Friday Four

Friday, December 11, 2015

Editor's Note: This week's apparent theme of "hidden things" is inadvertent.

1. Playing "magic school" with Pumpkin, I had just explained one of the hazards of making a potion of silence and invisibility: "If you had an accident or needed help with something, nobody could see or hear you." (Missed chance to extol writing as the solution duly noted.)

So we waited for her potion of invisibility to wear off and made a potion of silence. "It's good for sneaking up on people, but be sure you don't need to talk to anybody first."

After a spectacular failure due to a missing ingredient, we had our potion of silence on only the second try. This she drank. She proceeded to sneak around and silently mouthed something at me.

After the potion wore off, I asked her what she was saying.

"I love you," she said, smiling.

2. BuzzFeedNews recently put out an interesting piece titled, "Looking For Tom Lehrer, Comedy's Mysterious Genius," about the fame-averse mathematician, whose comedic music has entertained generations. Here's a sample, about his Harvard days:

There, among the elite young men of his generation, Lehrer stood out for his wit and brilliance. In his room at Lowell House -- a friend, David Robinson, still recalls the room number, M31, Lehrer had a stand-up piano. Lehrer and his friends reserved the evenings and weekends for pranks, insult comedy, and Lehrer just showing off: He once played a Rachmaninoff concerto with the left hand in one key and the right in half a key below.
And if that's not enough for you, there's also an interview with Lehrer from four years ago at the The AV Club.

3. Having a lifelong fascination with maps, I really enjoyed this piece about the "Ghost Streets of Los Angeles:"
For reasons mostly related to a bank heist described in my book, A Burglar's Guide to the City, I found myself looking at a lot of aerial shots of Los Angeles -- specifically the area between West Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard -- when I noticed this weird diagonal line cutting through the neighborhood.

It is not a street -- although it obviously started off as a street. In fact, parts of it today are still called Marshfield Way. [link dropped]
I have occasionally run into stubs of former streets and, more rarely, oddly-angled buildings on the ground. Now, I'll think to use the satellite view of Google Maps to satisfy my curiosity about such things.

4. Along with a succinct (and probably correct) hypothesis as to why Google killed off its feed reader a couple of years ago, John Cook gives us, "Four Ways to Find Hidden RSS Feeds."

-- CAV


: Added correct link for ghost streets.


Unknown said...

I think that the link to the Ghost Streets article should be:

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks, Unknown. It appears that when I forget to insert a link, Blogger supplies the main link for this blog instead. Fixed.