HL Menken Predicted the Bush Presidency

From an article in the July 26, 1920 edition of the Baltimore Evening Sun:

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

(Thanks PVC Again)

How a Seven Letter Poem Freaked Out an Entire Nation.


On a cool autumn evening in 1965, a 22-year-old poet named Aram Saroyan typed seven letters that would amount to one of the most controversial poems in history.

Not that he knew it at the time.

It was growing late, and a waiting friend (Saroyan can’t remember his name) was getting antsy. He wanted to leave Saroyan’s little apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and head downtown to Le Metro Café where Lou Reed and The Fugs and Andy Warhol liked to hang out when they were still freaks, not superstars. But Saroyan held him off. Dead center on the sheet of paper curled in his Royal manual typewriter, he clacked out this single misspelled word:


Then they split. More than four decades after they shut the door, people are still talking about this word.

(Thanks PVC)

Learning Modern Kryptonian

Looking to learn a new language?

Here, I must give much acknowledgement and commendation to Al Turniansky for his work on Kryptonian which consisted of an alphabet of 118 characters, and served as a great inspiration for creating a “modern” version of Kryptonian – one based on the transliteration alphabet released by DC Comics in 2000. It is safe to say that without the inspiration of his work I may never have even thought of creating this new version of Kryptonian, and his Kryptonian numbers formed the basis of the modern Kryptonian number and math system, which has turned out to be an interesting and fun project in and of itself. It is with gratitude, respect, and humility that I leave this older (yet neither irrelevant nor outdated) form of the language in his capable hands as I move forward with my own version of Kryptonian.

(via SF Signal)

Why Subway Tunnels Are So Damn Hot in the Summer

From WeeklyDig:

You know how Park Street Station is an airless tomb from June to August? Just like all the other underground T stations, which are also sweltering and breezeless in summer? Well, they’re not hot because of global warming or substandard building codes of generations past. The real reason the T is stuffy and hot is the fault of modern improvements, according to Gerry O’Regan, railfan and officer of the Boston Street Railway Association.

“Back before air conditioning was popular, the tunnels used to be nice and cool in the summer,” he says. “They used to be where you went to get cold in the summertime.”

Which makes sense, because they’re underground, a place where temperatures aren’t as extreme as they are on the surface. That’s why before refrigeration, people had root cellars. That’s why small animals in deserts (and people in Australia, while we’re at it) live in burrows and dugouts. Because of this, the T tunnels were designed with an average temperature of 50-60 degrees in mind, and kept breezy with a ventilation system of vents that let air from the tunnels into the cars.

So what went wrong? Why are the once-cool tunnels now sweltering doldrums of death?

“It’s because the cars are air conditioned,” O’Regan says. “It heats the air discharged back into the tunnels, and works as a heat pump. It’s hot in summer because air conditioning is on. And the electronics in the cars and tunnels give off heat, too, which means that additional heat gets pumped back into subway. And there’s nowhere it can go.”

(via Universal Hub)