Monday, March 30, 2009

The Continuing Death of Newspapers Hits Home

So I'm a week behind on this, but after picking up a Sunday edition of the Ann Arbor News yesterday, I remembered that I hadn't written anything about the paper shutting down as of July. Considering that I'm both an Ann Arbor resident who loves (or used to love) newspapers, that felt like an oversight.

What was surprising about the news was how surprising it still felt when it was actually announced. Anyone reading this who's picked up a copy of the A2 News lately saw this coming. That newspaper is but a shell of what it once was, the paper most of us grew up with and developed an affection for. And the decline has been steady for years.

The local arts coverage disappeared almost a decade ago. Reading syndicated film reviews in a town that supposedly covets quality cinema was incredibly disheartening. The paper also used to run music reviews and columns from writers that had a feel for what readers were listening to. They actually went to concerts and interviewed performers before they came to town. But those articles have been gone for a long time, too.

Even the sports page - which with the University of Michigan athletic program to cover would seemingly be the backbone of the newspaper - had dwindled to a near pamphlet over the past couple of years, with less than a handful of full-time reporters on staff. And this was a sports department that provided a springboard to national talents such as Jason Whitlock and Jeffri Chadiha.

The Michigan ice hockey team - a perennial national power in its sport - didn't warrant a beat reporter for road games. The baseball team, which had a notable run of success the past 2-3 seasons was barely noticed. Football still drew significant coverage, but the number of reporters covering games had clearly been cut, opening the door for the bigger Detroit papers to swoop in and beat them to stories.

Even the paper's top sports columnist, Jim Carty, thought so much of the paper - and his profession - that he chucked it all and went to law school last fall. (Fortunately, he's blogging like a madman, and has been all over the decline and fall of his former employer.)

And I haven't even gotten into the lack of actual news about what's going on in Ann Arbor. Stories chasing flashy concepts like commuter trains to Detroit and trolley cars downtown still get the front page, but if you want to find out what happened at city council meetings or various programs being implemented, you have to seek that information out for yourself. Granted, that's not the most exciting news, but isn't that the sort of thing a local newspaper should be focused on, rather than running syndicated articles on stories you've already heard or read about elsewhere?

When I moved to Iowa, my mother told me she and my father had decided to cancel their subscription, largely because Dad wasn't reading the paper anymore. He didn't have the energy to stay up and read the paper after dinner (the A2 News being an afternoon paper) like he used to. So the copies were frequently going from kitchen table to recycling bin untouched. Dad and I never really talked about it, but I wonder if perhaps he also felt the paper was no longer worth the effort.

Of course, when I wanted to hear what was going on back in Ann Arbor, Mom usually didn't have any local news to share. And I'd mock her for cutting herself off from the one source that might provide her with such information. But really, the paper wouldn't have given her much. And eventually, I found some of what I was looking for online. Sadly, that experience hasn't changed since I moved back here. The A2 News's website isn't bad, though the platform (imposed by corporate ownership, I imagine) doesn't do it any favors, in terms of appearance or functionality. We got what we paid for, I suppose.

The hope is obviously that the new website that rises from the ashes of the fallen A2 News provides something more than what was previously available. But other than vague promises that will be "unlike anything we've ever seen," there's not a lot to go on. With only a few exceptions (the New York Times and Washington Post, to name two big publications), newspapers haven't "gotten" the internet very well. And maybe therein lies the promise. This won't be a "newspaper," per se. It'll be an online publication.

But as Jim Carty points out (I told you his blog was good), the people in charge not only all come from newspapers, they come from the publications that have now failed. Will they have learned from the mistakes that were previously made? Will the presumed freedom of a new venture allow them to provide us with the news source we've been lacking for so long? Or will people decide they prefer what the Ann Arbor Chronicle (run by former News staffers) has been doing -and quite well - since last fall?

Ultimately, it's just sad that the print product - some local flavor, a piece of a community - is being left to die. But if papers like the Rocky Mountain News and Seattle Post-Intelligencer couldn't survive, what chance does a publication like the A2 News have? Or is that exactly the kind of newspaper that should be surviving, because it serves a smaller region and doesn't require such a wide scope? Lamenting what could've been, along with the finality of it all, is what still managed to make this announcement so impactful.

