There’s a great article by writer Joshuah Bearman in
this month’s last month’s (what do you want from me: I’m a historian) Harper’s about Billy Mitchell and the world’s best Pac-Man players. Mitchell is the subject of the recent documentary King of Kong, and he is a total piece of work, but I won’t spoil that if you haven’t seen the movie. While focusing on Pac-Man rather than Donkey Kong, the Harper’s article necessarily covers some of the same ground as the film. But the parts I really like are about the zen of classic arcade games: the difference between Pac-Man’s complex but essentially predictable patterns and the randomized unknowability of Ms Pac-Man (ah, woman); Mitchell’s analytical schematic approach versus the dream-inspired chaos surfing of Abdner Ashman; and (shades of Lucky Wander Boy) the eternal mystery of the “kill screen” and What Lies Beyond.
Chef Julia Child, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., White Sox catcher Moe Berg, and the proverbial many more served in an “international spy ring” for the OSS during WWII.
Celestial Monochord goo-maps the Anthology of American Folk Music. What part of that sentence isn’t awesome? (See also.)