Portrait of a neighbor

Spiritually, too, he passed for a typical Dorimarite; though, indeed, it is never safe to classify the souls of one's neighbors; one is apt, in the long run, to be proved a fool. You should regard each meeting with a friend as a sitting he is unwittingly giving you for a portrait - a portrait that, probably, when you or he die, will still be unfinished. And, though this is an absorbing pursuit, nevertheless, the painters are apt to end pessimists. For however handsome and merry may be the face, however rich may be the background, in the first rough sketch of each portrait, yet with every added stroke of the brush, with every tiny readjustment of the "values," with every modification of the chiaroscuro, the eyes looking out at you grow more disquieting. And, finally, it is your own face that you are staring at in terror, as in a mirror by candle-light, when all the house is still.

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Behind the Candelabra

Every trip to Vegas I spent an afternoon wandering the Liberace Museum, listening to classical music embellished with trills and frills and boggling at the twin beds with the llama-fur throws. What kind of person does this? What kind of person wants to do this? And those lurid stories about the chauffeur having plastic surgery so Liberace could make love to his own dopplegänger ... how can you even wrap your mind around that? It's like maxing out your Decadence and Narcissism stats.

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Build your vocabulary with indecent exposure

The car parked next to me opens its door, but no one gets out. Since I'd just as soon not run anyone down as I leave the grocery store, I glance over and see ... some guy staring at me and masturbating in broad daylight. What a world.

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From the snailagraph to SnailNet

Atlas Obscura ran an article on an 1850s invention to transmit messages instantly via snail. Innovator Jacques Toussaint Benoît believed that two snails which had come in contact would always be connected by an invisible "escargotic fluid" which which "can be uncoiled and prolonged almost indefinitely in space without its breaking". As a result, when one snail of the pair was stimulated, a galvanic current would travel along the fluid to the other snail. (In Jake's words, it's "quantum entanglement, but with snails".)

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