Inside the Lennon/McCartney Connection

A three part article from Slate that takes a look at Lennon & McCartney’s collaborative process.

According to the conventional wisdom, their drift apart had begun. But the increased distance sometimes functioned like the space between boxers in a ring—giving more room for a powerful shot. “He’d write ‘Strawberry fields,’ I’d go away and write ‘Penny Lane,’ ” McCartney said. “If I’d write ‘I’m Down,’ he’d go away and write something similar to that. To compete with each other. But it was very friendly competition because we were both going to share in the rewards anyway.”

Friendly, but with a sharp edge. “I would bring in a song and you could sort of see John stiffen a bit,” Paul said. “Next day he’d bring in a song and I’d sort of stiffen. And it was like, ‘Oh, you’re going to do that, are you? Right. You wait till I come up with something tomorrow.’ ”

The favorite back-and-forth—who was the real genius in the pair?—looks to set one on a pedestal. But when we look closely at the back and forth, that debate’s most cherished assumptions come into question—for example, that John charged ahead with the musical avant-garde while Paul nurtured traditional elements of melody and symmetry. It’s true that John tended to stick his finger in the audience’s eye while Paul usually preferred to coo to them. John’s “Revolution 9” may be the oddest, most dissonant thing ever laid down on a big pop album and Paul’s “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude” set a standard for sweetness and formal perfection.

Hunter S. Thompson’s Cover Letter to the Vancouver Sun

From the Ottawa Citizen:


October 1, 1958 57 Perry Street New York City


I got a hell of a kick reading the piece Time magazine did this week on The Sun. In addition to wishing you the best of luck, I’d also like to offer my services.

Since I haven’t seen a copy of the “new” Sun yet, I’ll have to make this a tentative offer. I stepped into a dung-hole the last time I took a job with a paper I didn’t know anything about (see enclosed clippings) and I’m not quite ready to go charging up another blind alley.

By the time you get this letter, I’ll have gotten hold of some of the recent issues of The Sun. Unless it looks totally worthless, I’ll let my offer stand. And don’t think that my arrogance is unintentional: it’s just that I’d rather offend you now than after I started working for you.

I didn’t make myself clear to the last man I worked for until after I took the job. It was as if the Marquis de Sade had suddenly found himself working for Billy Graham. The man despised me, of course, and I had nothing but contempt for him and everything he stood for. If you asked him, he’d tell you that I’m “not very likable, (that I) hate people, (that I) just want to be left alone, and (that I) feel too superior to mingle with the average person.” (That’s a direct quote from a memo he sent to the publisher.)

Nothing beats having good references.

Of course if you asked some of the other people I’ve worked for, you’d get a different set of answers.

If you’re interested enough to answer this letter, I’ll be glad to furnish you with a list of references — including the lad I work for now.

The enclosed clippings should give you a rough idea of who I am. It’s a year old, however, and I’ve changed a bit since it was written. I’ve taken some writing courses from Columbia in my spare time, learned a hell of a lot about the newspaper business, and developed a healthy contempt for journalism as a profession.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity. If this is what you’re trying to get The Sun away from, then I think I’d like to work for you.

Most of my experience has been in sports writing, but I can write everything from warmongering propaganda to learned book reviews.

I can work 25 hours a day if necessary, live on any reasonable salary, and don’t give a black damn for job security, office politics, or adverse public relations.

I would rather be on the dole than work for a paper I was ashamed of.

It’s a long way from here to British Columbia, but I think I’d enjoy the trip.

If you think you can use me, drop me a line.

If not, good luck anyway.

Sincerely, Hunter S. Thompson

(via Kottke)

Libertarian Reluctantly Calls Fire Department

From a reputable news source:

CHEYENNE, WY—After attempting to contain a living-room blaze started by a cigarette, card-carrying Libertarian Trent Jacobs reluctantly called the Cheyenne Fire Department Monday. “Although the community would do better to rely on an efficient, free-market fire-fighting service, the fact is that expensive, unnecessary public fire departments do exist,” Jacobs said. “Also, my house was burning down.” Jacobs did not offer to pay firefighters for their service.

(Thanks Jax)

Question of the Day

What’s the best advice you can give?

OH! OH! I’ve got a few.

1. Just because you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover doesn’t mean that 99% of the population doesn’t.

2. Never judge a person by how they act when they’re in a good mood. It’s easy to get along with just about anybody when they’re happy. It’s the bad times where you can get a peek at what a person is really like.

3. If somebody asks you if you’re a god you always say yes.

About Those Chicken McNuggets

Um, yeah:

Say hello to mechanically separated chicken. It’s what all fast-food chicken is made from—things like chicken nuggets and patties. Also, the processed frozen chicken in the stores is made from it.

Basically, the entire chicken is smashed and pressed through a sieve—bones, eyes, guts, and all. it comes out looking like this.

There’s more: because it’s crawling with bacteria, it will be washed with ammonia, soaked in it, actually. Then, because it tastes gross, it will be reflavored artificially. Then, because it is weirdly pink, it will be dyed with artificial color.