This Week in Links: February 3-February 9

But first!

新年快乐! happy chinese new year!

新年快乐! happy chinese new year!

I’m sure you’ve heard: it’s the year of the Snake. So if you were born in 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, or 2001, hooray, it’s your year, but I regret to inform you that this is actually an unlucky truth. You should wear something red every day this year to keep away the evil spirits and misfortune. If you’re interested in more information about this year of the snake, click here. (And yes, I know that New Year’s Day is actually tomorrow, but it’s already tomorrow in China, which means its already horrifyingly polluted air has been doubled in potency from the smoke of a myriad firecrakers that have already been set off. Again, on account of the spirits.)

Moving on. Dear Old Dad’s responsible for my first link: the page for a Discovery Channel series titled Africa, a video from which he shared with my brothers and me at the start of the week. The treacherous tale of a quarter-sized baby turtle fighting desperately to overcome the deadly obstacles he faces is both scary and sad, but as Dad pointed out– a testament that we can never, never, QUIT! (That’s his favorite quote.)

"baby turtle battles ghost crab"

“baby turtle battles ghost crab”

In a similar vein, my new favorite “About Us” page from a UK animal charity (I’ll remind you I have to look at these for work, and that I don’t make a hobby of scouring the web for UK animal charities.):

royal veterinary college act about us

Because I’m a Canada-phile, and because even as a big fan of old Honest Abe, I have to say I’m all for it.

canada bids its penny goodbye; should the us?

canada bids its penny goodbye; should the us?

My parents and I were revisiting that ancient “Did Gaga rip Madonna off with “Born this Way“?” debate last week and Dad made the accurate assertion that they do sound an awful lot alike. I tried to remember Gaga’s quote about the chord progression being a standard disco progression that’s been used over the past fifty years; she’s not a plagiarist, she’s “smart.” (I’m paraphrasing as the verbatim quote contains a few more expletives than I feel comfortable using in this forum, but feel free to read it in its entirety here.) Dad’s next question was, “Well then why aren’t there more that sound the same?”

He was probably referring to songs sounding the same as those exact two songs, but nevertheless I found this website posted by a friend on Facebook to be relevant. It’s compiled a whole collection of songs that have very similar riffs, chord progressions, or vocal arrangements and allows you to listen to them side by side. Many of them will have you wondering how you never noticed before (and yes, Gaga and Madonna made the list.)

sound just like radiohead beatles

Another fun, interactive site sent to me by a coworker pits you against a computer set to either novice or vetaran in a very entertaining game of rock-paper-scissors. You can see how the computer learns how the moves work and then tries to anticipate your moves. Pretty interesting. And I’m still in such teacher-mode, I always find myself thinking, “Oh that could turn into some sort of English game!” or “Oh the kids would love that!” This was one of those moments.

rock-paper-scissors: you vs. the computer

rock-paper-scissors: you vs. the computer

On a completely unrelated note (but keeping with the theme of a three-way battle, I suppose. Although rock-paper-scissors is still only two-way so nevermind.), another New York Times article comparing the strong central government (but weak civil society) of China against the weak central government (but strong civil society) present in India. It discusses the pros and cons and implications of both scenarios and then, for good measure, holds them up to Egypt, in which both the government and civil society are weak. I just thought it was an interesting perspective on the comparisons and assumptions that are constantly being made about the world’s two largest nations.

india vs. china vs. egypt

And to end on a light note, a point of attraction for any Archer fans (or… really any women/gay men I would imagine. I mean, look at that bone structure…):

real models for archer characters

i was always under the impression that aside from h. jon benjamin the characters were modeled somewhat after their voice actors but i guess not.

One year ago: Recipes” Update
Three years ago: Funtime!

This Week in Links: January 12-19

Our themes this week are conspiracies, pop stars, and (surprise) animals.

