Friday finds

Emoji

Are you ready for Emoji Dick?

Time-suck alert: The New Yorker has a new blog devoted to churning its vast catalogue of back issues. It’s a simple but valuable idea: Go back into the magazine’s 80-year archive and find articles that reflect some of the writing in the current issue.

Here’s your shot at winning a coffee date with a real live Pulitzer-winning novelist. Having spoken with him myself, I can confirm he’ll be worth the bid.

Medievalists thrill to the tale of the Staffordshire Hoard! But the finder doesn’t have all that much to cheer about.

Want to make bagpipes from PVC tubing? How about trying to build an upright bass with an old washtub? Dennis Havlena has plenty of others.

Who do you like for the next Nobel Prize in Literature? The betting site Ladbrokes has four-to-one odds for Israeli novelist Amos Oz.

Farewell to Jim Carroll, poet, novelist, punk rocker.

F. Scott Fitzgerald thought there are no second acts in American lives. Just try telling that to this guy.

Writing advice from Frederik Pohl.

Krutt, anti-krutt, and the world of Icelandic pop music.

Am I the only one who finds the slang use of “cougar” really unattractive and more than a little insulting to the women it purports to describe? Do we really want to compare Courteney Cox, Demi Moore, and Pamela Anderson to a predatory beast known to leap on people’s backs, crush their spinal cords with a bite to the neck, then eat their faces and internal organs? Last time I saw a photo of Ashton Kutcher, he was looking pretty happy, so what gives with “cougar”? Not that “Milf” is much better. Whatever happened to “Yummy Mummy”? Or “Mrs. Robinson”? They’re dated, obviously, but either is preferable to “cougar.”

“In his Dictionary of the English Language, Johnson does not yet recognize the power of ‘nice’ as the catch-all term for British near-approval, but he Doc Johnsonproduces one of his little gems in defining the word: ‘It is often used to express a culpable delicacy.’ It may be time to observe that Dr. Johnson, neither by his own definition nor by ours, could ever properly have been described as nice. He lacked culpable delicacy to the exact same degree that he lacked good manners, an easy disposition, a sunny outlook, a helpful quality, an open spirit, a selfless gene, a handsome gait, or a general willingness to put his best foot forward in greeting others. If niceness was the only category known to posterity, we would long since have lost Johnson to the scrofulous regions of inky squalor, for he could be alarmingly rude.”

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