Annotated Twitter: If You Stare At Something Long Enough You Will Probably End Up Falling Asleep

June 1, 2015

Sort of like beheading videos or celebrity dick pics: the civilized approach demands a refusal to participate.

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June 2, 2015

In other words, the best part of the summertime ESPN late afternoon lineup editorial output.

Such a sucker for non-traditional walkup music.

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June 4, 2015

Basically, no one gets children's music right; I have a funny feeling children are just being polite when listening to it.

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June 5, 2015

Because who doesn't want to spend his or her Friday evening listening to a bunch of really stale gay slurs?

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June 6, 2015

I would like to believe that I would do the decent thing and take my children camping for the first time if only to use these blasted sound puzzles for kindling, but I fear I will stoop to continuing the cycle of violence by passing along these crazy-making nightmares to unsuspecting future parents.

Seriously, you shouldn't get Googletonic top SEO fuckery for subscription-only content. I don't care how wonderful your "foolproof baked fried chicken shortcut" is, or whatever it was I was looking up. Fuck the internet.

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June 8, 2015

Totally forgot who this was: turns out, it's a fellow named "Chet," which, I now know, is a diminutive for "Chester." That he's a rapper, too, is just icing on the cake.

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June 13, 2015

Birdman was overwrought ridiculousness and I haven't done an Oscar pool in years. On the other hand, Kenny Mayne is a real enigma.

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June 14, 2015

Totally didn't happen. Would have been AWESOME . . .

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June 15, 2015

Just a thing I noticed in the course of doing actual work; Bing is weird, right?

The Blackhawks. And it seems they keep the band in business (listen around 4:00, expanded on around 6:00 or so).

Just got really, really tired of crashing and then learning that it's basically a purposeful tactic.

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June 16, 2015

Often heard in connection with attempts to apologize for matters of race, class and gender before launching into an opinion about said topic, e.g., "It's fucking ridiculous that here I am, a goddamn white man, talking about the meaning of [X], but . . ."

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June 17, 2015

At some point it seemed that having "every right" to think, do or say something was maybe a little hyperbolic.

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June 18, 2015

I still don't understand what "Google Plus" could possibly mean.

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June 19, 2015

It causes my serotonin levels to crash, and makes me feel generally gloomy, like I'm missing out on something truly wonderful happening to a large, boisterous crowd somewhere who is better dressed, better paid and better buzzed than I am.

Actually, not really.

First, she's fucking ridiculous and I'm not at all unhappy that it took me four years to learn why. Also, always curious about that one letter.

Really, 667 would have looked great in the record books, whichever one will take him.

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June 20, 2015

Only two of my very favorite things of all time: zoos and the theme from Caddyshack.

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June 23, 2015

Another in a long line of frustration dreams.

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June 24, 2015

Not excited about eventually replacing the laptop because SOME PEOPLE like to use it as a percussion instrument.

Before the record industry destroyed internet radio there was (if I recall correctly) a weird site called "Spank Radio" or some such that had a single playlist that streamed the same songs in the same order. This song was on there somewhere and has been stuck in my head for fifteen years and it wasn't until this exact moment when I heard it again. I still had those pleated pants until fairly recently. Here's a funny article from the last millennium: "A website isn't worth its bandwidth these days if it doesn't offer some sort of RealAudio, Liquid Audio, Windows Media Player, Winamp, or MP3 option."

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June 25, 2015

Seriously, "" is great — has to be worth something, right? Like a mortgage company looking to attract first-time home buyers or, I don't know what.

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June 28, 2015

I'm pretty sure Rachel McAdams' dad on True Detective was at the same yoga retreat Don Draper spent the early 1970s at. It sure looked that way. [Factcheck: yup.]

Posted: December 3rd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Too Much Information | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Wikipedia Roto-Rooter

I love my iPod Touch, and not just for the mind-numbingly addictive, time-annihilating Free Cell app I installed on it. I got it as a gift a couple of Christmases ago, and it's pretty fun and useful. Etc., etc.

One thing I don't like to do on it is type. It takes forever when you Google stuff, or at least it's not as fast as I want it to be. I don't mind clicking links, but the typing — yeesh.

