1. An insider’s perspective on Conan O’Brien’s final days on The Tonight Show by Todd Levin at GQ. Beautiful stuff. It would appear that, freed of all expectations, creativity and fun thrived on the set. Go figure (ht JD):

We produced some of the show’s most memorable moments in those last weeks, like the $1.5 million Bugatti Veyron dressed as a mouse, and Andy’s public plea for work. It was a relief to be freed from the tight constraints of format and the ebb and flow of the daily news cycle—now our show was creating, rather than following, headlines. That’s when The Tonight Show officially ended for me. My abstract idea of it no longer mattered, nor did the invisible weight of its legacy. We were writing for a completely new show—one that was honest and edgy, and surprisingly mainstream. Conan’s Gospel of Fun, for all its simplicity, worked.

2. An alternately scientific and poetic look at The Health Benefits of Tears by Judith Orloff over at The Huffington Post. Dr. Orloff seems to suggest that the way we become liberated from ‘negative emotions’ is through experiencing those negative emotions fully, rather than avoiding or trying to prevent them. She also notes that humans are the only creatures known to shed emotional tears (ht JZ):

It is good to cry. It is healthy to cry. This helps to emotionally clear sadness and stress. Crying is also essential to resolve grief, when waves of tears periodically come over us after we experience a loss. Tears help us process the loss so we can keep living with open hearts. Otherwise, we are a set up for depression if we suppress these potent feelings.

3. A lengthy and surprisingly sympathetic profile of evangelical author Don Miller (Blue Like Jazz) over at CNN, including some touching thoughts on father-son relationships, as well as some inadvertent yet powerful examples of horizontal imputation. Believe it or not, the best quotes come from Brian McLaren:

Miller appeals to evangelicals because there is a “profound starvation for honesty,” says Brian McLaren… “What sells radio and television time is sentimentality and promises of easy answers,” McLaren says. “He is honest about his pain and his doubts and his life being messy. But he’s also honest about his hope and faith.”

4. According to an Australian survey via The A/V Club, romantic comedies ruin real-life relationships:

In an Australian survey ironically intended to promote the DVD release of Valentine’s Day, half of the respondents claimed that watching romantic comedies with all their warm-and-fuzzy happy endings has ruined their idea of what constitutes a perfect relationship. “One in four Australians said they were now expected to know what their partner was thinking while one in five respondents said it made their partners expect gifts and flowers ‘just because’.

5. Very awesome new trailer for TRON Legacy is up!

6. We have been delighted by the enthusiastic response to our new DVD, Paul Zahl’s New Persuasive Words. We’re already down to the last 20 copies, so if you’d like one, you need to either order here or reserve it by emailing us at info@mockingbirdnyc.com ASAP. We hope to do another run at some point in the future, but there are no firm plans just yet.