Unsolicited Endorsements: XIII

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness.

Film: “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: An Urban History”


In college, I detested pre-requisite classes. My line of thinking: “When will I ever use biology, geology or the principles of mathematics in my everyday life?”* Sociology was the lone exception. I read all of our assigned books and texts and made it all the way through the textbook — even the sections we weren’t assigned. Social and financial stratification, ethnicity or gender as a blessing or curse, the construct of “race:” I found much of this fascinating. As an adult (I use that term lightly), it’s no surprise that my favorite genre of film is Documentary, and I much prefer non-fiction writing to fiction. I’ve consumed a lot of this material in recent years, and “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: An Urban History” stacks up favorably against most of it.
*I was correct to question this. I’ve never used anything taught in the vast majority of the classes I took in college. But that’s a million-word blog post in its own right.

The film focuses on the auspicious rise and protracted fall of urban St. Louis, using the now-defunct Pruitt-Igoe public housing project as a prism. Director Chad Freidrichs chronicles the history of the project and public housing in America, and explains the intersection of unfortunate circumstances — some the fault of shortsighted small-government policies, some the fault of globalization, some the fault of white flight — that caused the project’s decay and ultimate destruction after just two decades of use. The story of America’s suburbanization, disappearing urban tax base, and the subsequent gutting of necessary public services like housing and education is a common one. Almost any large U.S. city has struggled with what St. Louis has endured over the past half-decade. Kansas City, Detroit and even Wichita are all places that have turned “urban” into a bad word. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth is screening again this weekend in New York and in various locations around the country this spring. — Asher Fusco
***
Sport: Cold Weather tennis

The forecast last Friday called for 75 degrees, same with the forecast for Sunday. I didn’t bother to check on Saturday, instead deciding to schedule a tennis match with a friend early in the morning.

We showed up wearing shorts, and I decided to throw on a long-sleeve shirt at the last minute, a flimsy, free one from a 5K race, something that barely thermalizes (yes I invented that word) the body. It was about 35 degrees.

But it was awesome. I love tennis in the summer, when it’s 100 degrees and humid, when you can take off your shirt, and the sweat can pour down your body as though you are in an afternoon match at the Aussie Open, but the cold adds a different dimension. Tennis, of course, is a country club sport. It is meant to be played in close proximity to an open bar and towel service. It’s not like that in the cold. It’s grittier. You have to continue sprinting to stay warm, and you have swing a little bit harder to command your forehand.

January has always been my favorite tennis month because of the aforementioned Grand Slam but now there’s another reason. — Mark Dent 

***

Website: “Let Me Google That For You”

Maybe it’s not new, but I stumbled upon this brilliant little internet creation the other day.  It is called, quite obviously, “Let Me Google That For You” — or lmgtfy.com.  So let’s say you’re watching the Super Bowl next weekend, and somebody at your watch party interjects with something like: “Wait, how old is Bridget Moynahan?” or “Hey, what year did ‘Like a Prayer’ come out?”

Yes. This will happen. Super Bowl parties spawn inane questions like a Duggar does offspring.

So here’s what you do:

Guest: How old is Bridget Moynahan?

You: Let me Google that for you. Here you go.

For those to lazy to click the link, lmgtfy.com allows you to type a question or keyword(s) into what looks like a Google Search Engine. But then you click “Search” and the Google Simulator thingy will produce a long URL. Then, you can simply copy that URL link and send it to your friend. If they click on it, it will take them to another Google Search engine where the original question is automatically entered into the search field, letter by letter, and the computer finishes the search it self by clicking “Search.”

One more example:

Guest: What year did ‘Like a Prayer’ come out?

You: Boom. 

So, yea, perhaps this is a lot of work to pull a simple gag — or prove a point — at a Super Bowl party (or anywhere else.) For some reason, though, I still can’t get enough of it. — Rustin Dodd

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