Monthly Archives: July 2012

The best love song ever

You’ve heard of Silly Love Songs, right? This song is the complete opposite.

It starts with discord and confusion, a distorted guitar seeking the right note.

After 86 seconds of this tortured feedback, the drums and bass guitar kick in.

As the singer starts singing about his self-aware, dead-end existence, a band mate begins talking – about the song being sung and the nature of love songs.

He interrupts the monologue occasionally to join the singer on a couple phrases and the chorus, which compares love to an acute, often fatal disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis.

The song is (Love Like) Anthrax by Gang of Four, and it’s as brilliant-genius today as when it was released in 1978.

And I feel like a beetle on its back … And there’s no way for me to get up


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Oblomovshchina (aka Twitter, circa 1859)


Oblomov is not the best-known or most-read Russian novel.

But it is considered a classic and is still read today, thanks in part to a re-translated edition in 2006.

It also has a place in Russian culture and language – Lenin mentioned it in speeches and essays denouncing the bourgeoisie, and the term oblomovshchina epitomizes “the backwardness, inertia, and futility of 19th-century Russian society.”

Ivan Goncharov’s masterpiece was published in 1859, but a passage on p. 146 could’ve been written today.

Stoltz, Oblomov’s live-life-to-the-fullest friend, is berating him for not keeping up with current events (which is really hard to do when you spend the first 150 pages of the book in bed).

Stoltz: Not a newspaper in sight; don’t you read the papers?

Oblomov: No, the print is too small; bad for the eyes. Anyway, there’s no need; if there’s any news, it’s on everyone’s lips all day long – you can’t help hearing about it.

Me: How do you say Twitter in Russian, anyway?

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A decent respect to the opinions of mankind

Here’s more proof that everyone needs an editor – even Thomas Jefferson. Note that both sentences are 71 words long and, even in the pre-Twitter days of 1776, ampersands were considered way too informal.

BEFORE John Adams, Ben Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston worked with Jefferson on it:

Thomas Jefferson's "rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence, courtesy of  princeton.eduWhen in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a people to advance from that subordination in which they have hitherto remained, & to assume among the powers of the earth the equal & independant station to which the laws of nature & of nature’s god entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the change.


Declaration of Independence, courtesy archives.orgWhen in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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