Culture on My Mind – Lord, Laird, Lady?

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Lord, Laird, Lady?
December 30, 2022

This week, I’m reading about the downfall of a YouTube sponsorship. We’ve all seen the advertisements as we’re perusing our favorite videos – let’s face it, there are a lot of ads on the platform, and the frequency seems to be increasing – and I know that I wondered about the logistics and legalities of owning a square foot of land in Scotland.

I mean, the appeal is pretty big from a novelty perspective. Make a donation, get a certificate, and laugh about being a Lord of Scotland. But how deep does that rabbit hole go? I tried digging into it back in June and landed on an article from Tales of Times Forgotten named No, You Can’t Buy One Square Foot of Land in Scotland and Become a “Scottish Lord”. But the dissent was sparse at that point. I mean, I had no intention of buying in after living through trends like the “buy a star for your loved ones” in the ’90s, and I donated directly to ecological charities and causes to make a difference, but I was certainly curious about how something like Established Titles worked.

YouTuber Scott Shafer cracked the story open recently, and I found out about his work through YouTubers like Pleasant Green and LegalEagle. It certainly has the YouTube community in an uproar as content creators take their various sides and start hurling mud, but at least we have some answers.

No, you can’t buy a small piece of land and earn a title. Yes, companies like this are under investigation for their business practices.

And, yes, they’re pulling their sponsorships and closing ranks, which implies a lot about the case on the whole.

There is more to come on the matter, but I think that these two videos are a great starting point for the logistics and legalities. Both of them sum up Scott Shafer’s original research quite well. Take some time to dive in if you’re interested.


Pleasant Green:


Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.


STEAM Saturday – Artemis to the Moon


STEAM Saturday
Artemis to the Moon
December 24, 2022

In this edition, we start with the Artemis program’s successful flight, bizarre creatures at the bottom of the ocean, and a major fusion breakthrough.

It has been a while since I published a STEAM Saturday, so there are a few more video links for you to peruse over the holidays. I hope you and yours have a safe and warm holiday season. See you next year.


NASA – Liftoff! NASA’s Artemis I Mega Rocket Launches Orion to Moon (Nov 16, 2022)
Following a successful launch of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket in the world, the agency’s Orion spacecraft is on its way to the Moon as part of the Artemis program. Carrying an uncrewed Orion, SLS lifted off for its flight test debut at 1:47 a.m. EST Wednesday from Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA – Splashdown! NASA’s Orion Returns to Earth After Historic Moon Mission (Dec 11, 2022)
NASA’s Orion spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, west of Baja California, at 9:40 a.m. PST Sunday after a record-breaking mission, traveling more than 1.4 million miles on a path around the Moon and returning safely to Earth, completing the Artemis I flight test. – Spacesuited Snoopy doll floats in zero-g on moon-bound Artemis 1 mission (Nov 16, 2022)
“When NASA was identifying what the ZGI would be, it just seemed to make sense that it was Snoopy.”

Science Alert – A Host of Bizarre Creatures Has Been Found At The Bottom of The Ocean (Nov 4, 2022)
From fish on stilts to creatures of ooze, the strange denizens of the deep uncovered during investigations of two new marine parks located 2,500 kilometers (about 1,500 miles) off Australia’s western coast were a dream come true for researchers.

BBC – US scientists announce fusion energy breakthrough (Dec 12, 2022)
Physicists have pursued the technology for decades as it promises a potential source of near-limitless clean energy. On Tuesday researchers confirmed they have overcome a major barrier – producing more energy from a fusion experiment than was put in. But experts say there is still some way to go before fusion powers homes.

Scientific American – Nuclear Fusion Lab Achieves ‘Ignition’: What Does It Mean? (Dec 13, 2022)
Scientists at the world’s largest nuclear-fusion facility have achieved the phenomenon known as ignition—creating a nuclear reaction that generates more energy than it consumes.

