The Best-Written Postage Stamp You Will Read Today

In 2010, Dublin was appointed a UNESCO “City of Literature.” In honor of this, a postage stamp was commissioned. When the stamp was released earlier this year, it was unlike other literary stamps. It didn’t feature a physical landmark, an illustration from a novel, or a writer’s portrait; it featured a complete, new story by Eoin Moore.

stamp-4.jpg

(Found at thejournal.ie)

The Best-Written Recall Notice for Plush Reproductive Organs You Will Read Today

uterus-hazard2I Heart Guts sells the cutest, smiliest plush internal organs you’ve ever seen. In 2008, they discovered that their plush uterus “failed a pull test.”

In response, they wrote:

The ovaries may detach when pulled, becoming a potential small part choking hazard for young children. No one has been harmed.

Three quick thoughts: 1) In or out of context, that is an awesome sentence. 2) Thank goodness the ovaries haven’t harmed anyone! And 3) I Heart Guts’s response to the situation appears exemplary, and you should check out their full array of cuddly viscera.

(Found via Mental Floss at I Heart Guts.)

The Best-Written List of Lists You Will Read Today

Click on over to the New Yorker to read all hundred of the best lists of all time. And be sure to check out all great suggestions and quibbling in the comments:

How could you leave out _____ [interrobang]. It’s a travesty that _____ isn’t top five [frowny-face]. _____ is totally overrated [cartoon sweary glyphs]. (Those New Yorker readers, just like every other readership on the internet.)

From the list:

100. Generations of Adam (Genesis)*
99. Satchel Paige’s “How to Keep Young”
96. The World Rock Paper Scissors player’s responsibility code
94. Benjamin Franklin’s “Thirteen Virtues”
90. McDonald’s Big Mac-ingredients commercial
85. Stanley Coren’s dog-breed intelligence ranking
82. Maria Kutchera’s “My Favorite Things” (“The Sound Of Music”)
78. The Sporting News’ “Rules of Scientific Heckling”
77. Van Halen’s 1982 tour-provisions “rider”
70. William the Conqueror’s “The Domesday Book”
65. Guest List, The Marriage of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales with the Lady Diana Spencer
64. Vietnam Veterans Memorial
60. Roseanne Cash’s “The List”
57. Mayflower passenger list
55. Pablo Picasso’s “Recommendations for 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art”
52. Catholic Online’s Saints & Angels database
50. U.S. Department of State’s current travel warnings
49. 1927 Yankees’ opening-day lineup
44. George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Network Television”
41. The Dewey Decimal System
39. Richard Nixon’s “Enemies List”
36. The F.B.I.’s ten-most-wanted-fugitives list
35. The Beatles’ set list, Majestic Ballroom concert in Luton, U.K., April 17, 1963
31. Dow Jones Industrials
27. The UNESCO “World Heritage List”
25. The Apollo 11 surface checklist
21. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
19. The Fibonacci Sequence
17. Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How Do I Love Thee?” (Sonnet 43)
16. Hasbro’s “2-Letter Scrabble Words List”
14. Dante Alighieri’s nine circles of Hell
11. Marquess of Queensbury Rules
9. The World Wildlife Fund (endangered) species directory
8. Alcoholics Anonymous’ twelve steps
4. The Ten Commandments
2. The Bill of Rights
1. The Periodic Table of Elements*

(Found at The New Yorker.)

The Best Written Title for a Memoir About Gravedigging You Will Read Today

http://rachaelhanel.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/hanel-cover-small1.jpg

The book is coming out in the spring from the U of Minnesota Press. Read excerpts and more at Rachael Hanel’s blog.

(Found at We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down.)

The Best-Written Description of a Soul Train Dancer Who Had a Few Hits in the Mid-1980s You Will Read Today

If Grace Jones and a drag queen had a baby, and the baby were an Hermès scarf, and the scarf could lip-synch and spin and wear a peplum frill jacket and sombrero over spandex biker pants in a way that says Alexis Carrington, Greg LeMond, and “olé!” at the same time, that baby would be Jermaine Stewart. The outfits didn’t make Stewart a thing. The hair did. He often wore it down to his chin, and it was the straightest thing about him. It was, in a word, perfect. A lot of black women lost sleep over that hair. Every time he swung it out of his face it was like a slap to theirs.