For those who know me well, this might have a whiff of hypocrisy. I've been beating the "print is dead" drum for a couple of years now among friends and colleagues, finding more prosperity (relatively speaking) writing for a sports blog than I did for a magazine that eventually failed. I made an opportunity for myself, and it happens to have worked out. But I grew up loving newspapers, and always wanted to write for one. (Hell, my very first job was delivering the A2 News.) And I still buy them, though hardly as often as I used to (maybe once a week, and usually on Sundays).

But it would be nice to actually be excited by reading a local publication again, anticipating what I might learn or what someone has to say, rather than picking one up just because I need something to read at a diner or coffee shop. Local radio looked like it was dead, but might possibly be making a comeback with WQKL and WTKA. Here's hoping the same is possible for local news.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad

The Best Heist Movie Ever Made

I love heist movies. Something about the drama and suspense that comes with putting together the big plan, depending on events to move like clockwork, adapting when those events go out of sync (as they inevitably will), and covering for every contingency is utterly appealing in a story. Of course, it's even better if the prize is monumental, or the challenge insurmountable.

This is not one of those stories.

I haven't decided which fall I like best. I think it's the second one, because that looked like it really hurt. But the first one has some depth and complexity to it, when you factor in how his head hit the floor, bottles falling onto him, etc.

But no matter what happens to this guy, at least he doesn't have to admit he was arrested for "having relations with a car wash vacuum."

(via Aaron

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Man vs. Burger... Lots of Burger

Have you heard about the Fifth Third Burger? A massive bomb (4,800 calories) of a burger that will be offered this season at West Michigan Whitecaps games? If not, here's the breakdown:

Start with an 8-inch sesame seed bun that requires 1 pound of dough and is made specially for the Whitecaps by Nantucket Baking Co. of Grand Rapids.

Spoon on nearly a cup of chili and place five one-third pound hamburger patties on top of that. (Get it, 5/3 pounds of beef for the Fifth Third Burger?)

Add five slices of American cheese and liberal doses of salsa, nacho cheese and Fritos. Top it off with lettuce, tomato and sour cream, and you have a burger that can be sliced with a pizza cutter and feed four people for $20. Jalapenos are optional.

If a single person can consume the entire 4-pound finished product in one sitting, the team plans to give him or her a special T-shirt.

(In writing about the Fifth Third Burger for Bless You Boys, I noticed that the particular ingredients have changed since the burger was first announced. The incarnation that's now being promoted actually seems less disgusting. Maybe someone stepped in and said, "Whoa! Do you want to kill somebody? Take the Spam off that thing!")

But now, we have actual video evidence of someone eating the thing. Well, at least he took a bite or two of the burger. (Maybe we'll have to wait for Adam Richman to truly take this monstrosity on for "Man vs. Food.") I figured at least one or two people tried it, for quality control purposes or whatever, but this man was told he's the very first.

Ladies and gentleman, CNBC's Darren Rovell.

If Rovell (who named this the Minor League Concession Item of the Year) was trying to impress Erin Burnett, I think he may have failed. Or maybe she digs that sort of thing. It was kind of hard to tell, though she didn't seem as revolted as one might expect. I'm also surprised Jim Cramer didn't try to tear into that thing himself. Maybe he did, after Rovell was done talking about it.

You can see more at Rovell's blog.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I might be ready to become a vegetarian. (Or watch Padma Lakshmi eat a big burger instead. Mmm... Padma.)

(via Big League Stew)

Shellhead vs. Little Dragon

Couldn't you use one minute (actually, more like 50 seconds) of awesome today? That is, if you haven't already seen this...

Not a surprise, really. If Bruce Lee could take down Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, what chance did Iron Man have? (Spoiler alert, if you didn't actually click on the video.)

If 10-year-old Ian had access to a video camera and super-cool action figures like Iron Man and Bruce Lee, he might have tried to do something like this. Of course, it wouldn't have been any good, and he would've run out of patience after the first 10 stop-action poses. But he might have tried.

And I just found out Bruce Lee's gravesite is in Seattle. That might have to be added to the itinerary when I visit in May. That is, if Mis Hooz will abide.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Detroit Tigers Lose a Legend

[The following post ran earlier today at Bless You Boys.]

