This Week in Links: January 27-February 2

And wow, I think I officially have the lamest blog because in two weeks all I’ve had to write about were my favorite things I found on the internet. No, that’s a lie, Ryan and I went to see the xx on Tuesday and I watched him perform with Solar Bear the next day, but technical difficulties are preventing me posting about that. Why, oh why, in this day and age, would your standard HD video format on a camera be Mac incompatible? And why can’t I find a way to convert it to a format that either iMovie or FCP will import, and that is smaller than 15 gigs? (Why can’t we take cocktails to go? So many questions.)

Seriously though, if y’all have any insight into my barely-comprehensibly-alluded-to predicament please feel free to share.

So yeah, back to my exciting internet finds.

First and second up: On the very exciting subjects of work and retirement. The “secrets” in the first article are pretty self-evident, actually, but it’s a short and easy read; Daddy sent me the second and while I’m not quite in the “abiding by them” phase it does lay out some sensible rules to make sure we’re not all working til we’re 90. (I just shuddered pretty violently.)

secrets of america's happiest companieshttp://www.fastcompany.com/3004595/secrets-americas-happiest-companies

10 commandments of retirement planninhttp://money.msn.com/retirement-plan/10-commandments-of-retirement-planning#scptid

Many of you may have already seen that our dear little hamlet of Charlottesville got a shout out in this Huffington Post  list of ‘the country’s most restaurant-crazy cities.’

huffington post the country's most restaurant-crazy citieshttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/25/best-restaurant-cities_n_2545499.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false#slide=2022808

Emilie sent me this beautiful, wonderful, linguistically fantastic collection of foreign words with no English equivalent. Why don’t we have a word for the sense upon meeting someone that you’re going to fall in love?! (And in how many languages is there a word for it?)

14 wonderful words with no english equivalenthttp://theweek.com/article/index/238751/14-wonderful-words-with-no-english-equivalent

And from that I found this one about twelve states that only almost were. (No, Puerto Rico is not on there.)

12 proposed us states that didn't make the cuthttp://www.mentalfloss.com/article/12641/12-proposed-us-states-didnt-make-cut

I’m not a very political person and I wouldn’t generally have my blog go in that direction but I figured this Mother Jones article would appeal to all my wacky liberal friends, anyway: (Bonus: at the end it, as expected, devolves into a good old-fashioned gun debate!)

10 pro-gun myths shot downhttp://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/pro-gun-myths-fact-check

And guys, you thought Ollie was cute in a duvet:

ollie in bedollie in blanket

Doesn’t it just make you think, “Oooh, now if he were only in something a bit more… bespoke. I bet he’d sure be handsome…”?

Turns out you’re right. He’d be super handsome. It’s making me wonder if I didn’t have one of those sober, midday blackouts I’ve been having lately and sneak him into the Young Men’s Shop Downtown and have a photo-shoot. Thanks, Uncle Gary, for sharing the page that linked to this most amazing of Tumblrs starring Ollie’s doggy doppelgänger: “Menswear Dog.”

mensweardoghttp://mensweardog.tumblr.com/

Yes, it’s got me pretty convinced that for being a “Thai street-dog mutt” (as I always tell people when they invariably ask. That or “Thai domestic fox,” because as David and I know, he looks like a medium-sized dog… but he’s a frickin’ huge fox.) he’s definitely got some Shiba Inu in him. And yes, I made a priority of subscribing to his Instagram as well.

Oh and today’s a good day for a Song of the Day. Phil and I were checking out The Nick Kroll Show (painfully funny, I thought) the other night and a trailer for Colin Farrell’s upcoming movie Dead Man Down came on (confession: I found it so ridiculous as to have assumed it was a Nick Kroll sketch when it started). By the end of the trailer, and with the knowledge that it’s being done by the director of the Swedish Girl With the DragonTattoo (It’ll be his first Hollywood foray, which I’m interested in because his GWTDT was very noticeably not Hollywood, sometimes in a good way, sometimes not.), I was actually kind of won over on the movie. But the most noteworthy part of it, for me, was this excellent cover of the Pink Floyd classic, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” done by a gal named Kendra Morris. While my favorite experience with “SOYCD” covers still has to be standing transfixed while Umphrey’s McGee did their awe-striking cover of the tune at All Good 2009, Kendra truly does it justice as well. See for yourself:

One year ago: The Story of a Passport
Two years ago: The Long Ride from Kolkata to Kodaikanal

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?

http://gawker.com/5886988/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-illuminati-the-conspiracy-theory-that-connects-jay+z-and-queen-elizabeth

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.

http://www.flavorwire.com/362916/a-few-conspiracy-theories-about-classic-literary-characters

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 NaturalNews.com) 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 amazon.com.

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

http://www.amazon.com/BIC-Cristal-1-0mm-Black-MSLP16-Blk/product-reviews/B004F9QBE6/ref=cm_cr_dp_see_all_btm?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

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!

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/fashion/the-end-of-courtship.html?src=me&ref=general&_r=0

(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.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/01/a-million-first-dates/309195/#.UPQ9AcWMYa8.email

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.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/on-love-i-was-totally-into-enjoying-the-time/2013/01/10/c01b99ac-56b2-11e2-8b9e-dd8773594efc_story.html

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.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/10-ways-justin-bieber-is-like-kurt-cobain

(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.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/tommywes/adorable-dogs-interrupt-professional-soccer-game

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.

http://www.petside.com/slideshow/photos-guinness-world-record-animals?Utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=cpc#586104

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.

http://www.pilgrimshospices.org/news/woody-the-rocking-horse-is-so-special/

another work-find...

another work-find…

http://www.churchinwales.org.uk/asaph/news/realeasteregg2013.php

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

http://hotword.dictionary.com/semiology/

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.

http://hotword.dictionary.com/beautiful-sounding/

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