Stewart died of AIDS-related causes in 1997. Even at the peak of his popularity, you couldn’t quite believe it. His videos paired him with women, but all he wanted to do was dance. How could this and homophobia exist at the same time? That’s despite his being just a more aerobic, nightclub-friendlier descendant of the legendary Little Richard. (Little Richard would have killed for that hair, too.)

~Wesley Morris, in an article about Andrew Bynum’s hair

(Found at Grantland.)

The Best-Written High School Late Slips You Will Read Today

1. i was just really, really early for tomorrow

2. we can’t all be usain bolt

3. in this day and age, we shouldn’t need labels like “late”

6. my brother thought it would be hilarious to drop me outside the prison gates

9. my legs fell off and i had to roll all the way to the emergency clinic

12. this is just for my wall

14. it does not matter how slow you go, so long as you do not stop

16. my father left my mother for an air hostess seven years ago do you expect me to get over that emotional trauma overnight

17. sarah palin and i got into a twitter war and i couldn’t leave and let her win

18. traffic jammy jammy jam21. i was sticking it to the man

23. fifty shades of late; i was walking and then i caught the eye of an attractive member of the opposite sex and we began exchanging significant looks and i knew we would one day make sweet love so i just walked alongside him and tried to catch his eye and to be continued

24. part two he was playing hard to get so we walked and walked and he had the perfect hair colour it was sort of beige brown anyway it turned out he was walking to a bus stop so obviously i had to catch the bus because true love and silently we rode out to papakura and into the sunset

25. my meth lab caught fire

26. my bed is more comfortable than your school will ever be

27. i was sad

28. it was a nice day, so i walked leisurely

29. i had beat my younger brother for saying “swag”

30. i had to travel back to the 1950’s to ensure my birth

32. i had to stop, collaborate and listen

35. a haiku about lateness: late late late late late / late late late late late late late / late late late late late

39. i did not choose the late life, the late life chose me

40. do

41. you

42. even

43. read

44. these

(Found at lexiconophelia, along with several others.)

The Best-Written History of a Board Game You Will Read Today

Harper’s recently published a fascinating, deeply ironic account how the game of Monopoly originated. It’s early versions were a kind of “open-source” game that illustrated how destructive monopolies were, and were never copyrighted. A few decades later, Charles Darrow claimed to have invented the game and patented it, earning millions for himself and Parker Brothers corporation.

Here are a handful of quotes to give you the gist before you read the whole thing. Which you should–it’s chockablock with gameplay, history, economics, philosophy, and trivia about your favorite/least favorite board game.

The game’s true origins…go unmentioned in the official literature. Three decades before Darrow’s patent, in 1903, a Maryland actress named Lizzie Magie created a proto-Monopoly as a tool for teaching the philosophy of Henry George, a nineteenth-century writer who had popularized the notion that no single person could claim to “own” land…George called private land ownership an “erroneous and destructive principle” and argued that land should be held in common, with members of society acting collectively as “the general landlord.”

The Landlord Game’s chief entertainment was the same as in Monopoly: competitors were to be saddled with debt and ultimately reduced to financial ruin, and only one person, the supermonopolist, would stand tall in the end. The players could, however, vote to do something not officially allowed in Monopoly: cooperate. Under this alternative rule set, they would pay land rent not to a property’s title holder but into a common pot—the rent effectively socialized so that, as Magie later wrote, “Prosperity is achieved.”

Landlord's Game Board - Circa 1906In place of Monopoly’s “Go!” was a box marked “Labor Upon Mother Earth Produces Wages.”

Sometime in 1932, [Charles] Darrow copied the layout of the board, the rules of play, the property names, the deed values, and the Chance cards, and made his own version of the game. His only innovation seems to have been to claim the mantle of sole inventor. He would soon be assumed into the pantheon of American heroes of commerce. The irony was [that] before being monopolized by a single person working in tandem with a corporation, Monopoly had in fact been “invented” by many people…

(Found at Harper’s Magazine.)