Monday, February 28, 2011

Shopping in the way

Rule of shopping at Trader Joe's with my wife: She picks out items and I push the cart, and no matter where I try to park myself and the cart to be out of the way for that moment, no matter how much it seems like it will be out of the way (such as in front of the dog food), it's precisely where the next person to come along needs to go.

Hmm. Maybe I should try to convince Trader Joe's to pay me to stand in front of slow-moving items.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Freaky Franco / Oscars Schmoscars

So, who had James Franco as the first Freaks & Geeks alum to get an Oscar nomination?

Yeah, me too.


We saw so few movies last year I find that the interest in the Academy Awards is even lower than usual. Granted, to put any attention toward the motion picture industry patting itself on the back is inherently ludicrous unless you actively have a financial stake in the outcomes, but to the extent that the AMPAS has convinced the public to give a crap for decades I'd always at least taken some heed of what got nominated. There have been films in past years that got nominated that made me think, Hey, maybe I'll try to see that eventually, and for the movies I had seen I had something to root for.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Marginilizing marginalia

On this podcast they discussed the topic of marginalia (writing in the margins of a book) based on this piece (which alludes to how the rising popularity of e-readers "means the decline of marginalia... much to the dismay of many book lovers, librarians and historians."

Up front I'll admit: I was never one for that, but that may be mostly because my thoughts when reading a book were not pithy enough to fit in that modest space.

(That's why it takes me so long to finish a book: I read slowly to start with, and then my mind drifts on its own, and I could never attempt to capture that in the margin.)

Not to mention not wanting others who may read it later to come across it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thinking about not thinking about the Deficit

Everyone knows that spending beyond one's income is imprudent, but it's the American way. Next year, even with proposed reductions in spending we'll still be living a trillion dollars outside of our collective means. And Americans are fine with that; according to polls when it comes to the question of what people want cut, they can't agree on what to cut, and thus ultimately they don't want anything cut.

So, to refine that opening statement: Everyone knows that we're supposed to say that living beyond our means is imprudent when posed with the question of having a deficit, and on some level to believe it's bad, but ultimately we accept that that's merely how it is. And how it will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy Nobody-Knows-How-to-Punctuate-This-Day Day

Whether it's written Presidents, Presidents', or President's... nothing has changed about this since I wrote about it last year; there's no agreement on where the apostrophe should go (or if it should be there at all).

It was so much easier when there were still separate holidays for Washington and Lincoln.

Enjoy buying a new mattress (if you're celebrating the day off properly).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

An outlet for Bieber Mania, and an explanation about the White House

After Esperanza Spalding took the Grammy for Best New Artist, fans of Justin Bieber were aghast, and resorted to the sort of juvenile outbursts that, I suppose, is entirely consistent with the sort of thing those who are devoted to the teen star would do. They lashed out against the jazz bassist on the internet, defacing her Wikipedia page and filling the Twittersphere with vitriol.

I suppose that's the suitable outburst in a digital era; the time of a good old-fashioned record burning are passed—not merely because burning records would be unwise due to probable toxic chemicals released by combustion, but also because records are for a collector's market these days and thus are too valuable to exploit for a pointless cathartic gesture.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Grammy whammy

We actually watched the Grammy telecast Sunday night. Obviously it's not on par with the Super Bowl, or even the Oscars, in regard to the viewership, and unlike those events, for us it is far from required viewing; there's been plenty of years when I've not watched a single minute of the show. And this year it was probably in part because Neil Patrick Harris was involved (he introduced Katy Perry in one of the show's few funny parts).

As someone with thousands of songs in the library it's safe to consider me one who likes music. You might expect this would elicit in me more interest in the show, but unlike the Super Bowl (where there's an actual sporting event taking place) or the Academy Awards (where I will have seen at least some of the nominated movies), the Grammys tend to feature artists in which I have little interest.

Monday, February 14, 2011

CBS... cares?

Criminy! How did I forget to do this for Valentine's?

(But is not February 14th the one day a year a man with a woman in his life should not have to be touching his own stuff?)

(Oh yeah, my wife is a lucky woman...)

