1) Vinegar is good for cleaning the coffee machine.
Or so says @FrankAdMan, a US-based Twitter user who, for some reason, decided to follow me (and I was prompted to follow him as well, introducing me to the Twitter accounts of Donald Draper, Roger Sterling, and Steve Martin etc.) [See: Donald Draper, Roger Sterling, and Steve Martin]
Run through about a mugful of vinegar to clear the gunk in the machine’s innards, he told me in a tweet. I did that just now, a warm Sunday afternoon, a year after I received the advice. Guess what? Coffee I just made tastes crispier, cleaner, all because of tips shared by users of a platform that uses no more than 140 characters.
2) “What fresh hell is this?” was an original quote from Dorothy Parker
While writing a review of Californication — which was later uploaded in hotmanila.ph in exchange for a hearty lunch — I had the mistaken assumption that the quote was first uttered by Kathleen Turner, who played Barbara Rose, in the War of the Roses. [See: Californication Review]
At that time, I had just bought old Rolling Stone magazines from a neighborhood garage sale. One of those issues featured a review of the movie in which the writer quoted Barbara Rose as saying exactly that, without referring to the feisty female of the Algonquin Round Table. [See: Dorothy Parker, Algonquin Round Table]
In Californication, Hank Moody — played by David Duchovny — uttered that same quote, referring to the cantankerous Sue Collini, also played by Kathleen Turner, the new boss of Moody’s agent, Charlie Runckle. [See: Californication]
I was about to point out that Turner ORIGINALLY uttered the same quote that was later used to describe her in another role.
Fortunately, the oversight was caught in time by @hotmanila and @sleeplessgirl while exchanging various Tweets. So much for my background in literature.
3) Last but not least, Twitter users can teach you a lot more about the world.
You just have to be patient.
Through this microblogging platform, I learned that @meralco — currently the Twitter handle of the Philippines’ largest electric company — was initially held and controlled by @nicknich3, an American electricity price analyst based in Cagayan de Oro by the name of Nick Nichols. [See: Nick Nichols’ blog.]
Nichols later agreed to “return” the handle to Meralco during the height of typhoon Ondoy last year. [See: How Meralco got its Twitter name back]
Through his various blog entries — links of which were posted on Twitter — and direct message exchanges on the same platform, I was able to get an idea — however vaguely — of what the term “stranded costs” meant in the arcane world of the Philippine power industry. “Stranded costs” represent the portion of an electric bill that is used to pay for investments of companies that built power plants especially after the value of these generation assets may have changed due to a shift in government policy. [See: Stranded Costs in Energy Dictionary]
See? I’m learning something.