On my ostensibly kind face

Famous people I don't recognize get excited.

A drunk person makes everyone happy.

This morning I took my breakfast at the Press Box, as is my wont. I was talking to my server about her sister’s novel when a drunk man interrupted us, waving a beeper. He was wearing a Carhartt jacket and a human costume one size too large, which turned out to be his skin. He had the outgoing cheer of a person still up from the night before and the repetitive speech patterns of the more serious partier.

“Oh yeah?” he said, in response to the server’s claim that her sister lived in the Bay Area. “What’s this?” He waved the beeper closer. “What is this?”

“A beeper!” I said. “That’s amazing.”

It did not sound convincing to me, but he was fully convinced. He talked to me for a long time. He never felt like what he was doing was inappropriate, and when finally I rose to flee he thanked me for appraising his beeper and shook my hand.

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Oh whiskey, you’re the devil




I shan’t insult you by explaining who the Pogues are, but I will observe that A) even they were not immune to early-eighties album art design and B) 27 year-old Shane MacGowan, at right, looks eerily like my brother. Unfortunately for MacGowan—and incredibly fortunately for Brooks—they now look very different. The Irish are not a handsome people, and we do not shepherd what beauty we have into old age. In MacGowan’s case, heroin and excessive drinking—he famously stopped singing during the first song of a 2002 concert at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre to vomit on fans in the front row—conspired with a weird nationalist/intellectual refusal to brush his teeth to make him look like, well, everyone he ever sang about. “I’m completely Irish,” he told the Guardian in 2001, by way of explaining why he had arrived at his interview holding a bottle of gin. This interview took place at a bar.

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Precommitment devices, Eva Longoria, Sartre

You could have done worse, Tony Parker.

Slate runs three kinds of articles: (1) timely analyses of news items that appeared on Gawker four days ago, (2) Would This Statement Attract More Readers As a Question?, and (3) essays on subjects that the author happens to have just published a book about. For my money, category (3) is the most interesting, since if there’s one thing I like more than reading a book, it’s talking about a book I haven’t read. I was therefore thrilled to encounter Daniel Akst’s report/essay/plug about precommitment devices—not because it’s tremendously insightful or fun, but because it draws attention to two important issues facing society: Jean-Paul Sartre’s construction of vertigo and Eva Longoria.

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Reality versus what we claim to want

The Situation and Professor Plumpers from MTV's Jersey Shore, the highest-rated television show among viewers aged 18-49. Those are possibly not their real names.

Depending on how many Facebook photos exist of you holding up a sideways peace sign,* you probably bring a varyingly complex level of irony to Jersey Shore. The MTV reality show is currently the top-rated television program among Americans 18-49, which makes it perhaps the most valuable commodity on television. Americans aged 18 to 49 buy stuff, as Situation and Professor’s decision to wear necklaces and bracelets to the beach indicates. According to the New York Times, 15 of the 20 top-rated shows for that age group this summer were unscripted—America’s Got Talent, Big Brother, The Bachelorette, So You Think you Can Dance, et cetera. That’s interesting, since in a TiVo poll reported in the same article, reality television was also the genre that the most respondents called “overdone.”

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