The media you trust

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“When we’re on the Internet we very rarely look at a front page. We mostly look at what’s on our feed. And what goes into a feed isn’t controlled by experts. It’s often controlled by our worst instincts. It turns out when the ‘hive mind’ decides what’s on the front page, it becomes drama and opinion and controversy and demonization of the other and self-congratulation. And thus the hot takes have gotten so hot, I’m worried the whole country’s going to catch fire.” —Hank Green

I completely understand where Hank is coming from.

News outlets are laying off experienced and knowledgeable journalists by the thousands every year and shuttering newspapers in communities that desperately need solid coverage. To stay afloat, publishers are using clicks/ratings as measures of success, and dedicating more resources to what’s trending rather than in-depth investigation and technological innovation. Even under these difficult conditions, many in the mainstream media are still fighting to shine a light on the machinations of the rich and powerful.

Yet to maintain control over society, the titans of business and government hide their dealings behind closed doors. These men and women utilize bureaucracy to withhold vital information, eliminate regulation that allows for the free-flow of ideas and use misdirection to obfuscate the truth and foment distrust. They’ve become trained practitioners — and sometimes owners — of partisan hype. Or, they hire experts who can spin their talking points into coverage that plays into confirmation bias.

So how does one become an informed citizen? Read widely and think critically.

For the past 27 years, I’ve honed my skills as a journalist to better serve the readers’ needs. While the rest of America sleeps, I investigate, question, critique, edit, fact-check and report the news. I also consume vast amounts of information from a wide variety of sources. In the spirit of transparency, here is my daily media diet:

The New York Times
The Washington Post
HuffPost
AP
Reuters
NPR
NECN
The Los Angeles Times
The Boston Globe
BBC News
The New Hampshire Union-Leader
The Concord Monitor
BuzzFeed
Mashable
USA Today
FARK
CNN
The New Yorker
Time
New York Magazine
Forbes
Fortune
Business Insider
Mother Nature Network
Scientific America
Smithsonian
Digg
People Magazine
Entertainment Weekly
Variety
The Hollywood Reporter
IMDb
Facebook, both my personal feed and this page of more than 175 news sources
Twitter, both my personal feed and this list of more than 1,500 journalists and outlets

This is simply my starting point. Each night, I launch a browser and open these many tabs, but I don’t stop there. I also conduct searches, follow links and travel down rabbit holes looking for… well, interesting stories. The more informed I am, the better I’m able to help readers avoid getting caught up in the fiery hot takes of the hive mind.

As always, I’m here to serve you.

Now, I encourage you to dive in. Set aside your biases. Open your mind. Be curious and explore. The more you learn, the better off our world will be.

Friday afternoon decompression

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spring rain and tea

I should be asleep, I know.

It’s nearly 1 o’clock — way past my bedtime — and I’ve had a truly exhausting week.

The dog is already in Morpheus’ realm, snoring near my desk, urging me to follow suit.

I have no doubt the bed is comfortable, the covers warm and the pillows soft. There’s a Kindle on the nightstand with a virtual bookmark holding my place in a tome I’ve been rereading with pleasure. But I’m not quite ready to climb the stairs, undress and recline.

There’s so much I want to do: boxes to unpack, treats to bake, stories to write, books to read, animals to pet, laundry to do. Yet sleep is the wisest course of action.

Still I hesitate. The work week is done. My errands are complete. Rain is pattering against the windows. I just made a cup of tea, and I’m finally able to breathe.

“I, Too” by Langston Hughes

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us flag

I, too, sing America.
 
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen

When company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,

And grow strong.
 
Tomorrow,

I’ll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody’ll dare

Say to me,

“Eat in the kitchen,”

Then.
 
Besides,

They’ll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed—
 
I, too, am America.

–Photo by Krystle Fleming

Farewell, LJ!

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After 15 years and 1,914 entries, I am leaving LiveJournal.

The company, which was purchased by a Russian firm several years ago, recently changed its terms of service. The new rules prohibit users from posting “political solicitation materials” and anything “contradictory to the laws of the Russian Federation.” I also don’t approve of the idea that my writings can be used and/or sold at the company’s discretion without compensation.