Some of you may remember me discussing at some point or another a bit of stress I may have undergone when first arriving in Thailand on account of all the conspiracy-theory talk circulating amongst my friends. And Lupe Fiasco. “Nine-eleven, Building Seven, did they really pull it?!Planes were dowsing the planet with toxic aluminum and barium on the daily, Princess Di was assassinated, and we didn’t land on the moon. It just really had me feeling like this. (Okay, sorry Emilie, I promise not to start using gifs to illustrate everything, that is truly your realm.)

Of course I’m exaggerating, but it’s funny now to look back on because I do find the whole business a bit fascinating. Though have zero desire to spend any more time blogging about it. Or… about those conspiracies, anyway.

Because the fascination doesn’t stop there, people. Everything we hold near and dear in pop culture, it would seem, is potentially involved in some sort of twisted scheme. I first decided to do some investigating after looking for the full Watch the Throne album on YouTube because I was just dying, for whatever reason, to hear Jay say, “Do you know who I am, Clarice?” in “Murder to Excellence.” (Coincidentally this was the morning after Jodie Foster delivered her allegedly powerful Golden Globes speech, of which I was oblivious at this point.) Couldn’t find the full album; instead found the show they did in London for the Watch the Throne tour (in which they didn’t actually perform “Murder to Excellence,” but who’s counting?). Which brings me to how I started thinking about celebrity conspiracies: in the comments there were all kinds of Illuminati references (including one simply stating, “illuminati muppets,” which hit me hard, because the only thing I hate being called more than a sheep[le] is a muppet. But it was unclear to whom the comment was really directed so I was able to let it slide). And I realized it wasn’t the first time I’d seen the Illuminati mentioned in connection to some of our most beloved superstars, and so decided to find out more.

Now, I’ve read The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons so I like to think I know as much about the Illuminati as the next guy– that is to say, almost nothing. However, a quick, “what does jay-z have to do with the illuminati?” search yielded many results. I liked this one from Slate a lot, and with a title like, “Is Lady Gaga a Satanist Illuminati Slave?” who could blame me? But the graphic for this Gawker article was too good to pass up:

i mean, if nothing else this is definitely making me want to be a part of the illuminati. shoot... is that the intention? are they in my head already?

i mean, if nothing else this is definitely making me want to be a part of the illuminati. shoot… is that the intention? are they in my head already?

It offers two comprehensive “guides” (“The Believer’s Guide” and “The Skeptic’s Guide,” both informative and, in good Gawker-style, hilarious), and gets you kind of hoping that Blue Ivy Carter really is in charge of the world, because an infant occupying the captain’s chair is about the only acceptable explanation for things being so messed up.

Perhaps you recall the 15 Insane Fan Theories… list from Buzzfeed I posted on my first installment of This Week in LinksAladdin‘s set in the future, Tarantino has created a similar but alternate universe, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off all takes place in Cameron’s head? Well Emilie’s directed me to a character-oriented list in the same vein:

literary characters conspiracy flavorwire

it’s like… 95% homosexuality (honestly i’m surprised bert and ernie and tinky-winky didn’t make the list…) but still worth a read, as that’s an entirely hyperbolic figure.

And for old times’ sake, here are links to two of my favorite conspiracy theories from back in the day: Hollywood begins mass brainwashing campaign to get people ready for the next bioengineered virus release (via and THE MOON: A Propaganda Hoax (via The Mad Revisionist). (The latter isn’t claiming that we didn’t go to the moon– it posits instead that our dear little satellite doesn’t even exist. Though in a world of limitless possibilities…)

On the topic of commentary in virtual forums, here’s that update I know you’ve all been longing for of any stirrings we created with out Lil Wayne reference in the Tupac Deposition video:

tupac deposition comments

esfelon makes a compelling argument, i’m just still trying to figure out what an ‘intelegentan’ is.