So last night when we were Googling stuff and Wikipediaing things something suddenly occurred to me: Wouldn't it be great if we could just follow Wikipedia links to any and all things in the world? Isn't it possible to Wikipedia your way from subject to subject?

Jen said that already exists — Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Yes, but not quite — I'm talking about inanimate things. Like between Kevin Bacon and, say, a toilet.

In short, the answer is yes. You can Wikipedia from toilet to Kevin Bacon — in just seven steps, actually: Toilet to Sega to The Golden Compass to Nicole Kidman to Tom Cruise — you see where we're going with this — to Tom Cruise filmography to A Few Good Men to Kevin Bacon.

I will call this the Wikipedia Roto-Rooter.

So this morning I tried starting from Roto-Rooter and hoped to hit George Washington. It was easier than I thought: Roto-Rooter to United States to George Washington — two steps.

And back to Kevin Bacon — Roto-Rooter to Kevin Bacon in just five steps goes Roto-Rooter, Undercover Boss, CBS, Guiding Light, List of Guiding Light cast members and finally Kevin Bacon. Or this:

Wikipedia Roto-Rooter: Kevin Bacon

Can you Roto-Rooter anywhere? Can you get from Roto-Rooter to, say, the Vancouver, B.C. indie band Said The Whale? Yes you can: Roto-Rooter, Canada, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC Radio 3, The R3-30, List of The R3-30 number-one hits of 2010 and finally Said The Whale — six steps.

Now truth be told, this last one was much more difficult than I make it sound. A first stab took detours through different pages of lists of Canadian music awards, the "Colony of Vancouver Island" page, Vancouver, and even the "Frederick Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby" page (the last one a waste of time based on a hunch about their R3-30 number one hit song "Black Day in December").

Could this become a pedagogical activity? Kids already overuse Wikipedia, so why not work with it?

Posted: March 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Half-Baked Theory, Shiftless When Idle | Tags: , , , , ,

Don't Look Now, But Ape Has Taken Control

When I'm scrolling through the Village Voice Runnin' Scared feed on my reader I usually skip past the "Clip Job" feature — that's the thing where the editors dig up old stories from the Voice archives — but this one about 53rd and Third Avenue caught my eye this morning. It's from 1972, and profiles a hustler named Eddie who turned tricks in the neighborhood:

He came to New York a couple of years ago, started hustling Third and 53rd, met a woman somewhere along the way, and married her. They still live together in a hotel in the East 30s. She works a schlock job during the day while Eddie sleeps off the night. She knows what he's doing, doesn't care, it's his profession.

Eddie hasn't seen sunlight in weeks. At 6 p.m. he gets up, drinks a glass of tomato juice, has a couple of eggs if his wife is around to scramble them, then usually goes to a 42nd Street movie. He liked "Shaft" and "House of Wax." He seldom hustles 42nd. By midnight, he's at Third and 53rd.

And I say "turn tricks" because every time I'm in that neighborhood I always think of the Ramones song "53rd and 3rd", with the Dee Dee lyrics that go something like "53rd and 3rd/Standing on the street/53rd and 3rd/I'm tryin' to turn a trick."

Now you might see a picture of the Lipstick Building on the Northeast corner of 53rd and Third and sooner think of Bernie Madoff than Dee Dee Ramone:

885 Third Avenue (Lipstick Building), Midtown Manhattan

Yes, looking at it today, it's really hard to visualize the area's seedy past. That's just how cities evolve, but still — it's weird. (I'm thinking about it and realizing that the now-iconic Citicorp Building was probably part of a revitalization project during that era, right?)

And where exactly did all the male hustlers go anyway? Is it just that they're on the internet these days? Maybe an updated version of "53rd and 3rd" would read more like this: "Soliciting on Craigslist/On my laptop in my room/Casual encounters/M4M 4 U." Or something. It certainly doesn't have the anti-romance of "53rd and 3rd."

