Sunday, April 21, 2019

Internet Wading for April 2019

President William Henry Harrison (ca 1841)
So, after an unplanned break, and some not-very-interesting technical problems, Internet Wading is back, and it’s a mixed bag, as usual. First up, some pop music.

A piece in The Guardian, “Giorgio Moroder – his 20 greatest songs, ranked” has pretty obvious subject. I don’t actually know a lot of the songs the article talks about, and I think that calling the soundtrack to Metropolis “overblown” is somewhat unfair, but “Arthur’s Law”, and all that.

Another article talking about music that was more peripheral for me was “Deciphering the Mystery of Joy Division” in The Atlantic. I had only one Joy Division song, on a compilation of songs from MTV’s 120 Minutes, which was one of my favourite TV shows back in the 1980s. The song was “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, which was released in June 1980. Wikipedia describes it very matter of factly: “Its lyrics were inspired by lead singer Ian Curtis's marriage problems and frame of mind before his suicide in May 1980.”

I was much more familiar with, and a fan of, Joy Division’s successor band, New Order. I bought several of their albums—and later re-bought them through iTunes.

Speaking of pop culture, and consumerism, I was intrigued by “Welcome to my high-fashion, trash shopping mall”, a story about “a stylish shopping mall in Sweden, where everything is second-hand.” That concept is intriguing—and a way to close the final loop in reusing stuff rather than burying it in a landfill. Here in New Zealand, we have much lower-key shops around the country located at a few tips (“dumps” in Americanese), and technically called “waste transfer stations”. One such example is “Tipping Point”, the shop at Waitakere (West Auckland). It was only re-named that last year, and is a pun. It’s also a good example of what can be done.

Language and food? Why not? “Foreign Foods You Might Be Pronouncing Wrong”. And, just by the way, mostly I’m not. Well, not the ones I know, anyway, but maybe a couple others that have different local pronunciation here.

Speaking of language, “Did German almost become America’s official language in 1795?” I couldn’t possibly spoil the story, but we all know what language “won”.

Speaking of US history, “’His Accidency’: The first president to die in office and the Constitutional confusion that followed” tells the story of President William Henry Harrison, the ninth president, who died a month after his inauguration, and the man who succeed him,Vice President John Tyler. I grew up hearing my mother talking about their 1840 presidential campaign slogan, “Tippecanoe and Tyler, too”, so I was pre-disposed to learn the story. These days I bet most Americans don’t know it.

And finally, a little science: “Snapshot of extinction: Fossils show day of killer asteroid”, though we all know that, er, um, certain people will dismiss this story out of hand. Doesn’t mean it’s not true, of course. And, sharing stuff that certain people will dismiss out of hand is just part of the service I provide. You're welcome.

That's enough wading for now. Water's getting cold.

The photo of President William Henry Harrison is by Albert Sands Southworth (American, 1811–1894) and Josiah Johnson Hawes (American, 1808–1901). Edited by: Fallschirmj√§ger [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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