End of Year Tab Clearance!!!

Here’s some stuff that’s been lingering in open tabs that I’d like to clear out!

::  I love this video. It’s a history of burgers. I love a good burger, and looking at all of these…in honesty, I would eat and enjoy every single one, regardless of the opinions shared by the tasters here. Especially that Oklahoma one that’s nothing but onions and a beef patty, or even that first one, which is a beef patty on toast. (I’ve come to a more minimalist position on my burgers; I don’t need a giant pile of stuff on one to be delicious.)

::  The Surprisingly Radical Roots of the Renaissance Faire.

Every year, the roughly 200 Renaissance fairs and festivals held across the United States and abroad attract several million visitors. United by their raucous entertainment, elaborate costumes and setting in the distant past, these outdoor events boast a surprising backstory.

The country’s first Renaissance Pleasure Faire, staged in Los Angeles in May 1963, was inextricably linked to the Red Scare, a Cold War-era mass hysteria prompted by the specter of communism. It was the brainchild of Phyllis Patterson, a history, English, speech and drama teacher who’d balked at having to sign a political loyalty oath to work in California public schools. Though Phyllis later told the press she’d left teaching in 1960 to become a stay-at-home mom, her son Kevin Patterson says this was only “part of the story.” In truth, he adds, “she felt strongly about the harms and unconstitutionality of the HUAC”—the House Un-American Activities Committee—and McCarthyism overall, “and was therefore uncomfortable taking a loyalty oath.”

We’ve been attending Renaissance Faires for years, and I never knew that this is how they got their start.

::  An interview with a local pizza maker. Because pizza!

::  I’m thinking about writing a series of newsletters about baseball movies, once we get closer to either pitchers and catchers reporting or Opening Day, depending on how and when I can get the lead out and rewatch some stuff. But I definitely want to write about Moneyball, a movie about which I have thoughts. This article about the movie’s depiction of then-Oakland A’s Manager Art Howe will definitely be cited then, but I want to get it on record now because it’s interesting. The article’s take is that Moneyball makes Howe look like a complete jerk, but for reasons I’ll get into later on, I’m not totally sure that it does. There is a complete jerk in the movie, but it’s not who we might think it is.

It’s the cardboard villain demeanor in Howe’s portrayal that really is unnecessary and simply untrue according to five different California journalists I’ve spoken with, all of whom had regular contact with him as A’s manager. On Sunday, I called Mark Purdy, now retired as The San Jose Mercury News columnist. He was around the A’s clubhouse and Howe’s office constantly during their 100-win seasons in 2001-02. Purdy said he understood how a movie needs an antagonist or bad guy for plot purposes:

“But I don’t know why they made that character Art. Because Art was 180 degrees from that. He’s a really good guy. Always a gentleman.

“It’s true that he didn’t agree with everything Billy Beane wanted to do. But he was always professional about it.

“That’s why [the portrayal] must’ve really hurt him.”

::  The Ithaca Voice has run a couple of photo galleries from local photographers, featuring their best work from 2023. Check them both out, here and here. Is it possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never lived?

(All three images from the first gallery linked above.)

All for now! Stay tuned for all-new fresh tabs next year!


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