I was just talking about "53rd and 3rd" the other night because we happened to be in that neighborhood visiting some friends. We were at a bar afterward, an establishment about as unseedy as Dee Dee's 1970s world was seedy. At one point I was watching the bar's Twitter feed on a television screen above the door — perhaps you've come across this — you tweet hash tag-[bar whose name I can't remember even though this was just last weekend] and then your message scrolls on the screen. Which also means that there's a new kind of passive-aggressive activity you can participate in that involves tweeting stuff about other people in the bar — it's kind of unnerving. Was I complaining too loudly about someone's buzzkilling slow-tempo jukebox picks? Did that lady behind us hear us talking about them? Yikes. Saturday night pickup scenes are bad enough without enduring semi-anonymous chatter published to the world in real time.

Speaking of things technology destroyed, does anyone make crank calls anymore? Or did Caller ID bring that down? Wikipedia says yes. I expected there to be a piece about the advent of Caller ID inhibiting prank calls, but apparently there isn't. I'm disappointed — maybe this is too obvious? Even for Slate?

The Wikipedia also posits that the difference between a "prank" and a "crank" call revolves around the heightened level of hostility in the latter — another mystery solved! Until now I assumed they were interchangeable, and in fact for years I preferred "crank call," mostly because of the Billy Idol song "Crank Call," which I took to mean that "crank call" was in wider usage. I never looked at the lyrics before. They're incomprehensible:

They want love they want a pantomime
To cut you in two that's a sexual crime
They dig the dirt they deal in
They dig the dirt they feed on

Crank call
Ain't no fun at all

What in God's name is he talking about?

As a kid I used to chew on lyrics like this and think something along the lines of "Wow, adults are so smart and cultured — maybe one day I will also learn to speak a language as complex and evocative as Billy Idol's lyrics." Eventually I realized that some lyrics are just really shitty — like high school poetry set to music.

Here's another verse:

We drop in you in heaven or hell
Ape has taken control
They're breakin' the kids
They're beating the bids
And that is all they feed on

To be fair, maybe it's the Internet lyric industry that screwed these up — my cassette of Rebel Yell is somewhere inaccessible right now (very, very inaccessible) so I can't confirm it.

Never mind, it's on YouTube. Not the best song on the LP, for sure. It plods along in that lazy sort of 1980s midtempo that feels so dated (I think Lady Gaga songs resurrect this goofy midtempo, but that's a topic for another day).

OK, as a point of clarification, here's what I think the actual lyrics are for the verse above:

There's nothing new in heaven or hell
Hate has taken control
They're breakin' the kids
They're beating the bids [?]
And that is all they feed on

OK, doesn't make much more sense, but a little more sense — though I love the idea of "Ape has taken control." Awesome — Google "ape has taken control" and it's all Billy Idol!

It occurs me that if I bring up Billy Idol, I should probably say something nice about him. OK, how about this — I'm reacquainting myself with "(Do Not) Stand In The Shadows" and — wow! — memories of the end of side two of Rebel Yell are flooding back — hey, that's a pretty good song — at least one that some bearded Williamsburg kid might consider covering.

OK, now I'm re-relistening. Sorry to do this, but . . . God, that guitar solo is way too "Rock Me Amadeus." And Billy sounds like he's too self-consciously trying to meld Johnny Rotten and Elvis. And the lyrics . . . yes, there is something great about the way Billy stubbornly refuses to rhyme — it breaks the monotony of the mellifluous vowel sounds you're used to — but sometimes his lines land like a thud. Like this, for example:

Well you know you won't run, you won't hide and you jump like a son of a gun! Ooow!


In here today let me hear you say you're alive and you're living with me. So don't try to hide and don't try to die in the dark of the night. Wooow!


He makes it sound like "in the dark of the night."


Actually, a pattern is emerging — whenever there's a line ending in a non-rhyme Billy always seems to insert one of those pre-Jersey Shore fist pump/sneer/"Wooow" screams that he's famous for. I love it.

Then again, maybe this song is best left unturned:

If you missed it, that blond dude in the Queensrÿche outfit is Billy. And one of the above lines has now been updated to "Well you know I don't run because I don't hide and I fuck like a son of a gun!"

Well, OK then!

That was sure a nice trip down memory lane.

As I was saying, if you Google "prank call" you'll see that there is a cottage industry of websites that will prank your friends for you. The Internet just makes everything better, doesn't it?

Posted: February 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: M+/MR | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,