I didn’t think I had a problem, until…

Having a not-so-secret on-again off-again thing for Salt-n-Pepa over the years, I had to watch the first few episodes of their new eponymous reality show on VH1. I watched episodes 2 and 3 late last night, and this morning I was thinking that it’s all so staged and bogus that I probably wouldn’t watch any more.

But then, how exciting is it that Spinderella’s coming back in episode 4? There’s no way I’m not watching that.

You are so crafty, VH1, and I am so hooked.

Word picks for the savvy verbal investor, October 2007

Palimpsest — SELL — This word no longer speaks to the zeitgeist. Ditch it now and cut your losses.
Autochthonous — STRONG BUY — So much cooler and evocative than “indigenous”; anything “chtonic” is hot, hot, hot.
“Not so much” — HOLD — Naysayers have denigrated it for almost a year now, but it’s still going strong. Keep a close eye on it, though, and prepare for its demise; perhaps use it…. not so much.

Questioning Metcalfe’s Law

Moderately interesting reading here, and here.

More academic reading here.

It was always bogus, though, right? I mean, how do you quantify the value of a network? It was only ever something that made intuitive, poetic sense.

Aside: I like Facebook better than a lot of other of the big social networking sites, but LinkedIn got me a new job, I like simple old Flickr better, and I like my blog the best.

Slice of life, 1997

Standing outside the ZDNet building at 1 Athenaeum St in Cambridge, with a coworker taking a smoke break.

Him: Did you see the X-Files last night?
Me: I sort of hate the X-Files
Him: Mulder actually used the phrase “Military-Industrial-Entertainment Complex”. Somebody at Fox fuckin’ knows, man!

Ezra’s crackpot theory #425*

Which until now has been a secret crackpot theory.

I was checking my feedreader this afternoon, after being about a week out of date, and in my RSS feed for all flickr photos tagged “letterpress”, I saw something for the Oblation Press of Portland, Oregon, and it made me think about the Oblation Board in Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, and that great situation where Lyra is dressed up at an elegant dinner party with Mrs. Coulter and she starts to get a glimmer of the horrible truth about the Oblation Board, and decides to run away. That whole scene, and that feeling of fear, just came alive in my brain, like the fear and imagery of a super vivid dream.

Which leads me to share my crackpot theory. Good fantasy (and I just don’t have the energy now to define my terms, so there) somehow actually is a map of the subconscious, and (even farther out on the limb…) that it actually somehow triggers biochemical reactions in the brain.

I’ve mentioned a favorite Borges quote before, and I think it gets at the same idea: “We are ignorant of the meaning of the dragon in the same way that we are ignorant of the meaning of the universe; but there is something in the dragon’s image that fits man’s imagination, and this accounts for the dragon’s appearance in different places and periods.”

Crackpot theory #425 appeared first a few years ago when I was re-re-re-reading the Lord of the Rings just after the first of the movies came out. The part where Frodo and Sam are in Mordor feels like it goes on forever, there’s such a grey, weighty, washed-out feeling that weighs that whole section down; the landscape seems paradoxically both precisely described but also strangely without landmarks or differentiation. I started wondering why such a place would take shape in Tolkien’s mind, and why it could also appear with such vividness in my own. But simultaneously, it occurred to me that I couldn’t imagine a better depiction of what depression feels like. I don’t know. Maybe your experience of depression is not illuminated by the presence of hobbits, but mine is.

Anyway. Discuss.

*I’m not really counting. There are too many to actually bother counting.

Joe Buck and the manram

To appreciate the following quip from Editrix, you need one piece of information: her younger brother was Fox baseball commentator Joe Buck’s college roommate. She has many fine stories about his schmarminess even as a youth (apparently his closet was predominantly full of oxford dress shirts), but they are hers to tell.

Now, tonight, just after Manny hit the last in the string of back-to-back-to-back home runs, I swear, Joe Buck called Manny Ramirez “Man Ram”. I had to share this, so I jumped on ichat and had the following conversation with Trixie:

ME: i think joe buck just called manny ramirez ‘manram’
TRIX: you HAVE to be kidding
TRIX: we gave up and turned off the tv
ME: no
ME: not kidding
TRIX:manram. that is wrong on so many levels.
ME:alas
ME:”a long shot by manram”
TRIX: it’s like those “what if so-and-so had killed hitler when he had the chance” premises — my brother could have saved us from this horror.