NPR – J. Robert Oppenheimer’s security clearance was wrongly revoked, energy secretary says (Dec 17, 2022)
The Biden administration is reversing a 1954 decision that revoked J. Robert Oppenheimer, known as the father of the atomic bomb, of his security clearance and ultimately ended his career as a physicist.

ScienceNews – The first planet found by the Kepler space telescope is doomed (Dec 19, 2022)
The first planet ever spotted by the Kepler space telescope is falling into its star. The planet has roughly 2.5 million years left before it faces a fiery death.


Physics Girl – Hosted by Dianna Cowern, a science communicator and physics alumna from MIT, this show was part of PBS Digital Studios until 2020. She uses her platform to explore complex physics, astronomy, and science-related topics in simple terms.

Veritasium – A combination of the Latin for truth, veritas, and the suffix common to many elements, -ium, this show is literally an element of truth. It is hosted by Australian-Canadian science communicator, filmmaker, and inventor Derek Muller (Ph.D., Physics Education Research).

Ask a Mortician – Caitlin Doughty is a mortician, author, blogger, and YouTube personality known for advocating death acceptance and the reform of Western funeral industry practices. You got death questions, she’s got death answers. Ask a Mortician was suggested by Sue Kisenwether.



Ceddar – Cheddar News feeds curiosity about what’s next with the latest in business news, culture, media, technology and innovation shaping our world tomorrow.

Becky Stern – Becky Stern is a maker living in NYC. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions!



Practical Engineering – Grady Hillhouse is a civil engineer in San Antonio, Texas. His channel aims to increase exposure and interest in the field of engineering by highlighting the connection between the world around us and the energy, passion, and thought that goes into making it a nicer place to live.

Not Just Bikes – Stories of great urban planning and urban experiences from the Netherlands and beyond. There are a lot of reasons why Dutch cities are so great; it’s not just bikes.



Shop Time – Peter Brown is a geek with a full set of power tools, and he uses that knowledge to experiment, craft, and have fun.

Ben’s Worx – Ben is a maker from Queensland, Australia who has always had an interest in woodworking. He makes all kinds of things from wood, metal, plastics, and epoxy resin, and loves to experiment in the name of entertainment.

Moonpie Creations – Ken is a woodworker and creator who likes to have fun. A combat veteran, he uses his tools as a way to relax and deal with everyday stress. He loves to try new things, think outside the box, and stay cool.

Boylei Hobby Time – A hobbyist just trying to make fun things and inspire you to be creative.

Defunctland – Defunctland is a YouTube series created by filmmaker Kevin Perjurer telling the stories of pop culture’s past. With a focus on theme parks and themed entertainment experiences, Kevin guides audiences through colorful, dramatic, and often surprising narratives of nostalgia, business, and creativity. A spin-off show named DefunctTV explores the history of children’s television entertainment.


8-bit Music Theory – This YouTuber loves music, video games, and analyzing and talking about music from video games. He promises that if you are a big nerd, you’ll love it too!



Veritasium – A combination of the Latin for truth, veritas, and the suffix common to many elements, -ium, this show is literally an element of truth. It is hosted by Australian-Canadian science communicator, filmmaker, and inventor Derek Muller (Ph.D., Physics Education Research).

Johnny Harris – Johnny Harris makes videos about maps… and other things.

Mark Rober – An engineer and inventor, Mark Rober presents popular science concepts and do-it-yourself gadgets in easy-to-understand terms. He was previously a NASA engineer (where he worked on the Curiosity rover) and a product designer at Apple’s Special Projects Group (where he authored patents involving virtual reality in self-driving cars). One of his best-known series involves the development of a glitter bomb to combat porch pirates and internet scammers.

Wendover Productions – Wendover Productions, run by filmmaker Sam Denby, is all about explaining how our world works. From travel, to economics, to geography, to marketing, and more, every video will leave you with a little better understanding of our world.