And my friend Kyle sent me this gem on the basis that he ‘knew I liked reading comments.’ Am I that transparent?? But yeah. Good call, Kyle.

awesome, feminist-insensitive comments on the 'bic for her' pen available on

awesome, feminist-insensitive comments on the ‘bic for her’ pen available on

I’ll do a little soul-baring right now (if Jodie can do it so can I!) and admit that 25 is a weird age to be newly single… since returning home from Thailand I’ve attended two weddings (one of which was my younger cousin’s) and borne witness to countless engagements and marriages thanks to the voyeuristic magic of Facebook (sorry, I don’t mean to sound disparaging of your bliss… heartfelt congratulations to all you litte lovebirds!). However, the old adage that “misery loves company” has rung true, and in Kathy’s and my case the silver lining has been that it would seem that nothing brings old friends together like simultaneous breakups. During her stay we spent countless contemplative hours going through the full spectrum of feeling like of course we’d end up happy to being fatalistically certain we’d end up alone (the phrase ‘cats eating my face’ got thrown around a bit) at least twice a day week, as well as watching Downton Abbey wondering where our respective Cousin Matthews were. She also hooked me up with these bits of literature on the subject of love in our weird and trying ‘modern’ age. They present a bit of a spectrum themselves.

item 1: a nytimes article in which men are DEFINITELY the bad guys. arg! men! chauvinism! glass ceiling! hook-up culture!

item 1: a nytimes article in which men are DEFINITELY the bad guys. arg! men! chauvinism! glass ceiling! hook-up culture!

(My boy “Antoine Vanderbilt” coincidentally also addresses this article in his latest “Dear Antoine” installment, in which ‘Laura from DC’ wonders when is the most appropriate time to put out.)

in this one, from the atlantic, online dating is to blame for millenials’ inability to foster successful relationships– it’s so easy to find someone new ‘we’ don’t put in the time or attention necessary to keep the ones we have. an interesting hypothesis, anyway.

finally, a beacon of hope. a relationship succeeds because of undying effort on the part of a real-life prince charming. but is this still giving men too much agency/responsibility?! i’m waiting for the article about the relationship that succeeded because of undying effort on the part of a real-life princess charming.

Anyway, that was a bit of a divergence from the aforementioned themes, let’s reel it back in with another one about pop stars… Specifically two surprisingly similar individuals: Kurt Cobain and Justin Bieber.

this makes ollie a lot like both of them.

this makes ollie a lot like both of them.

(As long as we’re talking about commentary, let’s just say there are a handful of Kurt Cobain fans that do not appreciate this article one little bit. But I think lil Biebs is great? Just see for yourself!)

baby, señorita, mon chérie…

And moving onto animals (yayyy!).

more buzzfeed... i can't help it. the way the official takes the dog off the field is the same way i take ollie to my room to crate him. all limbs sticking exactly straight out.

more buzzfeed… i can’t help it. the way the official takes the dog off the field is the same way i take ollie to my room to crate him. all limbs sticking exactly straight out.

because the only thing better than a donkey in a well is a comically large one.

because the only thing better than a donkey in a well is a comically large one.

this is a work-find... looking through the church's website and was struck by this headline, and subsequently by the heartwarming story that accompanied it.

this is a work-find… looking through the church’s website i was struck by this headline, and subsequently by the heartwarming story that accompanied it.

another work-find...

another work-find…

I mean, it’s no Godbaby but… what is, really?

And, also because I can’t help it, a couple nerdy ones to round out the post and re-express my love of All Things Language.

do words really mean anything

i almost got lost in all the linked articles to this one... this stuff is seriously so intriguing to me.

i almost got lost in all the linked articles to this one… this stuff is seriously so intriguing to me.

And… if comparing Justin Bieber to Kurt Cobain is such a sin in the musical world I don’t want to know what kind of offense it will be for him to share “Song of the Day” status with Janis Joplin but… I heard on the radio that yesterday would have been the Queen of Rock’s 70th birthday so I reckon it’d be a greater offense to not give her the last word:

i’d trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday… to be holdin bobby’s body next to mine.

