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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Staying Alive, by Steve Almond, Southwest Magazine

Sometimes at night, after everyone else in my family had gone to sleep, I would lie in bed and pretend I was a pinball machine. I would press the knobs of my hip bones as if they controlled the flippers and kick my legs as if they were bumpers and imagine the silver ball careening through spinners and up ramps and into the drop targets of my favorite machines, the layouts of which I had memorized. Inevitably, I played brilliantly enough to light up the cherry-red circle marked “special,” at which point I would fire the ball into the illuminated kick-out hole (otherwise known as my belly button) to win a free game, an event commemorated by a muffled but distinct crack, the sound of which, even 40 years later, is enough to set my heart aflutter. I thrashed around, playing this imaginary game, until I fell asleep. I would then dream of pinball.

That’s how much pinball meant to me as a 10-year-old kid.

Why Don't We Say 'You're Welcome' Anymore?, by Caroline Bologna, Huffington Post

Over the years, American etiquette experts, baby boomers and writers have lamented the apparent decline in the use of the phrase “you’re welcome” in everyday conversation.

But the reasons for the decline do not necessarily come from a place of rudeness, nor is “you’re welcome” simply another thing that millennials are bent on “killing.” In some ways, it comes from a desire to be more considerate.

'Looks Good Enough To Eat': Inside The Home Of Japan's Fake Food Industry, by Justin McCurry, The Guardian

A godsend to foreign tourists who, faced with a Japanese-language menu, can simply point and order, shokuhin sanpuru (food samples) have been tempting diners into Japan’s restaurants for almost a century.

Gujo Hachiman, a picturesque town tucked in the mountains more than three hours west of Tokyo, lays claim to being the home of a replica food industry now worth an estimated $90m.

The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle By Stuart Turton Review – Quantum Leap Meets Agatha Christie, by Carrie O'Grady, The Guardian

Stuart Turton, a debut novelist, has drawn on half a dozen familiar tropes from popular culture and reworked them into something altogether fresh and memorable. His murder mystery takes place in the classic setting of the 1920s country house, but right from the start, you know you’re far from Hercule Poirot territory.

'A Place Of Darkness' Is An Illuminating History Of Horror, by Genevieve Valentine, NPR

We're all intrigued by a story that suggests something isn't quite right. The thing that cemented the horror movie in film culture was the addition of a story to the scare — giving us something to dread. Phillips suggests the thing that cemented the horror movie in American culture was that it offered a chance to experience large cultural fears in a tidy way. With Get Out on the Best Picture ballot this year, it's clear that the right story can still terrify us; A Place of Darkness is a primer on how the movies learned to do it.