U Can Beat Video Games – U Can Beat Video Games is a YouTube channel for all of us! Have you ever wanted to get better at video games, but every video requires players to have superhuman abilities? On UCBVG, watch Kylo take on titles like Castlevania, Mega Man, or Zelda, and learn strategies that anyone can use for these games and more! UCBVG also discusses the history and technology behind these games during his tutorials.


If you have any suggestions for STEAM Saturday, please leave them below in the comments. If your suggestion is used, your name will be credited.

Disclaimers: Any sponsored content or advertising presented in videos and/or links highlighted in STEAM Saturday are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Creative Criticality. Pursue such content and offers at your own risk. The links and videos attached to this post were publicly available at the time of publication, but there is no guarantee of availability after publication.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope that something inspired you to get out there and explore the universe.


STEAM Saturday is a celebration of curiosity and imagination through science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics, the very building blocks of the universe around us.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Classic Christmas in Pac-Land

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Classic Christmas in Pac-Land
December 23, 2022

This week, I’m thinking about the holidays.

On December 16, 1982, the ABC television network in the United States aired an animated special that was a spin-off from the Pac-Man animated series. That series was conceived from the famous video game and was produced by Hanna-Barbera for Saturday morning cartoon blocks. This series was the first cartoon based on a video game and followed the ’80s trend of making holiday specials based on popular cartoons.

The series is a classic, and therefore is prime real estate for the Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track. So, on December 19th, Joe Crowe and Gary Mitchel were joined by ToniAnn Marini (@Jersey_Devil86 on Twitter), Chris Cummins (@scifiexplosion on Twitch and Twitter), Kevin Cafferty (Gleaming the Tube), and Kevin Eldridge (The FlopCast) for a dramatic reading of this holiday adventure.

These Classic Track Quarantine Panels are typically held once every two weeks (or every fortnight, if you will). If you want to play along at home, grab your internet-capable device of choice and navigate the world wide webs to the track’s YouTube channel and/or the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

Gary can also be found on A Podcask of Amontillado, a horror-themed podcast that he co-hosts with Erin McGourn.

If you want to connect with the track, Joe, and/or Gary on the socials, you can find them on Twitter (ClassicTrack, JoeCroweShow, and sneezythesquid) and Instagram (SciFiClassicTrack, JoeCroweShow, and Gary_Mitchel). And, of course, to celebrate more pop culture awesomeness, you can find Dragon Con all year round on the internet, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

You can find those discussions and more every other Thursday as the American Sci-Fi Classics Track explores the vast reaches of classic American science fiction.

The episode art each week is generously provided by the talented Sue Kisenwether. You can find her (among other places) on Women at Warp: A Star Trek Podcast.


Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Schedule Update: The Timestamps Project (December 2022)

Schedule Update: The Timestamps Project
December 2022

Timestamps Schedule Update Dec 2022

The Timestamps Project will return after a break for the holidays.

Starting in January, the plan is to review Class for eight weeks. This is an opportunity that hasn’t come up since reviewing The Sarah Jane Adventures since I haven’t seen a single episode of this short series. After that, I will return to Doctor Who with Series 10, Peter Capaldi’s last set, and the introduction of Bill Potts.

As always, the schedule is tentative. I hope you and yours have a happy, safe, and warm holiday season. See you next

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Stick the Landing 2022 with Tee Morris and No Kid Hungry

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Stick the Landing 2022 with Tee Morris and No Kid Hungry
December 16, 2022

This week, I’m thinking about friends, charity, and ending the year on a high note.

Over on Twitch, podcaster, storyteller, and “Twitch Dad” Tee Morris has pledged his channel to a month-long charity drive to help combat child hunger. No Kid Hungry is a campaign run by nonprofit organization Share Our Strength, a group dedicated to solving problems of hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.

Tee started his campaign this month with the hope of ending a rough year with a major victory for children in need. He set a $1000 goal and his community obliterated it. He now has an unexpected stretch goal of $5000 and has asked his friends and followers to spread the word in the hope of helping as many kids as possible.

