NASA’s “women computers” 🚀

Katherine Johnson helped launch America’s first orbit around Earth. She also “computed the path” that would eventually get Neil Armstrong to the moon. 

In 1962’s Mercury-Atlas launch, astronaut John Glenn personally requested that she hand-crunch the machine’s calculations around the planet.  She confirmed the math a day and a half later.

The 2016 film Hidden Figures pays tribute to Johnson’s seminal role in one of the most important NASA missions in America’s spaceflight history.

RIP Anthony Bourdain: ‘I love having my teeth kicked in by a different perspective’

Stay hungry. Stay curious. And above all, stay interesting. That’s the message I grasped from Anthony Bourdain.

Below are some of my favorite Bourdain quotes as posted on this blog throughout the years.

Don’t aspire to mediocrity. Even if you fail, try to be awesome. At something. Anything. It doesn’t matter. Just try to be awesome.

Life ain’t that simple . It IS complicated. And filled with nuance worth exploring.

Show up on time. It is the basis of everything.

We literally sit down and try to figure out, ‘What’s the most fucked-up thing we can do?’

I love having my teeth kicked in by a different perspective.

There are the type of people who are going to live up to what they said they were going to do yesterday and then there are people who are full of shit. And that’s all you really need to know. If you can’t be bothered to show up, why should anybody show up. It’s just the end of the fucking world.

Life ain’t that simple . It IS complicated. And filled with nuance worth exploring.

‘To me, a painter, if not the most useful, is the least harmful member of our society’

man ray quote.png

“To me, a painter, if not the most useful, is the least harmful member of our society.”

Man RaySelf-Portrait

Go inside the apartment of graphic communicator George Lois

Renowned graphic communicator George Lois takes us on a tour of his apartment. Located in Greenwich Village, what he calls “the best part of Manhattan,” the apartment is full of art. Even the chairs.

'I have chairs all over the house that I don't let anybody sit in. 'Don't sit in that chair!' But it's a chair. No, it's not. It's a work of art.''Click To Tweet

Lois may be most recognized for creating the iconic “I Want My MTV” slogan. But he also designed 92 Esquire covers. He also spearheaded the 1960s Creative Revolution that shaped modern day advertising. Some even think he inspired the attitude of irreverence in Don Draper from Mad Men.

Take it from George Lois: “You have to have the good eye.” There is no doubt the man had a knack for aesthetics.

Stephen King lists his top 10 favorite books

Stephen King's Top 10 Favorite Books #books #reading #fiction #favoritebooks #amreading #writing #nonfiction #history #stories #story
→ See Stephen King’s favorite novels on Amazon

To celebrate the launch of Stephen King’s novel [easyazon_link identifier=”1501180983″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]The Outsider[/easyazon_link] scheduled for bookshelves May 22 (you can pre-order it on Amazon), Goodreads asked Stephen King to list out his top 10 favorite books of all time.

The voracious reader and prolific writer never felt satisfied with his final selections but he played along anyway.

“Of course, any list like this is slightly ridiculous. On another day, ten different titles might come to mind, like [easyazon_link identifier=”006209436X” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]The Exorcist[/easyazon_link], or All the Pretty Horses in place of Blood Meridian. On another day I’d be sure to include [easyazon_link identifier=”0679732268″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Light in August[/easyazon_link] or Scott Smith’s superb A Simple Plan. [easyazon_link identifier=”014118616X” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]The Sea, the Sea[/easyazon_link], by Iris Murdoch. But what the hell, I stand by these.”

King took a breath and then continued:

“Although Anthony Powell’s novels should probably be here, especially the sublimely titled [easyazon_link identifier=”024328702X” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Casanova’s Chinese Restaurant[/easyazon_link] and [easyazon_link identifier=”0316715441″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Books Do Furnish a Room[/easyazon_link]. And Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet. And at least six novels by Patricia Highsmith. What about Patrick O’Brian? See how hard this is to let go?”