We have terribly sad news in Tiger Town today, as Hall of Famer George Kell passed away at the age of 86. According to reports, he died in his sleep early this morning at his home in Swifton, Arkansas.

Kell was a 10-time All-Star, six of those honors coming during his years with the Detroit Tigers (1946-1952). He also played with the Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, and Baltimore Orioles in a 15-year major league career.

Perhaps his most sterling achievement as a ballplayer was beating out Ted Williams for the American League batting title in 1949, edging him out by mere percentage points. Kell was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983 by the veterans committee.

Kell was a third baseman almost exclusively throughout his career. And he pretty much remains the gold standard for that position in Tigers history. Just the other day, The Daily Fungo posted an item about the team's all-time third basemen, and the list is basically Kell and everyone else. (No offense to Aurelio Rodriguez.) The Spot Starters had him ranked #24 on its list of Top 100 Tigers.

I imagine most everyone reading this, however, remembers Kell more as a broadcaster for the Tigers from 1959 to 1996. And from 1975 to 1996, he was the team's television play-by-play man with Al Kaline. With all due respect to Ernie Harwell, for those who grew up watching the Tigers on TV, Kell was the voice of baseball, the voice of summer.

As a kid developing into a baseball fan, I remember being fascinated when my father told me that Kell once played for the Tigers. The whole idea seemed so amazing to me. I think it was my first realization that there was a history to the game, so much bigger and richer than what I was watching on TV.

And if you'll indulge my sharing one more memory - this one much more recent - the first thing I thought of when I heard the news of Kell's death was a phone call I got from the Fungo's Mike McClary. He'd just gotten in touch with Kell to do an interview on The Detroit Tigers Podcast, and it was like talking to a kid on Christmas. I could almost imagine Lil' Mikey's feet dangling off the couch while sharing the big news.

You can find that interview here. Mike just re-posted it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Blanket and a Napkin - with Sleeves!

If only I could've gotten one of these before spending hours in front of the TV watching college basketball over the past few days.

(from Real Time with Bill Maher)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Michigan-Clemson in Two Minutes

This was probably the most fun I've had on a Thursday night in quite a while.

Watch CBS Videos Online

CBS is really doing a good job with its online component to the NCAA Tournament, by the way. At one point yesterday, I was watching my computer as much as the television.

I'm pretty sure I pulled something when Manny Harris got that three-point play with 37 seconds left to give Michigan a 61-57 lead. Getting too old to jump up so quickly from a prone position like that.

Next time, I'll make sure I stretch out first. I'm just happy I get to watch Michigan play again on Saturday.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Return of Michigan Basketball

11 years is a long time to wait. That's how long it's been since the University of Michigan men's basketball team participated in the NCAA championship tournament. The long, joyless drought ends tonight at 7:10 p.m. EST when the Wolverines play Clemson.

College basketball hasn't been fun around here in a long time. As exciting as it was to see Michigan win a bid on Sunday to the tournament (maybe a little more exciting than it had to be, as CBS really made us sweat by waiting until nearly the end of the selection show to announce the Wolverines had made it), it'll be even more fun to watch John Beilein's crew play a meaningful game tonight. Go Blue!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Talking Tigers on BlogTalkRadio

After a false start last week, Seth Stohs rounded up a handful of bloggers for an AL Central season preview on his BlogTalkRadio podcast.

We covered all of the notable Detroit Tigers stories from Lakeland this spring, including the competition for the fifth starting pitcher, the rise of rookies Rick Porcello and Ryan Perry, and the health of Joel Zumaya.  And as one of my regular readers already called me on, I made my predictions for the order of finish in the AL Central.

Thanks again to Seth for inviting me on his show.  We might chat again during the season when the Twins and Tigers play each other.  I encourage you to listen to the entire podcast, as you'll learn what's going on with each of the Tigers' division rivals.

You can listen to an embedded audio clip below or download the file from the accompanying link.


Brian Fellow vs. The Parrot

With Tracy Morgan reprising his Brian Fellow character last weekend on Saturday Night Live, Hulu brilliantly (and thankfully) posted a past "Safari Planet" skit.

