Here’s All the Stuff I Read in 2017

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This is my third annual iteration of this post (you can find 2016’s here and 2015’s here). Like a lot of people, I track all of my reading at Goodreads, a site that I’m still not convinced isn’t an insidious arm of the international literary illuminati, or something.

I read 60 titles in 2017. That’s 14 more than last year and 15 more than the previous year. I should include a disclaimer that a steady stream of graphic novels deceptively inflates the impressiveness of that big ol’ 60.

Here are some stats:

Continue reading

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“Kilo Five” Play Reading 9/25 & 9/26 with Theater Alliance in DC

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I wrote another short play that’s going to be featured in a couple readings next week. It’s called Kilo Five and it was written using a Theater Alliance prompt:

A mother, a son, and a radio.

Write one 10-minute play, with no more than 3 characters, exploring the relationship between these people and the radio.

I chose amateur (ham) radio rather than commercial music radio and have set it in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. I’m hoping it plays well.

If you’d like to attend either of these readings, I’ve included details below. Each night is free and includes a conversation about the plays and their themes. The other playwrights featured are Avery Collins, Maboud Ebrahimzedah, and Brittany Alyse Willis.

The good folks at Theater Alliance pride themselves on socially conscious, thought-provoking work that fully engages the community in active dialogue. I’m expecting the evenings to be both rich and rewarding.

Monday, Sep 25 at 8pm at the Anacostia Playhouse located at 2020 Shannon Place SE. More info on Facebook.

Tuesday, Sep 26 at 8pm at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital located at 921 Pennsylvania Ave SE. More info on Facebook.


Anna and I made a quick cameo appearance in Southern California this past weekend. The purpose of the trip was to attend a wedding in Temecula, but we were fortunate to fit in a few meet-ups with old friends. The food was, as it always is, fantastic.

“Echo in the Mirror” Play Reading in DC 8/30

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Photo: Chelsea Grosskopf, 2006

I wrote a short play called “Echo in the Mirror” as part of the Act Out: Fake News! event being held Wed, 8/30 at 8pm at The Pinch in Washington DC.  Here’s the Facebook event page, if that’s something you’re interested in.

The play’s about the merits and failings of how we try to promote and evangelize art, in this case focused more on popular music. It’s about the suffocating effect of a critical society bent on being more entertainment than criticism. So overall a jolly good time.

I’ll upload the latest draft to the New Play Exchange later this week.

The new Brand New album dropped suddenly last week. It’s called Science Fiction and it’s really freaking good. Top tracks for me so far: Same Logic/Teeth, 137, Desert.

Here’s All the Stuff I Read in 2016

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This is my second iteration of this annual post (you can find 2015’s here). Like a lot of people, I track all of my reading at Goodreads, a site that I’m still not convinced isn’t in the business of selling my secrets to mischevious bedouins, or something like that.

I read 46 titles in 2016. That’s one more than I read the year prior, though my consumption habits had shifted quite a bit. That’s because, in 2016, I discovered that the DC Public Library system has a treasure trove of graphic novels available for borrowing. I was thrilled. I had wanted to further explore this format, especially after having read some of the more seminal works (Maus, Watchmen, Batman: Year One) several years back. I took advantage.

That means quite a few titles out of the 46 on this list are graphic novels. Some may consider that cheating, given that you can power through most graphic novels in a few hours. I have no rebuttal, other than to admit that I rather enjoyed my reading in 2016. I don’t think I read anything I consider an all-time favorite, but it was an all-around solid year regardless. Lot of good books rather than a few great books, and what not.

To summarize my year of reading, here’s a list of all the titles I consumed, plus blurbage. I’ve ranked them in order of enjoyability. I’ve also marked whether I read the hard copy or listed to the audiobook.

This was also the first year in which most of what I read was non-fiction, which is what the kids call “adulting” these days. Continue reading

Taking a Swing at Sports

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Obi-Wan’s reaction to being told Grantland was no more.

Let’s go over all the things since last I wrote.

-At the beginning of the month I joined up with the folks at Crooked Scoreboard, a kooky sports-humor site. I’m mostly doing part-time social media manager stuff, though I’ve also authored a couple pieces:

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DeMarcus Cousins Dreams of Playing in the NBA: This is an Onion-esque troll job in which I imply the Sacramento Kings are not a real NBA team.