Stephen King’s Top 10 Favorite Books


[easyazon_link identifier=”0399501487″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Lord of the Flies by William Golding[/easyazon_link]


[easyazon_link identifier=”0316713902″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter[/easyazon_link]


[easyazon_link identifier=”0743277708″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Watership Down (Watership Down, #1) by Richard Adams[/easyazon_link]


[easyazon_link identifier=”0812982622″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson[/easyazon_link]


[easyazon_link identifier=”160819583X” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]The Hair of Harold Roux by Thomas Williams[/easyazon_link]


[easyazon_link identifier=”B01FELID7Q” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison[/easyazon_link]


[easyazon_link identifier=”0679728759″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy[/easyazon_link]


[easyazon_link identifier=”0452262933″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]1984 by George Orwell[/easyazon_link]


[easyazon_link identifier=”0375701427″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]American Pastoral (The American Trilogy, #1) by Philip Roth[/easyazon_link]


[easyazon_link identifier=”0618640150″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)[/easyazon_link]

(h/t Open Culture)

What does it mean to be me?

Sociologist Erving Goffman believed that all human interaction was a theatrical performance. In his most famous book [easyazon_link identifier=”0385094027″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life[/easyazon_link], Goffman called his analysis the study of  “Dramaturgy.”

Dramaturgical analysis is the idea that we present an edited version of our selves when we meet others in person.

All the internet’s a stage

The internet, of course, adds a new layer of complexity to Goffman’s perspective. If social media is edited real life, then our dramaturgical action is the physical extension of it. We are no less authentic online than we are in person.

Goffman’s theory builds on American sociologist Charles Cooley’s ‘The Looking Glass Self’ theory. In 1902, he contextualized the individual:

“I imagine your mind, and especially what your mind thinks about my mind, and what your mind thinks about what my mind thinks about your mind.”

Keep in mind that people didn’t even think of themselves as individuals before the spread of mirrors in the 15th century.

We juggle identities online and off but each of us has a fixed character. It is our friends and family members and Google that know our truest self.


“I See What You Mean” bear sculpture by Lawrence Argent

“I See What You Mean” Denver Convention Center (Argent Studios)

“I’m not interested in creating an object of decoration; that’s not what I do. My task is to create something that fits the surrounding or the area. If it were to be removed, you would miss it.”

Public art can shape its surroundings. But the same piece won’t work everywhere, as sculptor Lawrence Argent noted: “That bear was designed for Denver. It belongs in that particular place.’ The sculpture addresses this city, this life.”

He also installed a giant panda in Chengdu, China, the “C’era Una Volta” in San Francisco, and a 56-foot long ‘leaping’ rabbit in the Sacramento airport

Obituary: Lawrence Argent, Sculptor Who Was Big on Whimsy, Dies at 60


In Praise of Zaha Hadid


“There are three hundred and fifty-nine other degrees. Why limit yourself to one?” — Zaha Hadid, RIP

Zaha Hadid never conformed. She never played it safe. She was born to challenge the status quo and she trained her eye to acquire different tastes.

You become what you think about all day. In Hadid’s case, her personality matched up with her craftiness and tireless work ethic. Perhaps she was addicted to design because it enabled her to live on the edges.

Like any true artist, Hadid aimed to appease herself first. She liked bold shapes and curves instead of stodgy rectangles and squares. Now she leaves her art behind for others to interpret.

My Dear Friend, Bebe

I lost my best friend yesterday. She was 16 years old. She’d been around for about half of my life, ever since the day we bought her in a dog store off Madison Avenue. She was a New Yorker at heart, and a Yorkie after all.

But after dancing on the back porch at my wedding more than two years ago, Bebe started to slow down. She lost most of her vision and her hearing.

Bebe at my Wedding, July 2, 2011

Bebe’s most admirable characteristic was her persistence. She never gave up. In fact, she just got cuter with age. Her hair continued to grow in knots. People thought she was still a puppy at 16. How could you disagree? Look at that face!

Bebe chilling earlier this Summer

Bebe kept a cute face and a positive attitude despite her rapidly ailing body. She always remained happily focused in her own world even as the younger dogs wanted to play with her.

Last night, I lit a candle for Bebe at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York and reread an email from my Mom sent earlier that day. My Mom had just received the book Dog Heaven from a family friend. My Mom wrote:

when dogs go to heaven they don’t need wings because God knows that dogs love running best. When a dog first arrives in heaven, she just runs. I think BeBe missed running and jumping the most.

I grew up with two brothers so Bebe was the second girl in our house. I always joke with my wife that Bebe was also my first girlfriend.

Death is a celebration of life. We’ll love and remember Bebe forever, just as we do Bullet, our Silkie Terrier that passed away five years ago.

We’ll always be in touch with you Bebe as you run and jump through the clouds in Heaven.

Chatting with Bebe