First Weekend of Summer Round-Up

James Gandolfini’s appearance on Sesame Street has got some play after his untimely death.

Tom Carson of the Prospect contrasts James Gandolfini with other celebrity deaths. 

There’s a distinction to be made between dying too young and dying too soon. The first connotes unfulfilled promise: Heath Ledger, for instance, was barely beginning to realize himself as both an actor and a human being. Moviegoers can only guess what he might have gone on to. When it comes to James Gandolfini, on the other hand, we knew—we’d learned, we’d seen—what he was capable of.  All we were asking for was another quarter-century or so of basking in it.

Questlove of the Roots describes how he was almost fired from Late Night With Jimmy Fallon for mocking Michelle Bachmann, and later Tina Fey.

Howard Dean is open to a 2016 presidential bid. I would imagine it’s a possibility, as there is space in the primary on Obama’s left, and Dean has greater political talent then some of the other possible contenders, as well as a legitimate claim for some credit for the 2006 and 2008 victories. He may not be the only former Governor interested in running, as there’s some speculation about Jeb Bush. 

The invisible primary is underway, at least on the Republican side. Andrew Sullivan is quite critical of possible 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

The fact she got the seat because she was First Lady was the only blemish, but her campaign for the presidency truly broke her out of the politics-through-marriage paradigm. Now it seems that Bill is already prepping for her candidacy, by joining with McCain against Obama on Syria. But Bill is not, it seems to me, a good judge of the future. I don’t think a future Democratic candidate will come from the interventionist, pro-military right. I think it will come from the non-interventionist left. Could Hillary manage that? I think she’s far too Establishment. And stuck in the mindset of the 1990s.

Craig D. Lindsey of wants more film heroes who aren’t jerks.

The New York Times had an unforunate typo.

Dan Savage’s son felt uncomfortable about his sexuality, and explaining to his gay parents that he was straight.

Elbert Gulloury’s explanation of why he was switching from the Democratic party to the Republicans got some attention. He’s an elderly African-American State Senator from a safe liberal district, so this isn’t the usual reason for a red state moderate to join the dominant party in the state.

Prometheus was a pirate.

Josh Kaufman suggests that it takes about 20 hours to get good at something. An interview with Mark Frauenhelder covers much of the same ground as his Ted talk.

Rapid skill acquisition, as a process, is quite simple: Decide what you want, then break complex skills down into smaller sub-skills. Do a bit of research to identify the sub-skills you’ll use most often, then practice those first. Remove unnecessary barriers to practice by changing your environment to make it easy to avoid distractions. Pre-commit to completing at least 20 hours of practice to push through early frustrations and avoid giving up before you see results.

Then, sit down and practice. No practice, no skill acquisition.

I’ve used this method to learn everything from motor skills (yoga, touch typing, windsurfing, ukulele) to cognitive skills (playing Go, programming). The practice techniques are often different, but the core method is the same.

The 20-hour precommitment, in my experience, is key. The first few hours of practice are always frustrating. Deciding to invest a certain amount of time before you begin makes it much easier to persist long enough to see improvement.

He considered the study that it took 10,000 hours to learn a skill.

There’s an element of Dr. Ericsson’s research that’s very easy to overlook: it’s a study of expert-level performance. If you’re looking to become the next Tiger Woods, you’ll probably need to spend at least 10,000 hours deliberately and systematically practicing every aspect of golf. Almost every single professional golfer began playing at a very young age, and has been practicing non-stop for at least seven years. Developing world-class mastery takes time.

On the other hand, what if winning the US Open isn’t your goal? What if you just want to be good enough at golf that you’re able to play decently, not embarrass yourself, have a good time, and maybe have a fighting chance to win your local country club tournament?

That’s another matter entirely.

World-class mastery may take 10,000 hours of focused effort, but developing the capacity to perform well enough for your own purposes usually requires far less of an investment.

A photo of Johnny Cash ravenously eating a strawberry cake became a meme. And I was unfamiliar with the song.

Yahoo looked at Press Secretary Jay Carney’s 13 ways of dodging questions.

According to a poll by the Kaiser institute, a quarter of young adults don’t think health insurance is worth the cost. This can be a major issue politically, as the system requires younger, healthier people to pay into it in order to function. But for obvious reasons, the younger and healthier citizens don’t need it as much.

Since the dominant attribute of the tea party is an opposition to Obama’s policies, what happens to them when he’s gone?

Natasha Lennard blasts speculation of foul play in the death of reporter Michael Hastings. Jim Geraghty of the National Review looks at the coverage of another conspiracy theory, involving the crash of TWA Flight 800.

Reminder: What doesn’t kill you can just make you weaker.

The Government is ready to target patent trolls.

Valiant Comics has become the first comics publisher to enter the Kindle Worlds deal, which can help monetize fanfiction.

Ted Adams of IDW thinks the comics industry is doing well.

Film archivist Phillip Morris suggests that it’s inappropriate to refer to the missing episodes of Doctor Who, because the film was destroyed.

About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. You can email me at
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