Here's what can happen: You find you know nothing about Brunei. You look it up; it's actually called “The Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace.” It is the only sovereign state located entirely on Borneo, of which it occupies about one percent. You find you know nothing about Borneo. Look it up. Third largest island in the world. 140 million year old rainforest rapidly being converted to plywood, threatening the habitats of many cool species, including the proboscis monkey. Look it up. Paydirt. You get the following exquisite construction: “Monkeys tend to sleep near rivers, if they are nearby.”
Monday, September 22, 2014
You know how you'll be reading and without quite knowing what's happened to you you'll be giggling all by yourself or worse in a public conveyance? Or crying? That's how good writing works. You don't go, “My, but that's well written.” It just sneaks up on you disguised as normal words. So what's terrible about a bad book from a good writer is it lets you in on all the tricks. It ruins everything. It's like a magic show. If you start off thinking “This is a guy with pigeons in his pockets,” the whole thing is kind of pathetic.
Monday, September 15, 2014
The big tech news is that Apple is including a free U2 album when you buy a new iPhone. For the youngsters. Like if Harman Kardon had offered teenaged me a Lawrence Welk tape with my new 8-track player. See, they’re staying relevant. Maybe they should throw in a Teddy Ruxpin. With this inspired marketing linkage, Apple cements its position as the hep technology brand of choice among middle-aged cube rats and soccer moms. Meanwhile, the Browns played the Saints yesterday. As a native Clevelander living in New Orleans, I was really torn about which team to be apathetic about.
Monday, September 8, 2014
Here's a sentence I just had occasion to read: "Hyenas do not take to eating jackal flesh readily; four hyenas were reported to take half an hour in eating one." Amazing. This answers a question I would never have thought to ask. But now I want to know more. Who reported this? To whom? Is half an hour an unusually long time to eat a jackal? Compared to normal hyena eating speed, or some control species' standard jackal consumption rate, divided by four? Anyway, half an hour doesn't seem all that slow to polish off a quarter of a jackal.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Here at 100 Word Rant we make sort of a big deal out of Utica, New York, mentioning it on average three times every eight years. Less often than Enormous Pencils -- we do have priorities. However, we have neglected another Utica, this one located in Mississippi. We wish to apologize. No disrespect was intended. Realistically, since Utica, Mississippi has a population of 966 and we have a total readership of maybe 150 out of a potential audience of seven billion, the odds that either our previous neglect or this apology will be noted within that municipality are vanishingly small.
Monday, August 25, 2014
I think we’ve all known that moment when we find ourselves asking our hiking companion, “What’s the best way to fight off a bear with a penknife and black birch walking stick?” I mean, maybe not that specific moment. But that sort of situation. Even if you’re like me, not a big risk-taker. Not like that guy I know who when asked how many bones he’s broken responds, “Not counting fingers?” Anyway, I’ve given very little thought to the afterlife, but I want nothing to do with reincarnation if it means coming back as a big pile of bear poop.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Somehow, Baruch Spinoza managed to get himself kicked out of Judaism in 17th century Amsterdam, where they probably didn't have a lot of Jews to spare. He said he was going to quit anyway, thus originating the Groucho Marx/Woody Allen line about not wanting to “belong to any club that would accept me as a member.” Solitary, frugal, and monastic, he will probably never be the subject of an action-packed biopic. Spinoza earned his living as a lens maker. However, there is no evidence that he died after falling into his own grinding apparatus, thereby making a spectacle of himself.