Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dying words and pickup lines

Lots of lists today, a list of lists:

1. Flavorwire lists 25 pickup lines that someone can use on Alikewise, the dating service that matches people based upon their reading tastes.

(Yes, that’s right, Tricia. They have a dating site where they base compatibility on literary preferences.)

My favorite line — I finished Infinite Jest. Wanna bone?

Others might prefer the more subtle — I would endure a Dan Brown novel, if that’s what it took, to win your heart.

2. Kevin Kelly solicited recommendations for the best magazine stories ever. None of the stories I recognized were surprises, a lot of Hunter S. Thompson, David Foster Wallace and Jon Krakauer.

“Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” by Gay Talese received the most nominations. (Once again, no shock. I’m actually a magazine journalist major masquerading as a newspaper man. I was assigned to read “Frank Sinatra” at least four times during my undergrad.)

Talese’s story is as good as the hype would lead you to believe. It deserves a post of its own, but I’ll just give you two thoughts.

-I didn’t remember (if I ever knew) that the young hipster Sinatra upbraids is Cleveland-born, former Painesville resident Harlan Jay Ellison. With Pekar dead, one could make a strong case for Ellison as the best living writer from Cleveland.

-The bravery and honesty with which Talese tackles Sinatra makes me wish his treatise on the mafia, Honor Thy Father, had been better.

The coolest thing about Kelly’s list is that he took the time to link to each of the individual stories. Don’t visit his site unless you have an hour or two to fill.

3. The Guardian has accumulated some writers’ famous last words.

Anton Chekhov has the best line.

“It’s a long time since I drank champagne.”

4. Slate recommends books for incoming college freshman. (Mencken on Mencken, hell yeah!)

5. Not a list. Not even book related. But it involves Ron Artest and that’s all the excuse I need.

Artest interviews himself for ESPN magazine. Say Queensbridge!

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