I'd say that was the best one Morgan ever did, but I don't remember all of them. However, I do remember this one because The Rock was in it (playing a guy named "Denny McLain" from the Detroit Zoo), and because Brian Fellow yells at a parrot. That's crazy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Talkin' Tigers with SethSpeaks.Net - Take Two

This didn't work out last week, but Seth Stohs of says he's ready for his AL Central preview show, so I'm scheduled to talk some Detroit Tigers baseball on his Minnesota Twins Weekly Podcast tonight on BlogTalkRadio. The broadcast will begin at 10 p.m. EST. I'll be on approximately 10 minutes after the hour.

I'm not sure who the other AL Central bloggers will be, but we'll be talking for about 10 minutes apiece on our respective teams. That should be enough time to bring up how many BYB readers hold serious grudges toward the Twins, right?

You can listen to the show at, but if you miss it, a download of the show will be available later on for you to peruse at your discretion.

Once again, the show begins at 10 p.m. EST. Hopefully, you can tune in. Thanks to Seth for inviting me.

Today's Photo - 03/17/09

After seeing all the students walk around campus with green t-shirts and beads, I was getting thirsty. And wouldn't you know, my fridge was fresh out of Diet Coke?

Happy St. Patrick's Day. I wonder if I can interest any of my neighbors in some beer pong?

Happy St. Patrick's Day from Jim Leyland

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland waves to us, just in time for Green Beer o' Clock. (Of course, that may have been this morning for most some of you.)

I really should've picked up one of those green Tigers hats. Even if I'd wear it only once a year.

Happy St. Patrick's Day. Be good out there.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How is Tracy Morgan Not on Animal Planet?

When I saw that Tracy Morgan was returning to Saturday Night Live to host, I had only one wish for the episode: A "Brian Fellow's Safari Planet" skit. Thank you, SNL.

Why I think this character is so funny, I don't know. When I've tried to explain Brian Fellow to someone who hasn't seen it, I get blank stares in return. But somehow, Tracy yelling "I'm Brian Fellows!" to the camera just hits that funny bone. That's crazy!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Today's Photo - 03/15/09

Winter is definitely over when the Dairy Queen on Packard opens for the spring.

Actually, I think it opened on March 2, when it was cold as hell outside. Not much of a line then. You can't see it in the photo, but there was quite a line at around 4:30 p.m. today. And everyone was in a good mood.

(Oh, and I'm sure you wanted to know: I got a small Heath Blizzard.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Even Lex Luthor Needs a Bailout

When the greatest criminal mind of our time (well, at least in 1978) can't even afford to bankroll another fiendish scheme to destroy Superman, you know our economy is really struggling.

Maybe you need one of those Congressional hearings, Lex.

And a nice bald wig on Jon Hamm there, eh?

Perhaps this was also a tip of the cap to those in the geeksosphere who think he'd make a fine Superman whenever another one of those movies gets made. (I think I'd count myself among that group, though he might be a big too old for the role now. Seems crazy to say when Hamm's career is just catching fire, though.)

(via Geek Tyrant)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

No Podcast Tonight

UPDATE (9:30 p.m.): I've been out all day, and unfortunately, didn't get a chance to check my e-mail until just now. The podcast has been postponed for tonight. We'll probably do an AL Central roundtable of some sort next week. Apologies for the mix-up, and if you were planning to listen tonight, thank you.

# # #

Apparently, I just can't get enough of talking to people about the Detroit Tigers. (Or I just love hearing myself talk.) Seth Stohs of invited me to appear on his Minnesota Twins Weekly Podcast tonight on BlogTalkRadio. The broadcast will begin at 10 p.m. EST.

I'm not sure who else is scheduled to appear, but I believe Seth will be talking to bloggers who cover Minnesota's rivals in the AL Central division. (I should probably bring up how many readers at Bless You Boys hold serious grudges toward the Twins, right? That could make things interesting.)

You can listen to the show at, but if you miss it, a download of the show will be available later on for you to peruse at your discretion.

