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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Build your vocabulary with fanfic

Promstuck is an illustrated Homestuck fanfic that's longer than many original works, strikingly true to the voices of its huge cast of characters, and genuinely funny (if you already know Homestuck). Every time something reminds me of Promstuck, I have to look up a favorite panel.

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The right tool for the job

When I had to do an unplanned dissection of an overheating laptop, I was pleasantly surprised that I already had the perfect tool for cracking the case in a watchmakers' tool kit. (It's the yellow tool in the photo, though that's not the actual set I have, which seems to be unavailable.) I hoped it had a cool evocative name, but it just seems to be a "watch case opener" or a "push-type opener". Instead of anxiously pulling on the plastic, trying to find the right balance between pulling the connectors free and snapping them right off, you can just run it along the crack and pop the parts free. Whoever invented this deserves a medal.

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