Saturday, April 18, 2009

diversions

On my way to changing my billing information for the New York Times (to remove my Bank of America credit card—more on that in another post ... ) I saw the link to TimesMachine. I’d received an email about this about a month ago, informing me that, as a NYT subscriber, I’m can use the TimesMachine for free ... I didn’t check it out because, at the time, I didn’t have the time.

“TimesMachine can take you back to any issue from Volume 1, Number 1 of The New-York Daily Times, on September 18, 1851, through The New York Times of December 30, 1922.” Oh dang, not the dates I’d really like to look up, but quite a treasure trove anyway. You pick a date, and it displays the paper as it looked the day it was published. You select the page you want to look at and it displays it larger. “Interesting,” I thought to myself, “but I can’t read it.” But, mousing over a story pops open a little window that displays the title and first few lines in a type size I didn’t have to squint at. And at the bottom of that summary is a link to the full article, which is contained in a PDF file. Very cool. I don’t know why a subscription is needed for this—it’s not something people would likely pay for unless they were doing historical or genealogical research, I think. Maybe I’m wrong.

I initially looked up September 13, 1898, because that is my paternal grandmother’s birthday—ah, the Spanish-American War was going on at this time. Then I switched to September 14 because I realized stuff that happened on her birthday wouldn’t show up until the next day (oh I’m so spoiled by the Internet!) and read an account of a gruesome murder in Bridgeport, Connecticut where an attractive but somewhat emaciated young woman was tossed into the river under the Bridge Avenue Bridge (I think that’s what it was) after being cut up into several pieces. Very tidy cuts they were, with the Bridgeport PD deciding it was done by a surgeon. The theory was she didn’t survive an operation and was cut up and tossed away, with the implication that the operation was an abortion—why else would a botched operation need to be hidden? They had not identified the victim at that time, though they did rule out a couple of women who might have been the victim—it was all quite interesting and I would love to see if they ever did solve the mystery—but not today.

No, for today, there’s a much better time sink. And that is DeepLeap: The Fast-Paced Time-Wasting Word Game. Letter tiles drop on to a rack, 75 per game, and the object is to spell as many words as you can from the tiles before they get displaced. Kinda like Tetris, but with words, and you can’t pay attention to anything else while you’re doing it like you can with Tetris—it’s so, I don’t know, seductive? Good way to stretch the ol’ brain before beginning the day. Wish there was a way to pause the game.

Like I said: diversions.

posted by lee on 04/18/09 at 04:27 PM

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