Amtrak gives writers free “residency” rides

February 23, 2014
An Amtrak-sponsored writing residency is the result of an enterprising Twitter request.
An Amtrak-sponsored writing residency is the result of an enterprising Twitter request.

In the weekend edition of Blog Log, Amtrak arranges for writers to ride the rails for free and scribble to their hearts content, while Miley Cyrus introduces the next generation to two old school relics simultaneously: Polaroids and Outkast’s “Hey ya.”

“The Wire is 100 percent on board with this idea. Pun intended, because we’re writers. We love writing, and we love trains, and we love them both together.” — Ben Cosman at thewire.com gets excited about Amtrak’s experiment with “writers’ residencies,” where authors are given a free roundtrip ticket on a long route for the sole purpose of writing the entire time. What started out as a Twitter request resulted in freelance writer Jessica Gross taking the first “test run” residency from New York to Chicago.

“He seems willing to approach any stranger or sea urchin and elevate their most noble qualities in a single frame.” — James Hughes at Slate.com discovers the Instagram account of Gravity cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who has been nominated for the Oscar in Best Cinematography six times and is apparently just as good with a still camera.

“Inspiring little girls everywhere to ask ‘What’s a Polaroid picture?’ ” — nigelastydameiaburn5 comments at Gawker.com on Miley Cyrus’ cover of Outkast’s 2003 hit “Hey Ya!” Cyrus performed her country-tinged rendition of the song in Tacoma, Wash., earlier this month,  and the Internet seems to have caught wind of it this weekend with reviewers calling it “strangely sublime” and “a delight.”

“I like the ability to conveniently buy tube socks and toilet paper.” — Prince of Petworth at popville.com ranks Columbia Height’s DC USA/Target No. 11 on his list of “13 things we like to complain about that are actually not all that bad.” The District’s much-maligned pizza scene also made the list of over-rated problems. “I’ll give you that the bagel scene still sucks, but I’m cool with the pizza,” he writes.

“Knowing that this has been going on for a year and a half is troubling just on principle. And knowing that it’s been this widely publicized and hasn’t yet been fixed for MacBooks means it’s worth taking a few extra ounces of precaution.” Brian Barrett at Gizmodo.com explains a major security flaw that Apple said it fixed Friday for iPhones running iOS 7. In terms for non-techies, the bug “means that Safari or whatever else can’t actually know for sure if the servers it’s talking to are who they say they are,” he writes, adding “update your iPhone right now.” On Saturday, Apple promised to release a fix for Macs running OS X “very soon.”

Rachel Sadon is the local news editor for Express
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Beth Luberecki · February 23, 2014