(Ugh it was so hard not to go with “Mercedes Benz,” but Bobby McGee will always occupy a special place in my heart.)

Two years ago: October 24-25: The Final Leg

This Fortnight in Links

Because I never miss an opportunity to use the word “fortnight”?

And also I was too busy editing video last Saturday to follow through with my “important” “weekly” installment. Anyway, here’s fun stuff I’ve come across on the web this fortnight.

It wasn’t a disappointing fortnight at work, that’s for sure. I worked on accounts for all kinds of animal charities, which always delights me to no end. I asked my boss if it would be possible for me to work specifically on accounts concerning animals and she said they’d create a new position for me. I’m waiting on further information.

As always all photos link to their respective pages.

every company's 'people' page should have mandatory pet presence

every company’s ‘people’ page should have mandatory pet presence

This page prompted my friend to make a remark about how he wishes he could have a donkey in his photo for his work ID. Which made coming across this one a few days later just that much more gratifying:

couldn't believe my eyes

couldn’t believe my eyes

Actually now that I think about it, it was actually a brilliant fortnight for donkeys at work, because my co-worker also sent me this little motivational gem:

it'll bring tears to your eyes

you get only this teaser line. you know you want to know the rest of the story. it’ll bring tears to your eyes, this.

Though I’ve only been on the job for a month (two fortnights, if you will), I’ve already learned that in an office even the most mundane things become entertaining or noteworthy. Such as the fact that I came across an Annual Report in Comic Sans font, which warranted a big face-palm. And inspired me to revisit the archives of a friend’s Facebook page to track down this hilarious (if a bit vulgar) monologue, issued by Mr. Comic Sans himself. I think we’ve all been underestimating this font, world.

mcsweeneys comic sans

I also learned that McSweeney’s was started by Dave Eggers, which is exciting to me because What is the What? was one hell of a book and I’ve been meaning to patronize more of his projects.

I wasn’t actually able to find the Comic Sans article and had to resort to actually establishing communication with said friend in order to find it, but all was not for naught; my efforts were rewarded by this:

"tales from the international spy and advertising agency." i don't think i could think of a marriage that would make me happier than that of 'mad men' and 'archer.' this tumblr is pure gold, guys.

“tales from the international spy and advertising agency.” i don’t think i could think of a marriage that would make me happier than that of ‘mad men’ and ‘archer.’ this tumblr is pure gold, guys.

Facebook also hooked me up with this fascinating piece about people’s post-Sandy dreams, on the page of an old friend whose dream was actually used in the article (she’s the one who “found herself floating on top of a Tyrian purple lagoon: ‘none other but the imaginary “Broadway Canal.””)

harper's sandy and the sandman

And in that article was a link to this… amazing site: You just… post a brief explanation of your dream, and you can see if people are having similar dreams to you. I haven’t tried it yet because I think it’s going to really freak me out, but I’m working my way up to it mentally. I’ll get back to you.

What else, what else? Oh right, so when driving back from NYC on New Year’s Day, Kathy’s friend (and our gracious chauffer) had us listen to Lil Wayne’s deposition and… I mean, just watch. It’s well worth the six minutes of your life.

So it was hilarious enough that we felt we needed to share it at our gathering last Saturday night, and everyone loved it so much that we decided to move onto the next logical thing: Tupac’s deposition. Whereas Mr. Carter went in there blazed out of his mind and proceeded to bring the lolz by avoiding and/or repeating every question asked of him (and then threatening the lawyer who was questioning him), Tupac sat there and, to quote the top comment, “They expected an illiterate dope to come in and self-incriminate himself with broken English and thug logic but instead they got an intelligent human being who was able to defend his music as artistic expression…”

In other words, not very funny. As we felt the need to inform them:

it hasn't generated any activity yet.

it hasn’t generated any activity yet.

