All you fans out there of the Daily Gimpei are no doubt aware of some of the issues I've had with Slate. Nevertheless, I do find myself visiting their site several times a day. Also, I visit my site several times a day (and from different IP addresses!). Naturally the most efficient solution would be for me to write for Slate: that way I wouldn't have to visit as many disparate sites.

Now I know what you're wondering, Slate: Why would we help you, Gimpei, when you've both mocked and shamelessly copied our site (i.e. Kaus)? What do we have to gain?

1. Slate is always looking for the next young pundit:

I am young and I often say things that bear a family resemblance to the writings of a pundit.

2. Slate expects its contributors to be masterful wordsmiths

I can use words that seem big, but are actually understood by the majority of your readership.
Readers love this because it makes them feel smart:

At the risk of sounding sesquipedalian, it really seemed like someone hit Aretha Franklin with a sartorial ugly stick at the inauguration.

I can also use words that nobody understands (even me!). This adds value to your brand by signaling to your readership that you are smarter than them, and thus worthy of being listened to:
When it comes to a Gimpei/Slate merger, I truly believe that our interests are in syzygy!

3. Slate demands contributors who can be insightful and pithy

Surely you jest, because the Daily Gimpei is nothing if not insightful and pithy:

Gimpei on twitter:

"If I really cared about what you're doing every second of the every day, I am probably stalking you. Why make it any easier for me?"

Gimpei on Barbara Kingsolver:

"If, as David Foster Wallace wrote, Updike is just a penis with a dictionary, then surely Barbara Kingsolver is just a vagina with an Almanac." DISCLAIMER: I have not read a word of Barbara Kingsolver, but come on, with a title like "The Poisonwood Bible" it just works.

4. This is the publishing business we're talking about here. You are not related to, have not gone to college with, or slept with anyone bearing any connection to Slate. Slate will never hire you, never!

It's true Slate. I am not related to you and I have never managed to get in your pants. However, I read you so obsessively that sometimes I feel like laws of space and time have been transcended and that we are alone together on a tropical beach: I in my boardshorts with hair bleached blond by the sun, you in a sleek, cut-away one piece. We exchanged the briefest of glances at the pool side bar, but what our gaze lacked in longevity was more than made up for in fiery concupiscence. And I know it may sound funny Slate, but during these special moments, I feel... No... I know that somewhere out there on the other end of the DSLAM you feel the same... Can't you see Slate? We don't have to be star crossed lovers; some stories do have happy endings!

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Rabbit well done?

by Gimpei | 23:36 in | comments (0)

We at the Daily Gimpei are nothing if not respectful of the dead. So let us all share a moment of silence for the "penis with a thesaurus".

Okay... Let us now end this moment of silence. Who actually likes Updike? I read Rabbit Run and found it mildly entertaining. I tried to read a few of his pieces on art in the New York Review of Books and on literature in the New Yorker... but they were so boring that I couldn't get more than a page in. If only he was as entertaining as a penis with a thesaurus.

P.S. If Updike is a penis with a thesaurus, there must be vagina with an almanac out there somewhere. Barbara Kingsolver perhaps?

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Say it isn't so Dr. Olken. Please, say it isn't so. The root of all evil can't be television.

What about "The Wire?" I'm sure if Indonesian peasants were spending their time watching "The Wire" instead of normal TV, their social capital would increase hugely. Think of all the extra time spent around the watercooler puzzling over whether Omar's luck will ever run out...

Except their are no watercoolers in the jungles of Java. You've won this round Olken... But I'll be back.

P.S. I actually finished reading the article and it turns out that although television watching decreases social capital and attendance at village meetings, it has no effect on the quality of governance. Take home message: Don't bother trying to change things because evil always prevails; better to spend your time watching television so that you can escape from the cruel cruel world.

Take that Olken. Little did you know I had an ace up my sleeve going by the name of... Olken!

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I'm not sure what my feelings are in terms of this opening to a travel piece:

Every language attracts a special kind of student. Spanish speakers are lazy and charming. Those who have mastered French are sometimes chic and always sybaritic. Hebrew attracts the committed; Turkish, the committed and complicated. Adventurers are drawn to Arabic, and Mandarin is for brainiacs who love a challenge—so much so that they often abandon the language altogether once they've got it down. And Japanese? Japanese speakers are serious, serious people. Of course, all languages demand tedious, diligent study, but there's something about Japanese that calls out to those who are quiet, kind, and, often, spiritual. People who would rather kneel on a tatami mat contemplating a calligraphy scroll than, say, slump on a sofa watching Gossip Girl.
There are some things I really hate about it: the heavy reliance on sweeping generalizations; the fact that I had to look up the definition of the word sybaritic (it means lover of opulence); the reference to that pox of my existence show Gossip Girl.

But, I find myself drawn to it at the same time. There's something fun about reading these sorts of broad generalizations. Stereotyping always has a certain appeal because it makes the world seem simpler and less indeterminate. Reading stuff like this is also a bit like going to a palm reader; what does the language that I speak say about me?

In conclusion, I've decided this is a good template for the lead-in to a fluff piece. I shall keep it on record and continue to collect similar devices. Once I reach a critical point, I think I should be able to design a program that automatically spits out engaging fluff pieces. I'll make millions.

P.S. Do they teach this kind of stuff in J-School (I know you've read this "anonymous" so you better respond)

P.P.S. They do in short story writing classes:
Dialogue: Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway
Narrative Structure: The Lady with the Pet Dog by Chekov
To show that creative writing isn't all formulaic: Emergency by Dennis Johnson

P.P.P.S Someone should start teaching In Dreams Begin Responsibility by Delmore Schwartz for an example of some excellent neuroticism. Since the majority of people in creative writing classes are neurotic, they should learn how to channel their disability productively.

