How do you quantify the effects of things that don't happen to you? "The whole point of living in a culture is that much of the labor of perception and judgment is done for you, spread through media, and absorbed through an imperceptible process that has no single author." (previously; via)
The New Yorker's Kenneth Goldsmith tells why he's planning to teach a course called "Wasting Time on the Internet" at the University of Pennsylvania. [more inside]
The Sunni Islamic monarchy/theocracy's restrictive laws on political expression have become even stricter this year. This is in response to potentially dangerous dissidents returning to Saudi Arabia from the Syrian civil war. But the categories of offenses are so broad as to define virtually any non-Muslim as a terrorist, and to ban all independent political expression. [more inside]
Regular Expression Crosswords Do you like regular expressions? Do you like crosswords puzzles? Then you're going to (hate|love) this.
Stackoverflow grapples with the many spellings of "Gaddafi." Thank God programmers are on the case, because everyone else is confused by the 112 possibilities (even with this chart)! Even Dr. Demento weighed in.
My brother often informs me that I live 'the life of Riley'. The other night while re-reading Bill Bryson's Made in America I noted he mentioned the origin of the phrase was a popular 1880s song (possibly 1883) Is That Mr. Reilly? by Pat Rooney, in which "the hero speculates on what he would do with a fortune", and revived for use during WWI. Curious, I found several possible origins, though the song remains the top contender. Dictionary.com defines life of Riley as "a carefree, comfortable, and thoroughly enjoyable way of living. The term became popular and eventually 'The Life of Riley' was used as the title of an American radio sitcom (Wiki), followed by a movie and television series. It was used again with the alternate spelling 'The Life of Reilly' in 1995 as the title of a short film from Ireland, and in a 2006 movie starring Charles Nelson Reilly. In 2009 'The Life of Riley' was the name of a British television comedy. Now that's a phrase with staying power. It's the name of an Irish band, an online store in the UK, it was used by a sign maker, and quite obviously, as the moniker of several drinking establishments, such as the Life of Riley Tavern in Portland, Oregon; The Life of Reilly - Irish Pub & Restaurant in Baltimore, in the United Kingdom as the 'Life Of Riley' in Glasgow, Lanarkshire; and 'Life of Reilly Pub' in Harrow, Middlesex; and with a strange possessive at the 'Life of Reilly's Pub and Grill' in Long Beach, New York. Let's also not forget the mysterious MeFite LifeofRiley, whose stats stand entirely at zero. My main reason for writing all this is to ask: how many Mefites use this term? I do, but unfortunately my brother is wrong: I don't live the life of Riley. I might one day, if I win the lottery . . .
Recent troubles with Muslim women's clothes have lead to the Quebec Government to begin proposing legislation on the issue of face covering and access to public services. The niqab has become a central symbol in the anti-muslim rhetoric of nationalist parties in Europe (political poster examples: France, Switzerland, and Britain) about the threat Islam poses to tolerant secular societies. [more inside]
Not sure if someone wants to beat you, or is asking for a date? Literal vreakdowns of American slang, including explanations of expressions found in movies and pop music. Don't miss the the literally Boschian body-parts slang or the insults, including the classic "I hate you, and if a horse had brought you here, I'd hate it just as much, if not more."
Eric's Emotions is what you get when you combine a bored college kid and a webcam. He's got a list of emotions on the left pane, hyperlinked to hilarious photos of him illustrating the emotions. My favorites include: "Soylent Green is made out of people," "Fantasizing about Ricky Martin," "New Shoes!," "Han, hold on," and "Mr. Burns' Excellent Face." You can submit new emotion requests, and see his pending requests. [thanks Dan]