(In fact, I made a point of going to Copyright School on YouTube after NBC really pushed the law on me after uploading that video of Jenna Maroney and Paul L’astnamé singing “O Holy Night” on 30 Rock for my Christmas post on account of that comment. I wasn’t able to leave comments until I went and promised not to use any more copyrighted material :(. I thought I had it all figured out, that getting-around-copyright-ish business!)

Oh yeah, and then a co-worker showed me this which… kind of is beyond what I’m capable of describing to you. Like… Lil Wayne fan-fiction or something, but I don’t think it’s meant to be understood as such. Are you under the spell of the demon to whom Lil Wayne sold his soul in order to assure the success of Young Money?

lil wayne's secret’s_Secret

If you’re in the mood to do some reading about the debt bias, I really liked this post that was Freshly Pressed a while back:

he calls it 'econ for poets' haha... even i could understand it!

he calls it ‘econ for poets’ haha… even i could understand it!

If you’re feeling nerdy in that kind of language-exploration kind of way that I know affects so many, you may find this of interest:

bbc english

favorite part: “Hinglish is a blend of Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and English and is so widespread that it’s even being taught to British diplomats… In Hinglish, a co-brother is a brother-in-law; eve-teasing means sexual harassment; an emergency crew responding to a crisis might be described as ‘airdashing’, and somewhat confusing to football fans, a ‘stadium’ refers to a bald man with a fringe of hair. There’s even a new concept of time – “pre-pone”, the opposite of postpone, meaning “to bring something forward”.”

Kathy sent me this article that I really had to drag myself away from after reading the first page at work, and I’ll admit to not actually getting around to reading the rest of it. But I found it to be wonderfully written and it stirred up nice memories of my wandering past. Do check it out.

twenty somethings new yorker

Big news for board games: (Thanks Emilie.)

they best leave that shoe alone...

they best leave that shoe alone…

Another co-worker wants to spring a few of us from work for however long a Rickshaw Run takes and I’ve offered to assist his friend make a movie about it. If everyone just wanted to start sending out positive intention that this becomes a reality, I’d appreciate it.

i dream of it

i dream of it

Oh another work discovery: a gallery of awesome wildlife shots, most notably this fox, naturally because it reminds me of Ollie, my Thai Domestic Goat Fox.

ollie's mouth isn't quite that big.

ollie’s mouth isn’t quite that big.

I feel the need to include this because I think it’s memorable and important. He’s not making any gun control argument you haven’t heard already, but he’s doing it in a way only Jon Stewart can… Well done, sir.

i couldn't find a still where he WASN'T making a ridiculous face

i couldn’t find a still where he WASN’T making a ridiculous face

And because this La Roux playlist made my morning yesterday I’ll throw it in too. The opening track is my new jam:

One year ago: Lemony Herbed Potato Salad (I need to make this again! I used to love that ish.)
Two years ago: October 21: The Apex!
Three years ago: Laura’s Trip to Beijing

This Year in Lists

Already I’m going to deviate from my intended trend of “This Week in Links” by moving to something a bit broader: This Year in Lists. It’s the end of the year, so everyone’s making lists of the best this or the worst that or their favorite whatever. I’m pretty bad at stratifying things, nor do I feel that I’ve been well-versed enough in anything related to pop-culture or world events or really anything to put together anything even close to a very insightful list of that variety.

But I do love lists, so I decided to try a different tack and make a list of the lists I’ve come across that kind of… did the work for me. Here they are, in no particular order: Angela’s List of the Top 12 Lists of 2012.