If you have the means, please consider donating to Tee’s campaign on Tiltify.

You can find more information about Tee and his work at




Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Timestamp: Series Nine Summary

Doctor Who Series Nine Summary

Timestamp Logo Twelfth

Peter Capaldi’s sophomore set was a big step up.

After Series Eight‘s uneven performance, the Twelfth Doctor really started to shine with stories better aligned with science fiction’s mission to analyze the human condition. Series Nine tackled vengeance and regret, life and death, and war and peace before capping the run with a love story.

Along the way, we did get a straight time travel tale in Under the Lake & Before the Flood and a swing-and-a-miss regarding choice and consequences in the three stories orbiting Clara’s death, as well as an experiment that flopped with Sleep No More. Those last two were the big drawbacks in the series, but I’m more than pleased with the deep dive into the human condition that was amplified by Peter Capaldi getting more comfortable in the Twelfth Doctor’s skin.

Clara’s negative growth from the last series didn’t play out well in this series. She was a lot more stable in this set, but her arc didn’t pay off thanks to Steven Moffat’s inability to say goodbye. She faced the consequences of her actions but then had the choice reversed, thus reinforcing my position that Last Christmas should have been her last journey.

Overall, Series Nine comes in with a solid 4.1 score, putting it alongside the Fifth and Eighteenth classic seasons and the Second and Seventh revival era series. That collection is a tie for tenth among the thirty-seven seasons (so far) in the scope of the Timestamps Project. That’s a good place to be.

The Magician’s Apprentice & The Witch’s Familiar – 4
Under the Lake & Before the Flood – 5
The Girl Who Died & The Woman Who Lived – 4
The Zygon Invasion & The Zygon Inversion – 5
Sleep No More – 2
Face the Raven – 4
Heaven Sent & Hell Bent – 4
The Husbands of River Song – 5

Series Nine Average Rating: 4.1/5

Next up, the Timestamps Project takes a look at Class, which is the last big set of episodes that your humble reviewer hasn’t watched before. That will take about eight weeks and lead back to Doctor Who, which will take us through Series Ten and the final adventures of the Twelfth Doctor before embarking on the Thirteenth Doctor’s journey.

UP NEXT – Class: For Tonight We Might Diecc-break

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp #271: The Husbands of River Song

Doctor Who: The Husbands of River Song
(1 episode, Christmas Special, 2015)

Timestamp 271 Husbands of River Song

Farewell, Professor.

Christmas Day, 5343, on the human colony of Mendorax Dellora brings a man named Nardole to the TARDIS. He was sent there with a handwritten note but is rebuffed by the Doctor wearing costume antlers. Nardole explains that there is a medical emergency and the Doctor decides to tag along despite already having had a long day. As they pass the real physician, they find themselves at the door to a flying saucer and a woman in a hooded cloak.

Hello, sweetie. The Doctor easily recognizes River Song, but she has no idea who this face belongs to. Also, she’s married. And her husband is dying.

River’s husband is King Hydroflax, a man in a giant suit of armor being watched by guards genetically engineered to have anger problems armed with sentient laser swords and (remotely) by four billion subjects. Posing as the physician, the Doctor studies the king while refusing to bow – bad back and all – and finds that the ruler has something jammed in his head. River takes him aside for a brief consultation while Nardole tries to calm his own frazzled nerves.

According to the holographic x-rays, the offending projectile is the Halassi Androvar, the most valuable diamond in the universe.  It was shrapnel from a raid on the vaults where the diamond was kept. River wants to remove the entire head, admitting that she is actually contracted to retrieve the gem. The Doctor is shocked but their discussions are interrupted by the king and his guards. He has been listening in and offers to help his false wife by removing his own head, revealing that he is a cyborg.

