Commentary

The Mass Effect trilogies are some of my favorite video games of the previous console generation. I’m a sucker for rich characters and deep world-building, and this is where the Mass Effect series really shined. The universe you occupied in these games felt real and lived-in. Each alien species had a rich history and their own relationships with humans. When I played Mass Effect games, I could imagine myself inhabiting this world.

Not to get too cute, but Ghost In the Shell has a gorgeous shell with almost nothing inside.

“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

With those immortal words, our country’s “star” President-to-be famously bragged about how he liked to grab women. These days I find myself wishing he would be a little quicker about grabbing men.

OnWords: Quality

Apr 4, 2017

You can usually tell that an organization has stopped caring about quality when it becomes the only thing they talk about.

“Quality” is one of those words that is necessarily vague, and, therefore, becomes a smoke screen behind which much mischief can hide.

Consider the continual quality improvement efforts so in vogue for the past few decades. They have all been accompanied by increasingly onerous and minute numeric evaluations and assessments. This data-gathering is then obsessed over for just long enough to justify the predetermined decisions of those in charge.

During the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln believed that dissenters remaining within loyal states posed a threat to the Union. 

This review originally aired on May 16, 2017

Three time periods, three cities, and one gorgeous painting, in a smart and well crafted novel: The Last Painting of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith.

Roni Lowry holds a BA in Cello Performance from Wichita State University. She performs as a solo artist and teaches the instrument as a paraeducator at Goddard Academy and in private. She is also a member of the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra.

Christopher Anderson Magnum Photos

In this podcast, I visited with Michael Finkel about his new book, The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit. The story is really Christopher Knight’s story. In 1986, Knight was 20 years old. He left his home and job in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, left his keys in his unlocked car and walked into the woods where he didn’t speak with another human being for 27 years. Okay, there was one time he encountered a hiker and said, “hi”--so that’s one syllable in 27 years.

At first glance, Wilson, both the movie and the title character, seems cynical and misanthropic. But I don’t actually believe that’s the case.

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