Archive for the 'Everyday Humor' Category
I heard Gary Shteyngart (latest book Super Sad True Love Story) at the Beijing Bookworm. No better job of authorial self-promotion have I seen. He was born in Leningrad in 1972, he grew up hearing jokes from his parents. For example: The 1980 Summer Olympics were in Moscow. At the time, Brezhnev was in charge. He was going senile. At an Olympic ceremony, he gave a speech. His hands shook holding the text of his talk.
“Ohhhhhh…..” he read.
An apparatchik ran up to him. “Senior Comrade Brezhnev, those are the Olympic Rings!”
The moderator asked Shteyngart what he thought of Putin’s plan to require every Russian teenager to read a specified 100 great books by graduation. “These things never work,” said Shteyngart. “American cities have done this. Everyone’s supposed to read a certain book, usually To Kill a Mockingbird. Never tell someone what to read.” However, he said one of his favorite authors is Karen Russell. (For a New Yorker podcast, he read a story by Andrea Lee.)
I asked about his favorite TV shows. He mentioned The Sopranos, The Wire, and Breaking Bad. “Who would have guessed that TV would become a great art form?” He is writing a show for HBO about Brooklyn immigrants.
I learned that he was interviewed by a magazine called Modern Drunkard. The interviewer — not Shteyngart — mentions an Russian saying: “The church is near, but the road is icy. The bar is far away, but I will walk carefully.” How true.
- The art and science of miso. High-quality miso from Massachusetts.
- A former BMJ editor on research misconduct. Biased reporting of research.
- Health-care CEOs are America’s best-paid executives. “John Hammergren, chief executive of McKesson Corporation, . . . took home $145,266,971 in 2010. McKeeson is . . . is the largest pharmaceutical distributor in North America. . . Ronald Williams, boss of health insurance giant Aetna, made $57,787,786 in 2010. . . . Since he became CEO, Aetna’s stock price declined by 70%.”
- “How one man got away with mass [scientific] fraud.” I agree with almost none of the opinions expressed in this article, but the facts are interesting.
- From here: Compare the number of articles written by an average physicist and an average mathematician:
- Physicist: The first announcement, the second, correction, detailed version, and the crucial error found. [5 articles]
- Mathematician: The proof. [1 article]
Thanks to Alex Chernavsky and Casey Manion.
At Christmas dinner I learned a new word:
crapeterian. n. A vegetarian who eats crap (e.g., Doritos, candy, doughnuts).
From a Berkeley professor: “On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we have budget cuts. On Tuesday and Thursday, student protests. On the weekend, police brutality.”
I visited Google New York a few years ago. In conversation, an engineer used the verb to google — just like everyone else. Slightly amusing. Today I used the verb to google in an email. Gmail told me it was misspelled! Google is okay but google is not in their dictionary. Too modest!
Last week an earthquake centered in Russia was strong enough to be noticed in Beijing. A friend of mine, a designer for Sony Ericsson, was on the 22nd floor of a 27-floor building. She felt the building sway. Everyone rushed downstairs. She was the only one carrying a laptop. Her colleagues told her she was stupid: The company owns that laptop.
A recent talk at the London School of Economics by Carne Ross, author of a book called The Leaderless Revolution: How ordinary people will take power and change politics in the 21st century, began with this:
I was preparing the talk this afternoon at my beloved cousin’s, where I’m staying. ’cause I don’t live in London anymore. She said, “How are you, Carne, how are you doing?” I said, “I’m a bit nervous, to be honest.” She said, “Don’t worry, Carne, I’ve heard lots of bad talks at the LSE.”
After the fantastic success of To Kill a Mockingbird, its author, Nelle Harper Lee, never wrote another book. She gave her last interview in 1965. A BBC documentary recently visited her hometown and recorded this:
They say if you meet her [Harper Lee] and don’t recognize her, she is not happy. If you meet her and recognize her, she is not happy.
The media in China are government-controlled. There is a 30-minute newscast every day at 7:00 pm. A friend described it to me like this:
First 10 minutes: Government officials doing their jobs.
Middle 10 minutes: Chinese people being happy. Sports, food, achievements.
Final 10 minutes: People in other countries suffering.