A brief battle ensues. River fends off the cyborg body with a sonic trowel while the Doctor coerces the king’s head to order his body to stop. The king’s head ends up in a bag before River and the Doctor are transmatted outside. The Doctor finds the entire affair to be hilarious but he’s still put off that River can’t recognize him. He’s also upset that she’s married to her associate Ramone, a man that she’s tasked to find the Doctor and who has had his memory of the wedding wiped. River assumes that the Doctor can only have twelve faces but Ramone has been unable to find any of them. He has located the TARDIS, though.

Meanwhile, Nardole is assimilated into the cyborg body and sent in search of the fugitives.

River, Ramone, and the Doctor walk to the TARDIS. As River steals the TARDIS, the Doctor finally gets the opportunity to have a “bigger on the inside” moment. When this hilariously cheesy monologue is over, he’s shocked to find River sampling the store of Aldebaran brandy hidden behind a roundel. When the king’s head starts to beep, River tries to pilot the TARDIS away but the capsule refuses to move. After she argues with the Doctor over how to drive, they determine that the TARDIS won’t establish a proper space-time envelope since the king is technically split across the inside and the outside.

Outside, the cyborg finds Ramone and demands that he deliver a message. Nardole is (figuratively) beside himself during this process. Inside the TARDIS, the king’s head declares that his body contains a bomb that will burn the world. The cyborg body, now wearing Ramone’s head, soon breaks into the TARDIS and the capsule takes off. When it lands, the Doctor and River snag the head and scramble into a party on the starship Harmony and Redemption.

River is greeted by the Maître d’, Flemming, whom she convinces to lock the cargo hold. They then head to dinner with a quick wardrobe change courtesy of a perfume bottle. River admits that she’s had her lifespan altered – she’s now 200 years old – and that the ship is full of people who are far worse than she is. The ship is where genocide comes to relax.

The couple is seated and River reads from her TARDIS-shaped diary. She reminisces about the man who gave it to her, noting that there are a scant few blank pages left. As they wait, Flemming is summoned to the cargo hold by a distress call from Ramone. Meanwhile, River and the Doctor are soon joined by a man named Scratch who holds special cargo in his own head. After a brief squabble over the diamond, Scratch reveals that the room is full of his own people as a guarantee. This group worships Hydroflax and wants the diamond in his honor.

Despite attempts to hide the head in the bag, the couple is forced to reveal the truth and create a distraction. A bigger one wanders in when Flemming and the cyborg body crash the party. Unfortunately for the king, the cyborg doesn’t want the ruler’s head back since it will die in seven minutes. The cyborg vaporizes the king’s head and Flemming offers the diary as a lure for the perfect replacement: The head of the Doctor.

Flemming reads the diary, noting that River witnessed the Pandorica opening, has been to Asgard for a picnic, survived the crash of the Byzantium (which was turned into a movie), has met Jim the Fish (who is known by everyone), and has just been to Manhattan (which Flemming thinks is a planet). Nardole’s head confirms that River is the Doctor’s consort, but River refuses to admit to his whereabouts. She does, however, state the truth that the Doctor doesn’t love her back. You don’t expect a sunset to admire you back. When you love the Doctor, it’s like loving the stars themselves. She adds that he wouldn’t be sentimental enough to be at her side at this point.

She then takes an honest look at the man she’s been traveling with. “Hello, sweetie.”

They kill some time as the ship pilots into a meteor storm, then fall into the deck below. River catches the falling diamond in her dress and heads off to deal with the ship’s emergency while the Doctor faces the cyborg. He defeats the menace by tempting it with Scratch’s orb that accesses the universe’s banks then introducing the cyborg to the best firewalls in the universe.

The Doctor rushes to the bridge as River recognizes that they are approaching the planet Darillium. The Doctor teleports River to the TARDIS, which she then materializes around him as they argue over how to save the ship. At the last second, they both rush back into the TARDIS and ride out the collision as the ship enters the atmosphere and crashes.

The Doctor takes the TARDIS to the next morning and gazes upon the wreckage, meeting with a rescuer who hasn’t found any survivors. Once the Doctor recognizes where he is, he suggests that someone build a restaurant that would gaze upon the famous singing towers. He also gives the rescue worker the diamond as capital to build it.

