1. Do you know what happened to Adam Boyle? Because I have no idea. I don’t even know who he is. All I know is that back in 2005 he wrote a series of fantastic articles for the online magazine Nerve that consistently cracked me up.
2. He seemed to have disappeared throughout 2006 and then made a brief comeback in the summer of 2007. And since then: nothing.
3. In researching this, I came across a couple of slightly earlier, political pieces he wrote for Nerve, including the obvious prototype for his “29 Thoughts” series: Fifty-One Thoughts on the Apparent Sexiness of John Edwards, published in October of 2004. A month later, he came up with Hannity and Colmes: The Undiscovered Tapes, and after that he moved away from politics to the pop culture beat, where he found his groove immediately with 29 Thoughts About the Apparent Sexiness of Conor Oberst.
4. That one, the Conor Oberst one, is probably the best. It must be tough to peak early. Like Jay Farrar with “Whiskey Bottle.” That song was on the first Uncle Tupelo album. Has he ever written anything better than that song? Great songs, tons of them, but better than “Whiskey Bottle”?
5. Boyle’s next piece was about the Super Bowl. But he still spent half the article talking about music.
6. Like this: “16. If you hated Paul McCartney, whom would you have suggested as an alternative? It’s not like they’re booking the Arcade Fire, fancypants.” Remember when Arcade Fire was a big deal? Time flies on the internet.
7. I mean, shit, this stuff was almost five years ago. And it existed exclusively on the internet. This was before YouTube. Can you remember life before YouTube? I can’t.
8. The next couple were about movies: Sideways and Oscar Night. There were some good lines in there, but I don’t really watch movies. I say that now, but I guess I must’ve watched movies back in 2005 because I saw all the ones he’s talking about. Sideways, Jerry Maguire, Royal Tenenbaums, Life Aquatic, Ghost World, Lost in Translation, Ray, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Dang, that’s a lot of movies. But those might be the last movies I’ve seen.
9. Who’s got time for movies? Every couple of years I re-join Netflix and then quit after a couple of months of the DVDs sitting on top of the DVD player.
10. For his fifth column in the series, Boyle switched it up by writing 29 Thoughts About the Absolute, Categorical Unsexiness of the Michael Jackson Trial. That’s kind of a shark-jump there, reversing your whole deal that early in a column’s life.
11. But despite the too-soon switcheroo, that column is still really good. And I’m still really sad about how Michael Jackson’s life ended up. The 21st century did not do him very well. I haven’t seen This Is It. I’d kind of like to, but I don’t really watch movies. Anymore.
12. 29 Thoughts on the Apparent Sexiness of Britney Spears‘ Pregnancy is next if you use the “Next 29 Thoughts” link at the bottom of the Michael Jackson piece. But according to my research, 29 Thoughts on the Apparent Sexiness of Desperate Housewives was actually published between them.
13. How’s that for investigative journalism?
14. The Britney one contains one of my all-time favorite Thoughts: “5. Gwen Stefani exhausts me. Eighth graders don’t spend that much time trying to be cool.”
15. The Housewives one talks a lot about Melrose Place. I loved that show. We used to have friends over for “Melrose night.” Do people still do that? Get together to watch TV? I’m not talking about just being over at somebody’s place and watching TV. But actually going over to someone’s house in order to watch a show together. Don’t feel obligated to invite me. I’m just curious.
16. By April, you could tell that maybe he was running out of gas. The 29 Thoughts About the Apparent Sexiness of the New Pope was pretty weak.
17. But then he rebounded in May with 29 Thoughts on the Apparent Sexiness of the iPod and everything was awesome again! Hurray. That one contained at least three Thoughts that I still quote (or at least think about) from time to time.
18. For example: “12. If your life sucks right now, go onto the Apple Music Store and spend 99 cents for a Train song. See, now your life is worse.” Remember Train? Me neither.
19. And: “23. Sometimes you look at someone’s iPod playlist and it tells you a lot about their past. Like: Whoa, you must have smoked a shitload of pot in high school.”
20. But the best is this one: “24. I have no opinion on Coldplay. And I think that’s their problem.”
21. Apparently, he used up all his good ones, because 29 Thoughts About the Apparent Sexiness of Summer didn’t come out until July, and it just sounded bored and grouchy.
22. Although this one is pretty funny: “12. I bet if you’re a woman, you can spend a good amount of time on a summer day laughing at men’s legs. Roughly ninety-seven percent of us look like malnourished chickens. And you didn’t have to grow up on a farm to know that you don’t put a malnourished chicken in Old Navy cargo shorts.”
23. After that, there were no more Adam Boyle columns for almost two years. That’s an eternity in internet time. Right? Surely, everybody forgot him.
24. But in June of 2007, he was back with 29 Thoughts About Summer Blockbusters. Notice the lack of apparent sexiness. He even apologized for his absence: “28. Sorry I’ve gone missing from this web site for so long. Turns out not everybody gets to leave the Wonderland Rehab center when they want to.”
25. Is that a reference to a movie I didn’t see?
26. The apparent sexiness returned with 29 Thoughts on the Apparent Sexiness of the Sopranos Finale, but disappeared again with 29 Thoughts on the New White Stripes Album. And those were both pretty good.
27. But then he was gone. Never to be heard from again. Where’d he go? What happened to him? Have you seen this man?
28. Was he really just Gary Benchley in disguise? I can’t imagine that someone so funny would just drop off the face of the internet like that. Because, despite the nitpicking here, he was consistently pretty solid over his 13 pop culture columns and even his two earlier political ones. Look back at those. That’s good stuff. So it must’ve been a pseudonym. Right?
29. A damn boil? On the butt of the internet? Your guess is as good as mine.