Valentine, Obviously

I doubt I need to tell you it's Valentine's Day. It's not quite on par with Christmas when it comes to over-commercialization but it's up there, so there's little chance if you live in America, and in the past few weeks you have watched commercial TV, read a magazine or newspaper, or visited any websites with ads, you've heard about how the greeting card/flower/chocolate/restaurant industrial complex would like you to spend your money to bestow gifts on February 14.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Over at the photo site there's a new post featuring a number of shots of orange ranunculus flowers (which I got for my wife). Click here to go check out the whole sequence.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Okay, maybe you can call me blogger

Last week I balked at the term "blogger," due in part to it being a title based on the format. That, to be fair, could be semi-hypocritical in light of how "columnist" is an accepted title which clearly stems from the format (where the writing appears on a page in a column). Admittedly, columnist could be as vague, but in my opinion it is relatively definite (oxymoron intended) in the way it connotes someone writing with a perspective (bias) on a regular topic, and where it is presented in a specific format (to distinguish it from the at least ostensibly unbiased journalism that appears elsewhere.

Which, when it comes down to it, is one possible definition of what a blogger is. As less columns are published on paper in magazines and newspapers, "columnist" does fade as applicable. Perhaps "blogger" should be the officially recognized replacement term for when those erstwhile column content is posted online.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Someone's paying attention to genuis... super genius

In a RadioLab podcast from early last month ("The Universe Knows My Name") they touched on destiny and looked at it through the lens of… the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons.

The popularity of those, an authority on the classic animation noted, was due not to the success of the bird in avoiding all the traps laid out by the pursuing creature but to the way the anthropomorphic coyote failed. There was something relatable about being thwarted by the universe as Wile was.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Glimpsing the future of advertising (one for the kids)

Had someone told me ten years ago that a mainstream auto company like Chrysler would someday choose to have Eminem, a rapper who has had his share of controversy, featured prominently in their 2011 Super Bowl commercial, I'm sure my initial response would have been skepticism. The notion of this angry young man would be determined by those making ads for the conservative company as the best way to convince the largest audience for a commercial to buy their cars would have seemed at least a little far-fetched—in no small measure because on the flip-side it seemed unlikely Eminem would be convinced to do it even if they asked.

However, I like to think that my secondary response would have been an acknowledgment of it as a distinct possibility. Although I wouldn't have the perspective that the last decade has influenced, I do think I would have grasped that the pattern for such things is that today's disaffected youth who elicit apprehension in the establishment are tomorrow's mainstream society members.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

What to root for in the Super Bowl

Whether the Steelers or the Packers prove victorious tonight matters to fans of those teams, but what the rest of us should be hoping for is... another "wardrobe malfunction"-type incident during the halftime show!

It's not that we need a repeat of split-second of tepid nudity; it merely need be something about which the easily offended can get all worked up. It's been a while since this heavily watched TV event has given them that.

Don't let us down, Black Eyed Peas. You've vowed Fergie won't expose her humps, but use that creativity (that's only moderately evident in your music) and give us a shock-worthy spectacle--or, in your parlance, that boom boom pow.

I gotta feeling you can do leave us with something about which some people can feel disgusted for years to come.

Goooo, Peas!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Don't call me blogger either

One of the blogs I read from time to time, I Will Dare (the personal one from the woman who started the Paul Westerberg fan site), had a post last week titled "Don't Call Me Blogger" where, as that title suggests, she refuted accepting that moniker for what she did. She began by admitting her original reluctance stemmed from her aspirations to be a "serious" writer and her belief (back many years ago) that no serious writer would blog. Obviously that's not the case, especially these days, but what now precludes her from perceiving herself as part of that is how the "blog" is done as a marketing tool; it's done to promote something the blogger had to sell (be it an object or a service or what-have-you), and as she was not shilling anything it was not apropos. (My summary doesn't do it justice; you should read it yourself.)

Both of which are fair points, I'd say, provided we could all agree that there's a singular definition of what a "blog" is (and, correspondingly, what a "blogger" is).

About the only aspects of a blog about which we could get some agreement is that it's a website (or part of a website) with material posted by date; a "blogger" is one who contributes content thereto. Beyond that, there's undoubtedly a fair amount of personal association the individual brings to the table.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Happy Groundhog Day! Happy Black History Month!

(And if you think I'm going to make some joke trying to mix those together, you're wrong. It's not that I fear being offensive; I'm merely not that clever.)