Recommendations, 5/16

This week we like swashbuckling, unemployment, and highbrow dick jokes.



You know that friend who posts his/her Slate News Quiz score on Facebook every week? I am the opposite of that person. In the past two or three years — I guess whenever I gave up on RSS — I’ve been terrible about keeping up with the news. But recently I’ve been loving NYT Now, a new app from the Times that features curated stories from the paper and elsewhere.

I’ve played around with other news/media apps, like Circa and Percolate, but none of them really fit into my life the way NYT Now has. Sure, it’s a little strange for a publication to curate itself, but the balance of daily briefings, news stories, and features is exactly what I want on my commute. The app is also gorgeous — it has the perfect information density, and there’s some nice use of typography and white space that makes the entire experience pleasing. The whole thing also updates automatically, downloading articles in the background, meaning I can read it on the subway when I don’t have reception. In fact, I think the app was designed with a subway commute in mind. (Good assumption! I will die underground). The app features other highlights from around the web too, but I find that I stick primarily to the Times. There’s just so much good stuff, and here it is, not packaged but served to you.

Now to see how I do on the Slate News Quiz this week…


quit job


Maybe the 1970s were the only time a decent Three Musketeers movie was possible. The Dumas book, which I just read for the first time, feels deeply amoral — kind of like the vibe of the post summer of love, late Vietnam era early 70s. The book is fun and exciting and ambivalent toward any fixed notion of good and evil. At the center of the plot is D’Artagnan whose notions of justice are that of a narcissistic boy and whose hormonal “love” runs about as deep as Pepe LePew’s. The Richard Lester (Superman II, A Hard Day’s Night) version of the story (streaming on Amazon Prime) serves up an oft-shirtless Michael York as D’Artagnan along with a kind of horny-but-toothless sexism and jolly-yet-deadly swordplay that perfectly fits both 1974 and the spirit of the book. Add a rogue’s gallery of overacting 70s A- to B-listers (Charlton Heston, Faye Dunaway, Richard Chamberlain, Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch…) and, if you’re in a certain mood or chemically altered in just the right way, this is one of the best movies of the 70s.


suck dick

There is a 12-year-old boy in my brain that unfortunately informs a good deal of my sense of humor. When I discovered Suck My Dick, New Yorker Cartoons, I knew I had hit a goldmine.

It’s remarkably simple — comedian Emily Heller and her brother present comics that are currently in the New Yorker Caption Contest, paired with a phrase about fellatio. It’s probably the only place where I’ll find my love of both The New Yorker and a good dick joke satisfied in the same place. Yes, it’s crass and silly, but it’s also very, very funny; the sort of thing that’s a mind-numbingly pleasant go-to on a week like this past one when everything was terrible.



Missile Comes Back to Me is a Shakespearean tragedy masquerading as a flash game. Red ships fire purple missiles away from from them, but the purple missiles can’t bear to be apart. They’re destined to return to the scarlet-tinged objects of their affection, only to meet a sad but inevitable end upon reunion. Your job, as the yellow ship, is to insinuate yourself into the confidence of the purple missile and lure it back to its long-lost love. But don’t get too close, or you’ll, you know, get hit by a missile.

The game, by Kenta Cho, is brilliant in how much novelty it wrings out of such simple actions. Your only controls are the arrow keys and there’s only one kind of object to interact with, yet I’ve never played another game like it. And the techno soundscape that emerges from the missile shots, lock-ons, and explosions is musical and delightful.

It’s also really hard, so here are a couple tips to help you survive for at least a second or two:

  • When you start a game, fly straight sideways for a little bit to get yourself oriented in the wraparound world.
  • Stick towards the bottom of the screen as much as possible. Some of the later enemies fire super fast missiles that are hard to dodge from higher up.
  • Try to make every missile point either straight down or diagonally up. The world only wraps around sideways, so missiles that go off the top and bottom of the screen disappear. If you get one going horizontally, it’s pretty much guaranteed to come back around and kill you.