You Might Like … a Short Visit With the Rich, the Beatles, the Bard, a Slinky, Les Voisins, Witchcraft and More

This is a post in a series appearing each Friday, setting out some articles, videos, podcasts and the like that contributors at Slaw are enjoying and that you might find interesting. The articles tend to be longer than blog posts and shorter than books, just right for that stolen half hour on the weekend. It’s also likely that most of them won’t be about law — just right for etc.

Please let us have your recommendations for what we and our readers might like.

Kroutchev Planet Photo – Aarons Slim, Photographer – Aarons Slim – This high society photographer (b. 1916) took loving snaps of the rich and famous. And they loved him for it, snapping him up to accompany them to… rich and famous places.

BBC News – A Point of View: Why are the Beatles so popular 50 years on? – Adam Gopnik – Speaking of the rich and famous, Gopnik, the one-time Canadian, loves the Fab Four as much as I do — but can explain why a whole lot better. Which in turn explains why he’s rich and famous. (And for the lawyers among us: OUP’s The Beatles at EMI: The Contract, 18 June 1962 explores the issue of whether “Love Me Do” was subject to a contract.


YouTube – 14 and Shakespeare the Numbers Man – Numberphile – Even older than the Beatles, Shakespeare, too, had a dab hand at lyrics. Here Numberphile, who normally makes videos about, well, numbers, has made one about Shakespeare’s sonnet, using as a hook the 14 lines it requires. If you had forgotten how these were constructed, this is your chance to remember.

The Paris Review – Drunk Texts from Famous Authors – Jessie Gaynor – Staying with the famosity theme, we get here a bunch of imaginary text messages as might have been sent by such greats as Sappho, Gertrude Stein, and Paul Celan when in their cups. There’s also one from Dan Brown. One or two are quite clever.

The Guardian – Happiness is a glass half empty – Oliver Burkeman – To be in your cups requires cups. Starting with the Museum of Failed Products, Burkeman shows us that half empty, empty — hell, no glass at all — can lead to happiness. Money quote: “[T]here is a greater correlation between perfectionism and suicide, researchers have found, than between feelings of hopelessness and suicide.”

Dissent – Jon Yount: A Man Transformed - James Kilgore & Teresa Barnes – Yount’s failure was certainly spectacular: he murdered a student and was given life. While in prison he turned himself around, became a damn fine jailhouse lawyer, by all accounts, and acquired a group of serious supporters for his causes. Alas, this was not enough, for he killed himself recently, after authorities treated him to maximum security.

Wall Street Journal – Stealing a Watch, Made Easy – Alex Stone – Not all who sin fare so poorly, though. Stone is a magician who can have a watch off a wrist before the arm-owner know it. He explains, with diagrams, how you, too, can do it. My advice: don’t.

YouTube – Awesome HD Slinky Slow-Mo – Veritasium – This is cool. Geeky — but cool. Did you know that if you dangle a Slinky at a height and then let it go, the bottom stays absolutely stationary until the top has caught up with it? There’s even something of an explanation.

Language Log – Much ado about Montreal greetings – Julie Sedivy – Despite having been to Montreal a great many times, I never realized that there’s a set of standard greetings from shopkeepers. Guess I’m always too preoccupied with how to say it right in French. The language police are everywhere, you know.

Lapham’s Quarterly – So, You’ve Been Accused of Witchcraft… – Staff? – This flowchart takes you through the tortuous (and torturous) process followed in 1486 before they killed you. As they say, “Nous avons changé tout cela.”

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