New Yorker, April 29, 2013, p. 32.