Thursday, May 31, 2007


What do you think of when you see the word "maven"? What kind of image does it conjure up in your head? What does a typical "maven" look like?

L.M. Squires, at Polyglot Conspiracy, points out a tendency of which I was previously unaware.


What do Rickey Henderson, Julius Caesar, Bob Dole, Duffman, and Elmo have in common?

They are all illeists, a word I didn't know until today.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bunnies vs. Accountants

Just before Anaheim defeated Detroit in game 6 of their series, I remarked to my friend Adam that if Anaheim were to win that game, then the Stanley Cup final would be between two teams with notably non-macho-sounding names: the "Ducks" and the "Senators".

I said something to the effect of "It might as well be between the Doves and the Bureaucrats."

He replied with "Yeah. The Cleveland Aspartame vs. the Albany Douche."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Infinite Monkeys

From the Wikipedia page on the "Infinite Monkey Theorem":

"In 2003 a humorous experiment was performed with six Sulawesi crested macaques, but their literary contribution was five pages consisting largely of the letter S, besides attacking and defecating on the typewriter. Researchers concluded that the infinite monkey theorem does not apply to real monkeys; despite their entertaining methods, they make poor random number generators."

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Joe Mathlete's Band Name Mashup Rodeo

The very amusing Joe Mathlete has a blog entry introducing a game where you have to make up hypothetical band names by combining two or more band names that overlap.

He starts off with a bunch of amusing examples, and then a bunch more amusing examples were suggested by others, including me. Here, assembled in one place for your convenience, are some of my suggestions. (I can't take full credit for all of them, because a few of them come from me tweaking someone else's suggestion.)

Taj MaHall and Oates
You Say Party! We Say Dido!
Li'l Kim Mitchell
Fountains of Wayne Newton
Vince Neil Young M.C.
R.E.M.F. (best known for their hit "Everybody Hurts? Unbelievable!")
R. Kelly Clarkson
Aimee Manfred Mann
Yoko O-No Doubt
Talk Talking Heads
Genesister Sledge
The Grateful Dead Kennedys
Al Green Day
Iggy Pop Will Eat Itself
Lionel Richie Valens
Loverboy George
Al Green Jello Biafra
Electric Light Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Darkness
Ludacris Kristofferson
Mr. Mister Bungle

I then typed "Weensryche" into Google, to see if anyone else had previously thought of it, and I found something which I suppose shouldn't be a huge surprise: other people have previously played this game. Some of their suggestions (some of which coincidentally duplicated some of mine) can be found here and here.

A rant I wrote

Today, May 12th, is the two-year anniversary of a rant I posted on the web about people who like their names to be written in lower case. This rant is one of the first things that comes up when you type my (real) name into Google.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Worst. Lyrics. Ever.

A British radio show has compiled a list of "Top 10 Worst Lyrics", and this list was also discussed over at the Onion AV Club. Then some folks at Rolling Stone also compiled a list of their own.

There are tons and tons of comments following the Rolling Stone list, and I haven't had time to look at them all, but I enjoyed the following comment from someone named "David", especially the last sentence.

It’s more interesting when a good artist gets mentioned. We don’t expect much from Fergie or Sisqo and they probably don’t expect much of themselves lyric wise. My Humps is lyrically stupid but yet one of those guilty pleasures. So bad its fun type songs.

The bands that really try, are where it seems more sad and more of a failure. Isn’t Bernie Taupin regarded for his lyrics with Elton John? And he wrote that Starship song!!? White Rabbit and Somebody To Love vs. We Built This City. Its hard to believe its the same people (more or less)

Love Hurts by Nazareth, is a great example of a truly bad lyric, because it is totally serious.

His friends should have taken him out for drinks to get over his breakup or something, but not told him to write a song in his condition.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Bill Clinton creates crossword clues

This is really cool. Bill Clinton created the clues for this crossword from the New York Times Magazine. I knew the ex-prez was a crossword buff and had seen him in the 2006 documentary Wordplay.

Happy May 8

Today's the birthday of one of my favourite fictional characters on the internet: The Onion's Jim Anchower.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child

This could easily be one of those silly meaningless coincidences, but I've noticed in the past that a common bond connecting several famous popular music personalities is losing their mother at a young age.

Madonna lost her mother when she was 5

Bono lost his mother when he was 14

Paul McCartney lost his mother when he was 14

John Lennon lost his mother when he was 17

Elvis Presley lost his mother when he was 23

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Ohhh... NOW I get it!

Have any of you ever had weird misunderstandings from your childhood that you don't figure out until years later? Or maybe a joke you hear as a kid, and you laugh to be polite even though you don't understand it, and then one day, about a decade later, your mind is wandering and all of a sudden you're like "Oh, wait! NOW I get it!"

I think there are a few band names and song names that are puns, or have double meanings, or stuff like that, where I wasn't aware of the secondary meaning until long after I had first heard of them. For instance, I'm pretty sure the first time I heard of Adam Ant, I was about 8 years old. It probably wasn't until many years later that for whatever reason, I happened upon his name again, and I was like "Ohhh! Like the adjective 'adamant'!"

Similar things happened with the name of the band who did the song Funkytown. Their name is Lipps Inc. I think it wasn't until sometime in the current millennium that I said their name out loud and realized "Oh! Like 'lip sync'!"

In addition, I'm sure it took a long time before it dawned on me that the title of the reggae-influenced Led Zeppelin song D'Yer Maker, if said with the appropriate accent, sounds like "Jamaica", and that that was the whole point.

And I can also remember, as a small child, being vaguely confused and frustrated by the nursery rhyme about Solomon Grundy. The puzzle worked on me at that young age; I was honestly under the impression that Solomon Grundy must have been some strange otherworldly character who inexplicably led life at a magically sped-up pace. I guess it just so happened that it wasn't explained to me when I was very young, and then of course, nursery rhymes being what they are, I probably never encountered the story of Solomon Grundy again for years and years afterwards. I think I was about 14 or so when one day, for whatever random reason, I happened to encounter that nursery rhyme again, at which point it clicked. "Oh! I get it! Not necessarily the very next Wednesday!"

I'm sure everyone has examples in their own life. This is somewhat reminiscent of the very entertaining website I Used To Believe, which is about childhood misconceptions, but I'm talking about something slightly more specific: not just a weird idea you have as a kid, but something that escapes or eludes you as a child because it's just a little bit too subtle, and then literally years later, you happen to be thinking about the topic again, and then it clicks. Do you know what I mean?