Wednesday various

Sunday various

  • True Tales of Conversational Vengeance. I think the closest my own job has brought me to anyone famous is talking on the phone with someone who worked with Fred Rogers, and e-mailing Desmond Tutu’s assistant, trying unsuccessfully to get a book endorsement. [via]
  • I can’t say I’ve never used any of these “lies from a publisher’s argot,” but we try to keep the out-of-control superlatives to a minimum. [via]
  • Domestic violence as a “pre-existing condition”. Seriously, how can anyone not think health care is fundamentally broken in this country? This is just nauseating.
  • Meanwhile, on a lighter note, Chuck Klosterman’s tongue-firmly-in-cheek look at the Beatles:

    Pop archivists might be intrigued by this strange parallel between the Beatles and the Stones catalogue—it often seems as if every interesting thing The Rolling Stones ever did was directly preceded by something the Beatles had already accomplished, and it almost feels like the Stones completely stopped evolving once the Beatles broke up in 1970. But this, of course, is simply a coincidence. I mean, what kind of bozo would compare the Beatles to The Rolling Stones?

  • And finally, a game: Canabalt. It’s like a pixelated parkour. [via]

I’m Happy Just to Tweet with You

So, a few months back, I spent an unhealthy number of hours coming up with fake Beatles facts on my Twitter account. It seemed like a fun idea at the time. Then this morning, I noticed that Bill Corbett was now doing it, too, this time using the more sensible — albeit longer — hashtagfakebeatlesfacts.” And so I had to get back on that horse. Here are the “facts” I came up with:

Sgt. Pepper was tragically killed in a training exercise in Vietnam, later portrayed in the film Full Metal Jacket.

Lennon and McCartney wrote “I’ve Got a Feeling” when both of them, ironically, were suffering from Bell’s palsy.

Jai guru deva om is actually Sanskrit for “Klaatu barada nikto.”

Their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in ’64 led to Ringo’s scandalous on-again off-again romance with Topo Gigio.

The title of “Fifth Beatle” truly belongs to Ringo 2.0, successfully cloned from a skin cell in 1963.

The group was nicknamed the Fab Four after cosmic radiation transformed them into crime-fighting superheroes.

However, only Ringo was asked to join the Avengers, leading to animosity and Paul’s notorious fisticuffs with Thor.

Renewed interest in Julia Child has revealed her “glass onion” recipe, and that she introduced the Beatles to pot.

Originally titled “Revolution 9 from Outer Space,” the song was shortened when Paul was replaced by Ringo’s chiropractor.

Although the Beatles did not play at Woodstock, John Lennon sat in briefly, under his well known pseudonym Joan Baez.

The Maharishi Yogi soon tired of Ringo’s constant “pic-a-nic basket” jokes.

McCartney conducted extensive research for “The Long and Winding Road,” most of which would later be adopted by MapQuest.

Martha My Dear was written in tribute to Martha Reeves, with whom Ringo had toured with as one of the Vandellas.

Their stay in Hamburg was spent touring the city with a young David Hasselhoff, who even then was big in Germany.

Incidentally, I’m never sure if this makes Twitter seem more or less appealing to the uninitiated, to know that people — well, okay, people like me — use it much more for silliness like this than for telling others what we had for lunch. (A beet salad from ‘wichcraft — and you read it here first!)

I never quite know how to defend Twitter except to say — all those complaints raised about it? All that confusion about who could ever find a use for a such a thing? That used to be me, until I saw the day-to-day reality of how it’s used. Now, I just think Noel Murray sums it up pretty well:

This is a common critique of Twitter: “I don’t need to know what a bunch of strangers had for lunch.” And yet that’s so far removed from the way I use the service that I’m unsure where to begin refuting it. Personally, I only follow a small group of people on Twitter, and I have a limited circle of friends of Facebook. Most of these are people I know—or at least know of. We’re talking to each other about things we’re presumably all interested in; we’re sharing quick thoughts on movies, TV, kids, and the petty annoyances and subtle joys of a passing day. The other day one of my Twitter-followers—someone I don’t follow, I hasten to note—complained that he didn’t like me having a six-or-seven-Tweet exchange with a friend and thereby “cluttering up his feed.” And all I could think was, “Dude, following me is not compulsory.” I think that’s what critics of Twitter often fail to understand. Though some may use Twitter and Facebook as one big “look at me,” the majority are just trying to stay connected with friends, old and new.

As always, you can follow me — with or without a Twitter account of your own — here.

Tuesday various

  • J.R. Blackwell on high school:

    If my life now was like high school, if my “real life” as they say, was at all like the lack of freedom and harassment I experienced while in high school, then things wouldn’t be going well for me at all. Perhaps then, that is how high school prepares you for real life – but showing you what you have to work hard to stay away from – how your earning power gives you freedoms that if you lost, you would lose your freedoms as well. Perhaps high school is a warning for the young mind – fail, and you will go someplace very much like here, except in that place, there isn’t a prom.

  • Frederik Pohl, who at 89 was just awarded his high school diploma would seem to agree:

    Pohl speculates that perhaps, if he had finished high school, he might have gone on to spend the rest of his career at American Car and
    Foundry, instead of writing multiple science fiction classics.”

    Just quit school, kids!

  • A contest to pick the funniest joke and, surprisingly, none of them are terrible? What are the odds? Obviously your mileage may vary, and some — like the winner, I think — are maybe more drolly amusing that laugh-aloud funny, but in any “ten best” list, you expect at least some real clunkers. [via]
  • Just how ridiculous are the “birthers”? Well… [via]
  • And finally, while I debate buying this
    G.I. Joe Complete Collector’s Set
    (no, seriously. I am honestly tempted), here’s…