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Four Rookies of the Year Who Ended Up Being Really Lousy: In which I show off my embarrassing wealth of useless baseball trivia.

My photoshop skillz are all over the Legends image too.

Also, this piece isn’t mine but I wish it was: What Disney Princesses Would Look Like If They Were Black, And Members Of The 1984-85 76ers. That’s the platonic ideal right there.

Please go and check out the site. It’s still in its infancy but it’s got legs. Follow on Twitter and Facebook so you can boost my traffic so I don’t get fired.

-At the same time I’ve moved more into an editorial role at Big Think. I wrote one piece this week (not worth linking) but I’m mostly focusing on packaging for Facebook and Twitter.

-We’ve just wrapped preview week at STC for Kiss Me, Kate. If you like big ol’ Broadway musical type of shows and happen to reside in the Washington DC area, consider coming to see it.

-I reached my Goodreads reading goal for the first time in three years. Selling my car was the best thing that ever happened to my reading habits. Between bound books, e-books, and audiobooks I’ve gone through 41 titles so far in 2015. I’ll post more about that soon, as I like to rank everything I’ve read in one post.

-Sorry for this boring update. If I had any jokes left in me I promise they’d be here.

Recent Writings 6/3/15

Beauty (R) and the Beast (L)

Beauty (R) and the Beast (L)

My last post in this space ended with “I hope to begin posting with more frequency in the coming days.” That was 71 days ago. Straight up presumptuous Robert setting himself up for the big time no-go right there.

Within this span I’ve flown on three planes, rode on one really big boat, left the country, returned, went to Miami (which is like another country), and returned. I also embarrassed myself by bungling a commission, trudged through 2.5 George R.R. Martin books, learned about Jesus and the Tsars, peeled a sunburn from my back, and quit my job…. somewhat in that order.

Time for the brief aggregation.

The below is a brief aggregation of recent blogging work authored by yours truly, craftily curated for your perusal, scrutiny, and/or the fulfillment of duties pertaining to loyal readership:  

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Meet the Tweeting Pothole That Annoys the Local Government – This was, as far as I can tell, the only thing I’ve ever written which was subsequently retweeted by a pothole.

What to Take Away From Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht’s Life Sentence – In which I talk about a guy who probably isn’t as scuzzy as he seems, except he might actually be scuzzier.

When Good Laws Go Bad: How One Professor is Experiencing McCarthyism in the 21st Century – In which I offer my take on the ongoing Laura Kipnis saga. It’s basically The Crucible meets Catch-22, set at Northwestern University.

Internet Trolls Have an Unlikely Ally: The Supreme Court – In which I unfortunately do not detail Samuel Alito’s proclivity for pwning n00bs in Halo, but rather present information relevant to the intriguing case Elonis v. United States.

Here’s What We’ve Learned After Obama’s First Week on Twitter – In which I make fun of the poor president for striving so unavailingly to be America’s cool dad.

Cinco de Mayo is an American Holiday –  In which I accurately explain that Cinco de Mayo as we know it is far more American than anything else, particularly because of how the mid-century Chicano movement appropriated it to emphasize and celebrate Mexican-Americanism.

Tesla’s Worst-Kept Secret Has Become Power Companies’ Worst Nightmare – In which I bring in ten times the pageviews versus everything else I write. Decent research as well.


I promise I’ll update more in the near future.

So see you in a few months.

Recent Writings 03/24/15

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The below is a brief aggregation of recent blogging work authored by yours truly, craftily curated for your perusal, scrutiny, and/or the fulfillment of duties pertaining to loyal readership:

Big Think

The World Should Not Tolerate Modern-Day Slavery in Qatar – In which I call FIFA chief Sepp Blatter many mean names and lament the sad state of affairs surrounding the already-tarnished 2022 World Cup. We’re seven years out from this confounded tournament and the whole thing’s already a grade-A categorical cock-up. Beyond the pig-faced corruption and portended poor playing conditions, we’re somehow sitting here in the year 2015 and Qatar is harnessing straight up slavery to build infrastructure for a major international event. If our leaders are really as dedicated to eradicating modern-day slavery as they like to think they are, the 2022 World Cup needs to become a more major battlefield in that effort.