Once again, the show begins at 10 p.m. EST. I'm not yet sure when I'll be on, but I was told to call in by then, so maybe we'll start talking about the AL Central right away. Thanks to Seth for inviting me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Most Famous Jay Buhner and Ken Phelps Have Ever Been

In a post I'm writing for tomorrow at Bless You Boys, I made a reference to Frank Costanza's infamous question to George Steinbrenner while the New York Yankees owner was presumably giving him bad news about his son. This is one of my favorite Seinfeld moments.

Just in case you were wondering why I'd post this video.

After seeing that, I sometimes used to fantasize about Tom Monaghan coming to my house and my father asking him how he could trade John Smoltz to the Braves for Doyle Alexander Of course, I also would be dead (or believed dead) in this scenario, so it didn't hold a lot of appeal to me.

If You Ever Need to Ditch 3 1/2 Pounds of Carrots...

Is this video demonstrating the power of new toilet flushing technology fascinating or a little bit disturbing? I mean, really - how often is some of this stuff used to demonstrate flushing capacity going to find its way into your toilet?

null - Watch more free videos

After watching that, I'm reminded of shopping for new toilets last year as we suddenly had to remodel both of our bathrooms. The salesperson at Lowe's was raving about a toilet that could flush 10-15 golf balls. ("It does! I've tried it!")

While I appreciated that capability, I also wondered what I could possibly produce in the bathroom that would be the equivalent of a bucket of golf balls. Instead, maybe I should be thinking of incriminating evidence that I may need to dispose of someday. Maybe the next demonstration of toilet technology will have a foot sticking out of the bowl as someone tries to push it in, like with the woodchipper in Fargo.

(via Thompson on Hollywood)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Talkin' Tigers on the Radio: Spring Training Spectacular

I was invited onto "The Benchwarmers" last night to talk Detroit Tigers and Spring Training on Toledo's WSPD (1370-AM). They gave me the thumbs-up to post some audio from last night's show, so here's a clip of my appearance. (I'm glad I got a chance to use that recording software again.)

The second hour of the show was their "Spring Training Spectacular," and we discussed how the team is looking so far, what important competitions remain (especially among the pitching staff), and whether or not some players can rebound this season.  (Adam Van Arsdale from SB Nation's Cleveland Indians blog, Let's Go Tribe, was on later to discuss the his team's chances in 2009.)

Thanks to Jim Kushlan for inviting me onto the show, especially while the Toledo area was under a tornado warning.  Somehow, the idea of people listening to some baseball talk while seeking shelter in their basement isn't entirely comforting.

You can listen to an embedded audio clip below or download the file from the accompanying link.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

If Barack Obama Got Angry

If you didn't catch Saturday Night Live last night, you missed Rahm Emanuel's fantasy about Barack Obama. (Actually, I think this is a fantasy many people share. And I'm not just saying that because my borderline man-crush*, The Rock -who got himself a feature in the Sunday New York Times - is involved.)

Gee, I think I'd like the president when he's angry.

I was going to call that Rahm Emanuel's wet dream, but I'm betting that'd involve him doing the smashing and throwing himself. And Andy Samberg's Emanuel continues to be hilarious.

* Why "borderline"? Because I wouldn't go to a movie just because The Rock is in it.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Rorschach Test

Tomorrow is the big day. Watchmen hits theaters, and I'll probably be catching a matinee. (I don't think I can do the midnight showing tonight for a near-three hour flick.) I'm at that point I often get to with movies like this, where I can't take any more hype.

I can't watch any more trailers online, I can't watch any more "sneak peeks" on TV, and I can't read any more reviews. (Though I've really enjoyed's video interviews with cast and crew.) And though Alan Moore's writing has brought great joy to my life over the years, I really don't give a shit what he thinks about his work being adapted because he's just trying to piss on everyone's parade.

I just want to see the damn thing.

At some point, probably when I'm sitting in my seat before the previews begin, I'll wonder if I've set myself up to be disappointed by getting so excited. (I read through the book one more time this week, which was probably a bad idea.) But really, Iron Man and The Dark Knight cooked a lot of that angst out of me. And I know by the time that WB logo hits the screen, I won't even care about that stuff because I'll still be in disbelief that a Watchmen movie has really been made.

In the meantime, however, I'll occupy myself with more promotional material, such as this video of the special effects used to create Rorschach's mask. So cool!