He travels to the future, makes a reservation, and then travels to the reservation itself. When River awakens, she is escorted to the Doctor’s side where she finds Ramone and Nardole in the cyborg body, now working for the restaurant. The Doctor himself is in a suit and offers River her own sonic screwdriver.

The same sonic that she will have at the time of her death.

They gaze upon the Singing Towers of Darillium and River is speechless. The Doctor is sad but reassures her as she speaks of stories about them. That their last night together is spent at these towers. In his way, the Doctor offers a confirmation but consoles River with confirmation that he does indeed love her.

The nights on Darillium are twenty-four years long, and happily ever after just means time. As such, River and the Doctor lived happily ever after.

Rather, they lived happily… together.

Her first and last stories in the show’s chronology are my favorite River Song adventures. The mystery of her life with the Doctor in Silence in the Library & Forest of the Dead makes for some great comedy and drama, and this story brings some hot chemistry between the two time-crossed lovers.

Holiday episodes are typically heavy with dumb fun and this one is no exception, but the love story here is carried by Alex Kingston and Peter Capaldi all the way to the bank (pun intended). You feel the heart of their relationship in the wacky pulse-pounding adventure and the soul is the quiet moments punctuated by discussions of love.

It’s also the perfect place to end their story. Fans often ask when Alex Kingston will return to Doctor Who, and while I miss her superlative talent on the show, I don’t see how her return pushes the relationship forward. We’ve seen the beginning and the end with flights of fancy in the middle, and this story is the perfect period to close their last chapter together.

I adored the callbacks to the franchise, including the wallet photos of each of the Doctor’s faces. For your Doctor Who trivia nights, those photos were screencaps from The Smugglers, The Two Doctors, Carnival of Monsters, The Hand of Fear, Resurrection of the Daleks, Mindwarp, Survival, the TV movie, The Day of the Doctor, The Parting of the Ways, The Runaway Bride, and The Bells of Saint John. It is interesting that she knows about the Doctor’s prior regeneration limit – by default, that includes the vanity regeneration that she met – and the faces of his former lives (she admitted this in The Time of Angels), but she doesn’t know anything about the Twelfth Doctor.

Also, notably, the Twelfth is not her Doctor. From Forest of the Dead:

You know when you see a photograph of someone you know, but it’s from years before you knew them. and it’s like they’re not quite finished. They’re not done yet. Well, yes, the Doctor’s here. He came when I called, just like he always does. But not my Doctor. Now my Doctor, I’ve seen whole armies turn and run away. And he’d just swagger off back to his TARDIS and open the doors with a snap of his fingers. The Doctor in the TARDIS. Next stop, everywhere.

The Tenth Doctor had no idea that someone could open the TARDIS with a snap of their fingers. River didn’t know the Twelfth Doctor until this adventure. River Song’s Doctor is the one that she married. Her Doctor is the Eleventh Doctor, whom she was just with as her own parents were lost in New York City’s past.

I love the subtle callback with the Twelfth Doctor scanning River with her new sonic screwdriver, thus enabling his former incarnation to save her as a data ghost. There’s also some degree of subtlety with the hidden brandy stash in the TARDIS, especially given the Doctor’s somewhat complicated history with alcohol. The First Doctor claimed to have never touched the stuff, the Fourth Doctor admitted to having a brandy stash onboard, the Third and Fourth Doctors drank regularly, the Ninth Doctor celebrated once with brandy and both he and the Tenth Doctor were rumored to be partiers, but the Eleventh Doctor routinely rejected drinks.

As I said, holiday episodes are often dumb fun, but the thin plot gave our leads plenty of room to shine. It’s a beautiful Christmas tale and a fitting end for a story arc that dominated the Steven Moffat era of Doctor Who.

Rating: 5/5 – “Fantastic!”

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: Series Nine Summary


The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.