In The Tinder Age, Even Bad Dates Can Be Useful – In brief, technology allows for people who go on dates to increase the scale of their dating to the point where a reasonable sample size of events can be collected and analyzed in a relatively short amount of time. This means even the worst dates can still be treated as building blocks for introspection and analysis. I should note someone on Facebook said there was a How I Met Your Mother episode about this but I wouldn’t know anything about that. Nor do I know all that much about Tinder dating outside of the enjoyment derived from treating it as a leisurely spectator sport. The late Greg Giraldo had a great routine about online dating that applies well to Tinder, though not vis-a-vis yours truly as I’m rather pleased with my current relationship status. I imagine the routine rings true though to many who got hitched pre-Tinder:

Tinder and modern online dating are pieces of a greater trend in which, as mentioned, broader swaths of data allow for keen and precise analysis. Ever since I got into baseball sabermetrics, the idea that seemingly unquantifiable elements could be condensed to a string of integers has astounded me. High school mathematics would have been so much more fascinating if we had presciently conjured up analytics rather than drill binomials. I think in the shower a lot about how my math teachers could easily have hooked me if they had just thought to explain the why.

How People Analytics Can Kill Pointless Meetings – Staying for now within the subject of analytics, a piece focusing on a brand of analysis that seeks to optimize work methods and company policies. The folks behind VoloMetrix (which sounds like the sort of analytics company a Bond villain would run) glean insight from a data pool consisting of over 1 billion work meetings. That’s an astounding number of meetings. Think of all the bored people. That’s billions of bored people. Billions. Bless their forsaken souls.


Beginning soon I’ll start posting more regularly. This will include some book reviews and other basic updates that I hope you find, at minimum, readable. I begin work on a first draft for a new musical parody (check the Now Playing page for more info) and I think it’d be fun to keep readers informed of how that process goes, so perhaps keep an eye out for that too. RM

Recent Writings 03/18/15

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The below is a brief aggregation of recent blogging work authored by yours truly, craftily assembled for your perusal, scrutiny, and/or the fulfillment of duties pertaining to loyal readership:

Big Think

Congressional Politics Threaten NASA’s Mission – In which I compare NASA and other mission-based government agencies to an unfortunate child caught amid the incessant squabbles of two warring parents. Except these parents hold the purse strings that determine whether we visit Mars and/or learn how to deal with the effects of climate change. The unfortunate child is an $18.5 billion space agency.

You’re More Likely to Visit the Moon Than Pick a Perfect March Madness Bracket – In which I relay information compiled by many authors pertaining to calculations made by DePaul professor Jeffrey Bergen. The gist: Even in an alternate universe in which Warren Buffet is still offering $1 billion for a perfect bracket, Alternate Universe You isn’t going to win so don’t bother getting too excited. Actually, now that I think of it, there may very well be an alternate universe in which you do win because there may very well be an unfathomably large number of alternate universes out there, in which case you should still stave off excitement because you’re stuck in this one. Sorry.

Calm and Confidence Will Slay the Toxic People in Your Life – A riff off this article by a psychologist who astutely sums up the uncomfortable bind one is in when targeted by unhelpful, overly critical people. I don’t have anything particularly funny to say about this one. It’s just an intriguing thing to think about.

Words of Wisdom: Henry Becque and the Hypocrisy of Equality – I procured a nifty dictionary of quotations from a Little Lending Library this weekend, which is something that is both 1) an insufferably hipster sort of anecdote that I apologize for bringing up and 2) rather fortuitous considering my Words of Wisdom responsibilities rely far too heavily on random scouting on Wikiquote. Within said dictionary was the following quote by the somewhat-obscure 19th-century French dramatist Henry Becque:

“The defect of equality is that we only desire it with our superiors.”

I take that as pretty accurate.

Becque, who sort of looked like the dude who always gets held up in cowboy movies, was a pioneer of French naturalist theatre who somehow managed to avoid playing a major role in any of my assigned reading during grad school. It’s said that he wasn’t very popular in his day but served as an influence for the Ibsens and Shaws to come. I imagine there’s probably a lot more written about him in French on account of he’s French.


It was a slower week on the output front due to the celebration of this writer’s 26th birthday and the sad fact that this writer spent his 26th birthday, as well as the remainder of the weekend, sicker than the proverbial dog. On the bright side, I got to spend some quality time with the loving girlfriend who nursed me back to life. Making her the beneficiary for my work-issued life insurance policy has apparently not turned her heart against me. Score one for love.