I can only hope we'll get a similar video detailing the work that went into creating Dr. Manhattan's big blue schlong, my favorite description of which is Cinematical's "dangling like a participle with no tomorrow."

♦ I can't post that Rorschach "Obamicon" image, without giving proper credit to the artist, Warren Hart. You can buy t-shirts with the graphic here.

♦ All the Watchmen footage released online, edited into one clip? Here you are. has a new interview with Alan Moore.

♦ What would a Watchmen Saturday morning cartoon have looked like?

Cross The Daily Show at Your Peril, CNBC

I thought David Letterman was glorious when he was cranky. Do not get on Jon Stewart's bad side, ladies and gentlemen. (Though I suspect he and his staff have had a rant against CNBC brewing for quite some time. Nine minutes of material?)

No one likes to have their plans canceled. Doing it to someone with the bully pulpit of a TV show, however, is probably a really bad idea.

So how soon before CNBC tries to send Erin Burnett or Maria Bartiromo over as an olive branch?

(Meanwhile, the stock market continues its plunge toward Shitsville as I write this.)

Bitten by Bittman

I've spent a lot of time reading Mark Bittman's blog and columns, viewing his video podcasts, trying out his "Minimalist" recipes in my kitchen (all available at, and watching him traipse around Spain with Mario Batali and Gwyneth Paltrow. He's also influenced my eating, cooking, and shopping habits quite a bit in recent months. (As has, of course, our dear vegetarian friend Mis Hooz, over the years.)

So I was pretty geeked to see him on The Colbert Report Tuesday night to promote his new book, Food Matters.

Enthusiasm is a dish best shared, don't you think?

And now, Bittman's on Twitter, too. Maybe I can get some ideas for dinner tonight from that.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Team Venezuela = Average Joe's?

We try not to double-dip between blogs too much, but I thought this post from Bless You Boys might play well here, too.

For those non-baseball fans in the crowd, countries from around the world are taking part in an international tournament called the World Baseball Classic. And many major league players have just left their teams to participate. There's a distinct Detroit Tigers flavor to the Venezuela squad, with four of them playing for national pride. Yesterday, with the team taking the field for the first time, photos were released of their uniforms.

Here's a picture of Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez sporting the national togs:

As soon as I saw the uniforms, I started to get an itch in my brain. They looked so familiar to me, yet I couldn't quite place them. Then sometime after dinner, it hit me: They're the same outfits that Average Joe's wore in Dodgeball. Take a look for yourself. Now batting, Peter LaFleur:

As Pepper Brooks might say, "It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for 'em."

(Either that, or he'd say, "Effin' A, Cotton, Effin' A!")

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Today's Photo - 03/03/09

I was going to snap a photo of the pothole problem on my street, which offically grew out of control this week, with at least eight problematic, rim-bending crevasses.

Fortunately, it appears that someone either contacted the city of Ann Arbor about the problem or perhaps waste removal crews complained that one of their trucks was almost damaged by these things. As of this morning, the holes were patched up.

So I didn't get the picture of a deep, tire-swallowing pothole that I wanted. Snooze, and you lose. I guess a smoother, less obstacle course-like drive will have to be a consolation.

Shaking a Fist at Twitter?

I've had a few conversations with friends and colleagues about Twitter lately, some of whom feel "it's stupid" or they don't really get it. My response is that the mistake is to think that Twitter is just for one thing. It's what you make of it: A microblog, a RSS feed for your blog, a news feed for you, a social outlet to share experiences (like the inauguration or Oscars), a communication tool with other bloggers, networking with people in your field, etc.

However, I'm not sure that answer would do much for Jon Stewart.

Of course, Twitter has that sort of "trendy" vibe, and I think that's what puts some people off of it. And when politicians, journalists, and broadcasters adopt it to look cool, doesn't that make it the opposite of cool? (I do believe, however, that some of those people are sincere about using as a communication tool.) But maybe I'm the wrong guy to talk to about this, because I love Twitter.

By the way, if you really are curious about Twitter and looking for a good explanation, I recommend two videos that Steve Isaacs posted as sort of a primer. (His vlog is worth a regular stop, anyway. Unlike, say, Samantha Bee's pretend one.)