"The Q&A column on March 10 with the travel blogger Matt Kepnes, about tips on keeping to a budget while on the road, sought his suggestions on which credit cards to use. One card he recommended was the Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express. After the article was published, editors learned that Mr. Kepnes has a business deal with a vendor for the card in which he receives a payment every time someone is approved for the card through a link on his Web site. Had editors known of this relationship, they would not have included his suggestion." (via)
Sigh (and a queasy sort of "yay!"): Here we go again. Another one of the best rap songs of the year is a threatening "beef record." Seven years ago, a pair of Atlanta drug dealer/rappers named Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy recorded a song together called "Icy." It was a big hit, but then the two had a falling out over credit. Jeezy recorded a diss record called "Stay Strapped," putting a $10,000 bounty on Gucci's "So Icy" chain. Soon thereafter, four armed men burst into the apartment of a woman Gucci was visiting. Gucci shot and killed one of them and was arrested on [...]
"The history of science has plenty of examples which teach us that our present truths are provisional. But in my opinion the present evidence shows that tarantulas do not produce silk by their feet." —That's what University of the Republic in Uruguay entomologist Fernando Pérez-Miles says. But other people who do experiments with spiders and look at their feet through high-powered microscopes disagree! People like Stanislav Gorb and Claire Rind disagree. Who is right, who is wrong? We don't know. But you probably wouldn't want to sleep over any of their houses.
“You will have to get to a point to where you surrender and it’s O.K. to die." —Arizona self-help guru James A. Ray, to participants in his $10,000 "Spiritual Warrior" seminar, on a recording played at his trial for negligent homicide. In October, 2009, three participants in the seminar, held annually in Sedona, died after it got too hot during a two-hour session in a make-shift sweat lodge. Though everyone who signs up for the course signs a waiver acknowledging the risk of death, a jury found Ray guilty yesterday of negligent homicide yesterday.
Just put on headphones and hit play on both videos. It will help you pay attention long enough to understand what Real America thinks about what's going on in Egypt and the region. (Hint: It's the rise of a Muslim Caliphate!) We don't know who first put this together—someone emailed it in last night—but it's pretty great.
For those reading about the remake of Red Dawn (and the brewing outrage over it in China!) in the Daily News or the Hollywood Reporter or the Global Times or Reuters or the New Yorker or elsewhere, Abe Sauer's original piece on the film, with excerpts from the script, can be found here.
Well, this is very disturbing. In an apparent effort to challenge his old Three 6 Mafia partner Juicy J for the title of hip-hop's "No. 1 get-high rapper," the self-proclaimed "King of Memphis" DJ Paul does so many drugs in his new video that he has a heart attack and dies. (Kids don't follow!) Calling oneself the "King of Memphis" is pretty cool, though, in that it places DJ Paul in the line of Old Kingdom Egyptian pharaohs like Menes and Djoser, under the protection of the god of carpentry and metalworking, Ptah, or "Lord of Truth."
"Our latest estimations show that for many cancers, adjusting for age, death rates are set to fall dramatically in the coming decades." —University of London cancer researcher Peter Sasieni discusses cheery recent medical science data. Meanwhile, in the field of military science, Californian airship manufacturer Aeros is designing the Aeroscraft Ballast-less Variable Buoyancy Cargo Airlift Vehicle. This looks like a super-cool spaceship that could bring food to starving people in desolate, difficult-to-reach places. But judging from the video above, which is enjoyably labeled "DO NOT COPY OR DISTRIBUTE" on YouTube, it will instead be used to bring tanks to the Antarctica for when we go to WW III [...]
Raekwon's new video might have been filmed in the basement of one of the abandoned buildings where Chris and Snoop would take people who wound up on the wrong side of Marlo on The Wire. That is a place you really don't want to be. The song describes a similar scenario. And it's graphic and horrible. But with its gorgeous beat (constructed by North Carolinian producer 9th Wonder out of an old soul song that I wish I knew but don't) and Raekwon's tantalizing rhymes, it's wonderful, too.
