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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lileks on the Kindle Fire

Odds Are, You Probably Don't Exist

Excellent chart.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ogden Nash - The Common Cold (with bonus Lord Chesterfield)

Because I refer to it somewhat often (as in, whenever a friend and/or family member is ill), I thought I'd make this easy to find. If you're unfamiliar with Nash, buy one of his books and keep it in the bathroom.

The Common Cold

Go hang yourself, you old M.D.!
You shall not sneer at me. 
Pick up your hat and stethoscope, 
Go wash your mouth with laundry soap; 
I contemplate a joy exquisite 
I'm not paying you for your visit. 
I did not call you to be told 
My malady is a common cold. 

By pounding brow and swollen lip; 
By fever's hot and scaly grip; 
By those two red redundant eyes 
That weep like woeful April skies; 
By racking snuffle, snort, and sniff; 
By handkerchief after handkerchief; 
This cold you wave away as naught 
Is the damnedest cold man ever caught! 

Give ear, you scientific fossil! 
Here is the genuine Cold Colossal; 
The Cold of which researchers dream, 
The Perfect Cold, the Cold Supreme. 
This honored system humbly holds 
The Super-cold to end all colds; 
The Cold Crusading for Democracy; 
The F├╝hrer of the Streptococcracy. 

Bacilli swarm within my portals 
Such as were ne'er conceived by mortals, 
But bred by scientists wise and hoary 
In some Olympic laboratory; 
Bacteria as large as mice, 
With feet of fire and heads of ice 
Who never interrupt for slumber 
Their stamping elephantine rumba. 

A common cold, gadzooks, forsooth! 
Ah, yes. And Lincoln was jostled by Booth; 
Don Juan was a budding gallant, 
And Shakespeare's plays show signs of talent; 
The Arctic winter is fairly coolish, 
And your diagnosis is fairly foolish. 
Oh what a derision history holds 
For the man who belittled the Cold of Colds!

Although I'm not suggesting that you use them in this manner, it's impossible for me to think of bathroom books without thinking of Lord Chesterfield's Letters to His Son (to his illegitimate son, that is; he (Chesterfield) was trying to raise him (the son) above his (the son's) lowly origins and inferior blood):
I knew a gentleman, who was so good a manager of his time, that he would not even lose that small portion of it, which the calls of nature obliged him to pass in the necessary-house; but gradually went through all the Latin poets, in those moments. He bought, for example, a common edition of Horace, of which he tore off gradually a couple of pages, carried them with him to that necessary place, read them first, and then sent them down as a sacrifice to Cloacina: this was so much time fairly gained; and I recommend you to follow his example. It is better than only doing what you cannot help doing at those moments; and it will made any book, which you shall read in that manner, very present in your mind.

Sunday, November 20, 2011