Friday, July 31, 2009

Being A Dog Online - Then And Now

On the old internet, nobody knew you were a dog.

On the new internet, they know what kind of dog you are, your favorite leash color, the last time you had fleas, and the date you were neutered.

Julia Child - "The French Chef"

An excerpt from a New York Times Magazine remembrance of Julia Child:

"The show was taped live and broadcast uncut and unedited, so it had a vérité feel completely unlike anything you might see today on the Food Network, with its A.D.H.D. editing and hyperkinetic soundtracks of rock music and clashing knives.

"While Julia waited for the butter foam to subside in the sauté pan, you waited, too, precisely as long, listening to Julia’s improvised patter over the hiss of her pan, as she filled the desultory minutes with kitchen tips and lore.

"It all felt more like life than TV, though Julia’s voice was like nothing I ever heard before or would hear again until Monty Python came to America: vaguely European, breathy and singsongy, and weirdly suggestive of a man doing a falsetto impression of a woman. The BBC supposedly took “The French Chef” off the air because viewers wrote in complaining that Julia Child seemed either drunk or demented."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Health Care Debate

If you live in one of the "blue states," are not a regular consumer of local or network news, and your only sources for information are online and NPR, then you need to watch this television commercial, which is having a huge impact on the health care debate:

I'm Good! (Pepsi Max)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Twitter Haiku

Twitter's 140-character limit (and to some extent text messaging) challenges us to say everything we mean in the fewest words possible without compromising meaning, and has spawned some fascinating linguistic constructs.

Which can really be fun for the hardcore Wordie.

For example, one of my writerly friends recently closed a Tweet with:


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Harry, Hermione and Ron - 2009

At the premiere of "Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince" earlier this month in London:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Only Reason I've Ever Even Thought About Owning A Cadillac

I doubt that I'd ever buy a Cadillac, but Kate Walsh is very convincing.

This is one commercial I don't fast-forward through:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

On Vacation, 2009

"HARWICH - Bent over a laptop in the drivers’ seat of her car, Marcia King hunted for a signal. She wanted to connect with the outside world. Just for a few minutes. And then she could go back to her vacation.

"King’s summer home in Harwich Port, like many old Cape Cod houses, doesn’t have an Internet connection. But the Brooks Free Library offers free wireless Internet signal, pulsing out the door even when the doors are closed. King drives to the library parking lot nearly every day, joining other vacationers looking for a quick jolt of home, via the free Internet connection.

“You come here at 10 p.m. at night, and there’s a couple people sitting in the parking lot,’’ said King, who travels from Maine to live on the Cape for two months each summer." (Boston Globe)

I remember a pre-internet vacation one summer with my family on Nantucket, when all hell was breaking loose back at the office. No cellphones, no phone in the rented cottage, a one-mile bike ride into town to a public phone. There was no expectation of constant updates and input, and I had several built-in excuses why I "couldn't get back to you."

I did end up having a couple of long business calls on the public phone at the wharf while watching ferries of tourists come and go, and it was difficult to delete the business file from my mind completely, but it's certainly different - and, I think, worse - today.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Driving While Texting

At 60 miles an hour on a Missouri highway, a 16-year-old driver texts with a friend as a 17-year-old takes the wheel.

"On his 15th birthday, Christopher Hill got his first cellphone. For his 16th, he was given a used red Ford Ranger pickup, a source of pride he washed every week.

"Mr. Hill, a diligent student with a reputation for helping neighbors, also took pride in his clean driving record. “Not a speeding ticket, not a fender bender, nothing,” he said.

Until last Sept. 3. Mr. Hill, then 20, left the parking lot of a Goodwill store where he had spotted a dresser he thought might interest a neighbor. He dialed her to pass along news of the find.

"Mr. Hill was so engrossed in the call that he ran a red light and didn’t notice Linda Doyle’s small sport utility vehicle until the last second. He hit her going 45 miles per hour. She was pronounced dead shortly after.

"Later, a policeman asked Mr. Hill what color the light had been. “I never saw it,” he answered."

A fatal subway crash last year on the Green Line here in Boston was attributed to the subway operator texting a friend as the train blew through a warning light.

I use the subway a lot, and there's not a lot I can do to make it safer, other than report what I observe.

But I sometimes take calls in the car hands-free .

After reading the above story in today's New York Times, I'm going to have to re-think whether any calls are imortant enough to take while I'm driving.

I don't think so.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lillian Bassman

Lillian Bassman was one of the most important photographers of the 20th century, and, finally, there will be major exhibitions of her photography, as well as a book from Abrams this Fall.

She became disillusioned with the dumbing down of women's fashion that began in the late 1960s/1970s, and walked away from it all.

Now 92, and living in Manhattan, she's finally about to be properly honored.

The images above are from the early 1950s, for Olga and Warner lingerie; much of her work was commercial, for Harper's Bazaar.

"It is easy to see why Ms. Bassman would have found little appeal in the uniform of the sexual revolution, first the childlike clothes of Mod style and then the hippie’s caftans, which seemed intended to counter the mass libidinal energy that had been the whole point. Hers was a world of adult sexuality that wasn’t ranted about. And the new breed of models coming of age in the late ’60s and ’70s unnerved her as well." (New York Times)

Vote For Kay Hanley On Twitter!

As a voracious consumer of Boston sports, and as one who grazes in the fields of sports radio from time to time, I think a real "ROCK Jock" like Kay Hanley, of Letters To Cleo, would be a terrific addition to the local radio scene.

Please vote for Kay on Twitter!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Just Add Ice

It's great to hear that the 2010 NHL Winter Classic will be played at Fenway Park!

Let's hope it's not 60 degrees on 1/1/10.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Want A Glazed Donut

I love glazed donuts, and want one right now

Dunkin' Donuts, left; Tim Horton's, right

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Energy Shots

A dispatch from the Antelope Freeway Health Desk, courtesy of the New York Times:

"The power drink of the moment costs 20 times as much per ounce as Coca-Cola, comes in a tiny bottle and tastes so bad that most people hold their noses and down it in a single gulp.

"Near the University of Maryland the other day, students thought nothing of paying $3 or more for a shot. That is $1.50 an ounce; at that price, a 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola would sell for $30.

“'It helps me stay up all night when I have work to do,” said Matt Sporre, 20, a sophomore chemical engineering major who said he drank shots three or four nights a week when school was in session. “Those things are going to be the death of my generation,” he added. “Too much caffeine.”

"Mr. Sporre and several others students said the shots worked well in combination with Adderall, a prescription drug for attention deficit disorder that is popular on college campuses. The Adderall helps them focus, they said, and the shot keeps them awake."

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Celebrate Independence Everyday!

Let's all reflect at least a little today on how very fortunate we are to live in a country where we have the freedom to pursue our dreams.

Then click on the image below to verify that the spirit of the American Pinup still lives.