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Things I've Found 38 (The Only Newsletter You Receive That Pays You $13.86)—3/11/2004

by Mark Rose

Screw you, record labels of America! Oh yeah, remember back in Things I've Found #28 where we discussed the class-action settlement with record labels? Basically, if you signed an online petition and stated that you had purchased a CD sometime in the last century, you were entitled to money. Well, a couple of readers, including myself, have reported receiving their check for $13.86 in the mail. Weeeee haaaaa! How many other unsolicited e-mail zines give you money? Huh? None, that's how many. This is the only free subscription that pays you to read it.

Boohbah is apparently a children's television show brought to you by the same fiendish demons who created Teletubbies. I have not seen the show. I have seen their website, and I am saved. Or blinded. Or stoned. Or something like that. Worth a bit of clicking around. http://www.boobah.com

Mindless Coordination Attack Moment: While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction and there's nothing you can do about it. Endless fun. Worth an hour or two at work for sure.

Because I love online toys, here's a weird bit of face manipulation: http://www.morphases.com.

The 1000 Fighting Styles of Donald Rumsfeld (via Instapundit). Rumsfeld needs to get his own martial arts movie: http://www.poe-news.com/features.php?feat=31845

http://www.joynk.com/cdg/ -- From loyal reader Mahalie, it's Crazy Drunk Guy! In early 1999, a very unusual man calls a Web design firm repeatedly, and the proprietor is so entertained he ends up taping the man's ramblings. What will you hear? Oh, discussions of Jack Webb (with an associated theme song that has nothing to do with Mr. Webb, listen to track #3), Worldwide Wrestling Federation, Walt Disney, Rolling Thunder Review, UFOs, investors, claiming he was the lead singer for the bands Chicago and The Kinks (!! -- my favorite band of all time; this couldn't be Ray Davies, could it? Don't answer that). It's tremendously disturbing and fun at the same time, and for those of you who have received late-night calls from me, no, it's not me. Honest.

When it's your job to arrange speeches for a meeting on global economics, you should make sure you sign up the right guy for the lectures. An Oxford engineering student is mistaken for an internationally-known author and lecturer on economics and invited to give speeches, all expenses paid, at a prestigious meeting in China. The student accepts the invitation as you can imagine. Lecture recipients none the wiser: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/02/19/nchina19.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/02/19/ixnewstop.html

Booknotes: You may want to head out to your local Borders chain. They are offering super-reduced copies of two books that you can have for a total of $20, and that you need to read and have on your shelves. These are: Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years (1-volume edition) by Carl Sandburg (yes, the poet Carl Sandburg) and Roy Jenkins' phenomenal biography Churchill (about Winston Churchill, and no, not the American Winston Churchill, the cigar-chomping, cranky bastard all Americans know and love, but to whom the Brits are rather sniffy about). Sandburg's book (written in 1926, and condensed in 1954 for the 1-volume edition) comes from a previous era of biography when sources were alluded to but not specifically noted, and there's a lot of "might haves," "could haves," and "would haves" which are no longer acceptable in the genre. But Sandburg's poetical streak infuses the text to make it readable and enjoyable once you get 50 pages in. Jenkins is simply a master biographer and storyteller and there can be no better story than that of Winston Churchill, who is like unto a god for those who stand up for what they believe in. Both books are highly recommended.

Political Correctness Gone Crazy: I normally like the site refgrunt.com, a site devoted to reference librarians and the crazy requests they get each and every day from customers. But the February 10 listing from "yoyology" is a little disturbing:

"In the Children's Department... ...I happened to overhear a woman looking at the jungle mural with her children. She asked, "Which one is the daddy lion, and which one is the mommy lion? How do you know? Should I be concerned about this woman arbitrarily assigning gender roles based entirely on appearance?"

There are two issues here. One, the woman who is looking at the jungle mural obviously has a greater grasp of lion biology than the librarian. Male lions have manes; female lions generally do not. Thus, their physical appearance distinctly calls them out as male and female lions, and there is no arbitrariness about it. This would also be apparent from a viewing of The Lion King, which mother and child presumably saw and yoyology did not. Second, what concern is it of the reference librarian's whether this woman arbitrarily assigns gender roles to two-dimensional painted representations? Keep your PC hands to yourself.

Iraqi sculptor Kalat: http://www4.army.mil/ocpa/read.php?story_id_key=5563 (If you click on one thing, this should be it.)