O-Bits: Swanning Around Edition

As if there’s not enough to worry about in the world today—our president demanding the military parade its biggest missiles, planes, and tanks down Pennsylvania Avenue for his amusement (how long before he starts measuring his suits for epaulets and designs some really cool medals to pin on his chest?), a volatile stock market, and yet another government shutdown looming—Vogue informs us that the British royal family have their problems, too. It appears that some twenty swans at Windsor Castle have died of bird flu, and David Barber, a man who can include “the Queen’s Swan Marker” on his résumé, describes this as “extremely disappointing.” A more concern for the non-swan among us is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, planned for Windsor Castle this May. Is there any chance of humans catching the bird flu from the, uh, birds? Thankfully, Vogue tells us, no.

We’ve seen quite a bit of mortuary malfeasance around here, but it still seems to us the belief that a mortuary should be a “respectful and dignified” place for the deceased pretty much defines what a mortuary is. But the BBC reports the UK government—taking time from counting the Queen’s swans, we imagine—released a report stating just that.

In Tech Crunch, Danny Crichton offers up some advice on how to project yourself from “brainjunk,” which he blames for killing the internet mind. (Given that one of the first websites anyone pointed us to was a 24-hour video camera pointed at a coffee machine at Oxford, we’re not sure it had too far to fall.) Taking a step from Michael Pollan (“The Omnivore’s Dilemma”), who boiled down his dietary philosophy to “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” he thinks the best way to keep out minds from getting cluttered with too much useless information is to “Enjoy content. Not too much. Mostly paid.” We’d like to add this: “Read Obitmagazine.com.”

Steven Mirkin

Steven Mirkin’s diverse career has taken him from politics to pop culture to high art, offering him a front row seat to some of the most fascinating events and personalities of our time: writing speeches, fundraising appeals and campaign materials for Ed Koch, John Heinz and independent presidential candidate John B. Anderson; chronicling the punk/new wave scenes in New York and London; interviewing musicians such as Elton John, John Lydon and Buck Owens; profiling modern masters Julian Schnabel, Paul Schrader and Jonathan Safran Foer; and writing for TV shows including 21, The Chamber, Let's Make A Deal, and Rock Star: INXS.

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