The Prisoners

The prisoner had been in his cell many years. Every night he lay in his hard cot and wished he could see the stars; every morning he wept for not seeing the sun. He reviled the cold gruel, served in a filthy pigge bowl, that was his only food. He cursed the bars and the stone walls. Continue reading

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The End Of Publishing

This article originally appeared on Five Thôt.

There’s a famous story about Dick Rowe and Mike Smith, two well-respected “A&R” (Artists and Repertoire) men for Decca Records, a major British label. In London on New Years Day of 1962, Rowe and Smith auditioned two talented bands. Rowe later recalled, “I told Mike he’d have to decide between them. It was up to him. He said, ‘They’re both good, but one’s a local group, the other comes from Liverpool.’ We decided it was better to take the local group. We could work with them more easily and stay closer in touch as they came from Dagenham [a large suburb of east London].”*

So Rowe and Smith offered the contract to the local boys, the Tremeloes. It wasn’t a completely foolish choice. The Tremeloes were quite popular at the time and in fact are still performing today, 50-plus years later, to enthusiastic audiences.

On the other hand, the band from Liverpool, The Beatles, went on to noticeably greater success. Rowe tried to justify the decision at the time, saying “Guitar groups are on the way out. The Beatles have no future in show business.” Thereby making himself notorious in music history. Continue reading

What’s in a name?

This article originally appeared on FIVE THôT.

Ancient Rome had running water, central heating, and representative democracy, but it didn’t have a lot of personal names. The great city had a small number of gens, noble families, and all the members of one gens, plus many of their retainers, hangers-on, even their freed slaves, used the same nomen, what we would call a surname, and there was only a small pool of prenomen, given names.

It was quite confusing. If for example you referred to Gaius Julius – that is Gaius of the Julian family – were you talking about the 3rd-century grammarian, the leader of the Batavian rebellion, or the famous statesman? Continue reading

Wait, it gets worse

I originally wrote this as part of a hoax.  I was going to post it in an online forum as if it were true and see what happened.  As I wrote it though, it became more and more pathetic and I decided that someone might believe it and feel bad for “me”.  Here it is, as fiction.

I have this friend John at work who is like a better version of me.  We started at the same job, but he was really good at it, so he got promoted.  We even look a little bit alike, he’s just better-looking and in better shape.  You’d think we would hate each other, that I would be envious and he would be disdainful, but no, he’s such a good guy that we’ve stayed friends for the nine years we have known each other.  I was still envious though; I just felt guilty about it.

Wait, it gets worse: Continue reading

What happens in Florida

… we all hear about.

The latest one is from Wesley Chapel, near Tampa. Before the 1:20 showing of Lone Survivor, an ex-cop named Curtis Reeves was pissed because the guy in the next row was texting.  Reeves went to find the manager but when he was unsuccessful, he returned to his seat and began to berate the other guy, Chad Oulson.  Oulson did not feel at all bad about texting before the movie even started and was not shy about saying so.  Reeves got angrier; Oulson laughed and tossed a handful of popcorn at him.  Reeves drew a pistol and shot Oulson in the chest, killing him.

Boy, as Ron Burgundy would say, that escalated quickly.
Continue reading