First up, from, two lists I’ve actually made a point of seeking out every year: the Best and Worst album covers of the year. Always entertaining to me. PF’s actually got quite a few music-oriented lists up at the moment, if you head over to their homepage.

pitchfork worst album covers

pitchfork best album covers

Moving onto, and sticking with the music theme: Daytrotter’s Top 200 Sessions of the year. Daytrotter’s just a real fun music site that features “seventeen bands and over 60 Daytrotter Session songs” each week. Some bands you’ve likely heard of, some you probably haven’t, but I’ve been impressed with most everything I’ve perused on the site. As stated on their “About” page, “What Daytrotter is attempting to do is to not kid around with you and tell you that we found something that you never knew existed. We are going to contribute to the musical landscape, not just toss it around like a used book or a stolen pick-up line. We’re going to give you something that you truly have never heard. We are not giving you songs from someone you love’s record album, thereby stealing from someone you love. We’re giving you exclusive, re-worked, alternate versions of old songs and unreleased tracks by some of your favorite bands and by a lot of your next favorite bands.

You can buy a membership which allows you to download a certain amount of the music, or just stream for free. They’ve broken up their Top 200 list into a few installments; this one starts at the top and is particularly near and dear to me as it features a track from a local Charlottesville band, with whom my brother has played trumpet on a number of occasions, The Hill and Wood.

daytrotter best sessions 2012!/concert/best-songs-of-2012/20056400-37383579

Next up: an assortment of lists from I discovered this blog a few months ago when a mutual friend linked to the very poignant and eloquent “More than a Game” post on Facebook. I was so moved and impressed by the writing I continued perusing, and by the time I reached the funny and insightful “Democrapalooza 2012: The Road to the White House” post I was hooked. I think it’s safe to say I’ve kind of creepily become this stranger’s biggest fan, and come to completely defer to his rulings on pop-culture dealings (though I can’t say I wasn’t taken aback by a bit of a Taylor Swift fixation). And… as a result, I’m totally yoinking all four of his Top 25 year-end lists.

Top 25 TV Shows:

this'll be the only time i spoil the #1 results, but i agreed so wholeheartedly with this pick, not to mention spend as much time ogling jon hamm as possible, so the exception needed to be made.

this’ll be the only time i spoil the #1 results, but i agreed so wholeheartedly with this pick, not to mention spend as much time ogling jon hamm as possible, that the exception needed to be made.

Top 25 Songs:

antoine vanderbilt top songs

Top 25 Albums:

antoine vanderbilt best albums 2012

Top 25 Reads:

lots of books/articles i'm keen to check out here. and this one, which i already have, and which draws relevant parallels between t-swift and the likes of both tupac and dre.

lots of books/articles i’m keen to check out here. and this one, which i already have, which draws relevant parallels between t-swift and the likes of both tupac and dr dre. i didn’t think it was possible either.

What would a list about lists be without a nod a Buzzfeed, your one-stop-shop for every internet list about anything ever? A few of my recent favorites:

the 40 cutest things that happened in 2012. be sure to watch the kangaroo video.

the 40 cutest things that happened in 2012. be sure to watch the kangaroo video.

50 most wtf animal pics. i just... really like animals, guys.

50 most wtf animal pics. i just… really like animals, guys.
(reminds me of that one time in bali…)

in a totally different vein, li wei's best non-photoshopped shots of 2012. really stunning images allegedly done without 'cheating.'

in a totally different vein, li wei’s best non-photoshopped shots of 2012. really stunning images allegedly done without ‘cheating.’

Even real news (“real” “news”?) sites aren’t above list-creating, so I’ll wrap up with some items from the Guardian and Time.

the worst ideas of 2012

the worst ideas of 2012

top 10 underreported stories

top 10 underreported stories

And if you somehow haven’t had enough of lists yet, Time’s actually got a whole smorgasbord of them. They call it the “Top 10 Everything of 2012.

And… that might be me done for the year, friends. I head to New York City tomorrow morning to ring in 2013 with some old partners in crime and suspect I’ll be a bit indisposed. So here’s wishing you all a most exciting, happy, and safe New Year’s Eve!

One year ago: Christmas in Thailand
Three years ago: Christmas Party Video