So, as of this weekend, I’m deleting my account. It’s been a good ride, LiveJournal. Time to bid you farewell.

Oh, and thanks for the husband.

100 recipes I want to master

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I’m not a fan of reality television. I don’t like watching shows that make untalented people famous. I don’t like shows that focus on humiliation. And I really don’t like shows that use meanness to “create drama.”

This last practice seems to be a staple on cooking competition shows. Although I’ve learned a lot about ingredients and techniques from watching “Chopped” and “Top Chef,” I simply can’t stand the cruel judges or the sniping between the “chef-testants.”

The one exception? “The Great British Baking Show” on PBS. After watching the first episode, I immediately began binging on the rest. Not only does this charming program highlight the contestants’ skills, it features people who are supportive of each other. And when each episode ends, I head into the pantry, examine the ingredients on the shelves and start planning what I’m going to make next.

Last week, the Brown Eyed Baker posted a blog entry about her kitchen conquests. Since she and I share a similar cooking style — we’re both huge fans of America’s Test Kitchen — I decided to follow her example and make a list of the 100 recipes I want to master. They are:

Yeast Goodies:
Apple cider doughnuts
Beignets
Breadsticks (both crunchy and chewy)
Challah
Ciabatta
Focaccia
Glazed chocolate cake doughnut holes
Honey wheat dinner rolls
Kaiser rolls
Parker House Rolls
Parmesan and garlic butter pull-apart bread
Sourdough bread from homemade starter
Thin-crust pizza

Quick Breads:
British scones
Buttermilk biscuits
Chocolate banana bread
Churros
Irish soda bread
Shortbread
Tart cherry and toasted almond scones

Cookies/Bars:
Biscotti
Hot chocolate thumbprint cookies
Mexican wedding cookies

Pastries:
Cherry chocolate rolls
Éclairs
Funnel cakes
Kouign-Amann
Raspberry-swirl lemon cheesecake bars

Cakes:
Angel food cake
Banana pudding cupcakes
Black forest cake
Blueberry bundt cake
Boston cream pie
Butter cake
Carrot cake
Chai spiced coffee cake
Charlotte rousse
Chocolate biscuit cake
Ding Dongs
Dobos torte
German chocolate cake
Ginger peach cupcakes
Gluten-free almond cakes
Marble pound cake
Midnight pumpkin layer cake
Millionaire’s layer cake
Petit fours
Pineapple upside down cake
Pound cake
Red velvet cupcakes
Trifle

Pies:
Cheddar apple pie
Cherry handpies
Chess pie
Chocolate cheesecake
Chocolate cream pie
Chocolate handpies
New York cheesecake
Pumpkin cheesecake

Breakfasts:
Baked French toast muffins
Blueberry pancake casserole
Breakfast carbonara
Crepes
Quiche

Dinners:
All-chicken pot pie
Beef stroganoff
Calzones
Chicken chimichangas
Chicken saltimbocca
Fettuccine with asparagus and smoked salmon
Fideuà
Guinness pie
Homemade fettuccine
Mahogany chicken
Maryland crab cakes
Mississippi roast
Paella
Pepperoni stuffed chicken
Pierogi
Rigatoni with white bolognese
Stromboli
Tortellini

Soups, Salads and Sides:
Bacon scalloped potatoes
Baked beans
Chorizo queso
Chorizo corn chowder
Crockpot chicken gnocchi soup
Mozzarella sticks
Shrimp and corn chowder
White bean and rosemary gratin with parmesan croutons

Frozen Desserts:
Mint chocolate chocolate chip ice cream
Semifreddo

Miscellaneous Desserts:
Baked Alaska
Chocolate mousse
Chocolate souffle
Flan
Fudge
Nestle Crunch bars
Pots de creme
Twix bars

Who wants to come over and taste my treats? If no one volunteers, M will be forced to be my guinea pig (not that he minds). I’m also open to suggestions of other recipes to try. Dishes that serve two people are always preferred.

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