Delightful New York Post harridan Andrea Peyser does not disappoint today, after her bravura performance of wife-related questions at Anthony Weiner's press conference yesterday: "The gorgeous and furious Internet cuckold Huma Abedin refused yesterday to stand by her man. She did not show up to walk the plank of public humiliation, the way doormat Silda did for her whoremonger husband, Eliot Spitzer."
Meanwhile, elsewhere, if you feel like staying on with this story, because maybe you're lonely or you want to know how best not to perform your private sexy online chats, it's nice that the UK press is dealing with it as a "sexting scandal," and they [...]
"The reason for Heidi's crossed eyes is unclear, but zoo officials speculate that it might be because of fat deposits behind her eyes, caused by a bad diet early in life. The eyes might look off, but they cause the animal no pain, and don't affect her ability to get around, according to the zoo. She is, aside from her looks, a normal opossum. But those looks are the key to her new-found fame. As the song written in her honor predicts: 'Our Heidi is no model, and doesn't need blond hair, but she is already famous and soon will be a superstar.'" —Oh, man. It's totally going to [...]
Oh my, here is a review of David Shields' Reality Hunger: "To a certain kind of white writer, engaged in the increasingly professionalized and seemingly "nice" work of churning out novels, poems, essays, and reviews, the rapper DJ comes to stand for this brazen, unapologetic appropriator, regardless of whether actual rappers think of themselves as heroes of 'copyleft,' Proudhonists of the ghetto. The image of the rapper grants the writer a license to ill, even as Shields and co. implicitly deny rap lyricists any originality of their own." The idea of "remix culture" is also fascinating in light of the age of plagiarism.
Is reality TV somehow less than real? Here is David Weintraub, whose principal industry at this time is to provide tragic characters for reality TV, describing how the producers of a show called Sober House worked with former California gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey: "They took Mary Carey, they put her in a room, and they said to her, â€˜Your story's shit, Mary. Your story sucks on this show. We just paid you a lot of money, and your story sucks. Here's what you need to do to make our show better. We call Dr. Fisher, he's gonna remove your breast implants on the last week of the show, and [...]
You're not going to escape this one. According to this NASA satellite photo, the best thing to do is buy ALL the booze and cigarettes and pizza and batteries from the very nearest bodega and then just hope to Christ that Netflix Streaming doesn't go out. But it will go out, along with the power.
In positive news, it will be very beautiful after the storm. Just be careful not to step on frozen people and frozen stray pets, under the foot or three of fresh snow. What are your storm-coping tips?
"Eventually, the players were escorted to the prison soccer field, which was lit for the night. Escobar came out in sweat pants and a soccer jersey, and played left midfielder, 'even though he was right-footed.' Pareja's teammate, Carlos Alvarez, had to guard him, a most delicate job. Guard him too lightly, and Escobar would feel disrespected. Guard him too closely, and Escobar would feel humiliated. Either way, it could mean his neck. 'Don't kick me,' Escobar told Alvarez with a grin, 'because (if you do) you will stay here with us.'" —Colorado Rapids coach Oscar Pareja tells ESPN's Rick Reilly about the time he was summoned to play [...]
Here's a story about a nice lady who goes to the farmer's market and buys some fresh produce. (Warning: Not really safe for work! Also sort of terrifying and dark!)
"A week before the fatal jump, the two women spent the night in his flat, Ms. Van Doren sharing his bed while Ms. Clottemans slept on a mattress or sofa. Ms. Clottemans would have had the opportunity of sabotaging the other woman's parachutes, which were in the flat at the time, investigators say." -To avoid: formation skydiving with fellow members of a love triangle.
Richard Rushfield, the preeminent 'American Idol' scholar of our time, and author of the forthcoming Hyperion book 'American Idol: The Last Empire,' has long maintained that the television singing competition show is being destroyed by young girls. Natasha Vargas-Cooper, the preeminent scholar of tween girls of our time, and author of the forthcoming 'Mad Men Unbuttoned,' has had enough. For better or for worse, we've asked them to take their ongoing argument on the matter public.