P.P.P.P.S. Why do asperger sufferers get an official diagnosis and heaps of sympathy and not neurotics? Someone needs to create a neurotics lobby that fights for the rights of all neurotics. I nominate Woody Allen.

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I'll admit it: I am a wee bit prone to spiteful jealousy. But every so often something comes around that is just too damn good for me to dismiss with one of my withering philippics.

Take these dudes from the clip above who attached a wiimote to a skateboard allowing you to play Tony Hawk with an actual skateboard. This seems like a great way to mix exercise with fun. What I'd really like to see is some sort of contraption where the skateboard doesn't actually have to move. Instead you should be able to use your balance to change the position of the skateboard, and, with the help of some straps, jump at appropriate times.

Somebody make this; I'd buy it!

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by Gimpei | 10:07 in | comments (0)

Slate's IT dude, Farhad Manjoo just wrote this bizarre panegyric to facebook. Before going into everything that's wrong with his praise of facebook, let me just remind you, dear reader, that this computer "expert" had never heard of videolan, digsby, or mediamonkey until a month ago!

Here's an argument against using facebook: it is useless.

Everyone I know already uses email and chat. Why go through the hassle of entering one extra portal just to duplicate functionality that I already have. Also, facebook's chat technology is buggy garbage right now (but that will probably improve).

As for facebook's "social" apps, they get boring pretty quick.

Do you really care that your "friend's" status has gone from "feels like chicken tonight" to "is eating chicken and it's oh so fingerlicking good" to "got salmonella poisoning but managed to claw my way to the computer to type out this status update. Please don't blame the chicken."

How many pirates can you fight before you throw in the towel and just set up a grease monkey script to automatically level you up. And why is the pinacle in ninjadom Chuck Norris? It's ninja role models like this that turned Somalians to piracy.

Lastly, how many stupid movie quizzes can you take? It's fun for maybe a week, but then it all get's incredibly boring.

Facebook seems to me to be a lot like AOL in the early nineties: an easy way to get the computer illiterate masses on to the web. However, it doesn't really offer much apart from annoying updates from people who aren't actually your friends. I don't see why, after having found their friends and learned how to contact them, a substantial portion of facebook's users won't just move on to some other, more interesting corner of the web.

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I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. Apparently over on the continent, people have a more sensible, civilized method of keeping time: Central European Time!

It's an hour later than British Summer time, which means an hour more sunshine all the time for everybody including hourly worker Joe!

Yes, I know what you're going to say: "Gimpei, you are insane. Central European Time is for Central European countries like Germany or Poland. Despite the many Poles in the UK, the UK is not Poland so don't put us on their time."

And you are quite right, dear reader, I am insane: insane like a person who is actually sane! Consider exhibit 1 above. Both France and Spain use Central European time, and if I'm not mistaken, large swaths of Spain are actually farther to the West than UK. What's more the Greenwich meridian passes straight through France!

British people, I know you want to keep your distinct national identity; you like the fact that you drive on the wrong side of the road, that your beer is warm, and that you eat foods with strange names like spotted dick. But maybe it's time to recognize a bit of Europeaness, of the cultural values that you share with the continent, and most of all of your shared temporal heritage.

So rise up Britons; cast aside the shackles of BST. No need to go to Spain for your sun, you can get it in Britain! You don't even have to do any crazy things like join the Euro, but you should probably take the recipe for jellied eel and vaporize it in a controlled, underground nuclear explosion.

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I think the title says it all.

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OMG! OMG! OMG! It's a huge dragon made of cake, holding a twenty-sided die and sitting atop a white chocolate hoard of dubloons.

P.S. Why does the dragon look so sad and droopy? Does he know... You know... that he's going to be... eaten!

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In a recent email discussion with a friend about the state of the New York Times op ed section, he suggested that my ideal op ed line-up would be as follows:
Someone from the right... i can't figure out who...

Some friend! Excuse me while I ramble.

1) I HATE DOWD. I also hate people who write in caps, but I hate Dowd so much that she's pushed me into a caps using equilibrium. Why do I hate her? Well, it has nothing to do with the actual content of her pieces. Rather, I can't stand her writing style because it is really cutesy and annoying. Reading Dowd is like watching the opening act at a comedy club: a collection of dumb jokes that friends laugh at to be polite but that aren't actually funny.

2) Krugman is one giant pat on the back. I am bored by him. Then again, if he went back to his day job, he might start making some more economics models that seem nifty because they let you talk about human decision making in terms of mass and gravity. I know this seems insane to you, dear reader, but in fact its diverted a lot of funding away from research programs that might yield meaningful insight.

3) The Gimpei brand would be unduly tarnished by the New York Times. I get two hunder even three hundred percent increases in readership every week. Beat that New York Times.

4) Rodrik could be good, but I wouldn't know because I'm too lazy to read his blog.

5) Dholakia has no place on the New York Times. No place!

Someone from the right... i can't figure out who... Exactly! Someone from the right, who's not Kristol and who argues in good faith... Nobody's popping into my head right now.

7) There are a few people that I like. Collins is great and her writing is genuinely funny. Kristof is good too. He's like that picture of the Somalian kid on your refrigerator door. You know the kid who got a dollar a month from your parents and whenever you complained about something they would point at his/her smiling, emaciated face and guilt you into shutting up.

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Can Lynch ever do any wrong. I think not. I bet he could make an advertisement for adult diapers and still have it be good. The best part of this ad is the dancing, which is delightfully retarded as if the models were on a drug like ketamine or something. Whenever I watch this ad I can't help imagining David Lynch trying to show the models how he wants them to dance... so funny.

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