“I like the numbers 7 & 11, the letters XV (and, although I didn’t include it, Q is another favorite letter), and thought that picking teams based primarily based on their seeding numbers and mascots would potentially irritate some of my male sports-obsessed colleagues, especially if my bracket did well (who knew how much madness I would be putting into their March?)”—That’s Oregon school librarian Diana Inch, explaining how she became the only person out of three million entrants to correctly pick the Final Four in this year’s Yahoo! Tourney Pool. And given that this is precisely the sort of non-fan who wins your office pool year after year after year, I think it’s safe to say that your future tourney pool money is best spent elsewhere. Like on Bugles.
“Police said the 43-year-old man was morbidly obese and had not moved from his recliner in two years.”—Earlier this week we learned about the Ohio man who became fused to his chair, and now that man has died, according to WTOV. Not only was this man’s story a terrifying symbol of American sloth and nutrition habits, but I find it alarming that he died only AFTER being rescued from his chair, as if the chair had been the only thing keeping him breathing.
“This is the city of the Yankees and Broadway, of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, of sky-high buildings and never-ending parks. How could the world not be rushing to its shores?”—
That’s Javier Hernandez of the New York Times writing about the controversial Census numbers that came out last week. When it was announced that New York City’s population grew by only 2.1%, residents and elected officials expressed shock and bewilderment. Just look at how crowded the 6 train is!, they said. It was more than just a concern about federal aid or redistricting—it became an issue of pride. It partially crushed our belief that this city is the center of the universe, nearly bursting at the seams with so many people clamoring to live here. One historian came up with some sort of compromise, saying that New Yorkers are simply too “cantankerous” to return the Census numbers. Which is an answer I am sticking too.
“I am all for you being gorgeous. I am all for you embracing your right to be a sex bomb and a crime fighter at the same time, but that doesn’t mean a strapless corset made of plastic. Not only can you not use your lasso in that outfit, you can’t raise your arm to hail a taxi in that outfit.”—
Dove’s Latest Lady Product Doesn’t Address The Real Issue A new product from Dove promises women prettier armpits in just five days. ”We spoke with over 500 women, and almost every one of them thinks that their underarms are unattractive,” a deodarant spokesperson said. It’s true, most women want pretty armpits! But when it comes to five o’clock shadows (a problem us dark haired folks are forced to deal with), moisturizer ain’t going to do the trick.
Comedians Talking About Comedy < Comedians Being Funny. Here’s a clip for “Talking Funny,” an hourlong roundtable Ricky Gervais is doing for HBO with Louis CK, Jerry Seinfeld, and Chris Rock. And while I really like all four of those men, there’s nothing more boring than enduring a bunch of comedians prattling on about the craft of comedy. It’s like writers writing about writing, or directors making movies about directing. I’m not even sure Seinfeld tells actual jokes anymore, if “The Marriage Ref” was any indication.
“I mean, in cases where there are no tools of communication, people still get together. So I don’t see that as being… in looking at history, I don’t see the absence of efficient tools of communication as being a limiting factor on the ability of people to socially organize.”—That’s best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell slapping down the notion that Facebook and Twitter deserve credit for helping to ignite the recent spate of political uprisings. And he should know, because he reached a similar conclusion while studying the mating habits of the Portuguese water turtle. Anyway, if Gladwell really thinks efficient tools of communication don’t help people organize, then he’s clearly never planned a successful bachelor party.
The Next iPhone May Be Delayed! NOOOOO!!! Wall Street analysts are taking predictions that Apple’s next iPhone could be delayed until the end of the year seriously. This is a bad sign. NO! But how will I be able to show off my iPhone 5 if I don’t actually have one yet? I need to have it in my hands so people know I am the earliest of early adopters OR ELSE I WILL DIE!
“The negotiations were pushed into public view on Monday when two publications, Deadline.com and The Daily, reported that Mr. Weiner was objecting to AMC’s proposals to shave several minutes off each episode (to add commercial time) and to eliminate two cast members (to save money)”—That’s The New York Times explaining the current contract impasse between AMC and “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner, which is delaying production of the award-winning series. You listen to me, AMC: Give that man his minutes so I can get back to loving your show. Heaven forbid the show goes over time and cuts into your 569th broadcast of “Godfather II”.
“Kit Bramblett, the county attorney for Hudspeth County in West Texas, where Mr. Nelson was arrested on a marijuana possession charge last year, has said he will allow Mr. Nelson to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count if he pays a small fine — and performs “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” in court.”—
Unlike most parents, I have no issue with Bramblett’s seemingly inappropriate request. Everyone should be able to sing their way out of a marijuana charge.
Study: Horrible Screaming Baby Syndrome Still Horrible. Yahoo! is reporting that recent research on colic has shown that there’s no real way to soothe a chronically screaming infant. As the parent of two children, I’d like to protest these findings with two cures I have personally used to great effect: 1) Soundproof nurseries, and 2) Your mother-in-law, who you guilt-tripped into looking after the kid so you could go see “Sucker Punch”.
“The Mets, as a brain trust, are doing everything exactly right. The franchise is in safe, capable hands. Really, I mean it.”—That’s Will Leitch in New York Magazine trying to prevent Mets fans from jumping off the ledge in the wake of countless on-field and off-field collapses. And he’s kinda right. Since 2006, the Mets have been baseball’s answer to the Washington Redskins: a place for washed up players to cash one final paycheck. Maybe a bit of parsimoniousness will improve the Mets outlook, right? Right? Nahhhhhh.
BREAKING NEWS: Company Acts Humanely Toward Its Customers Three nights ago, Netflix had some technical issues that crippled its instant-streaming service. The company responded by refunding customers 3% of their monthly bill, or roughly 23 cents per person. And while that may seem small, consider that when my power went out for four days this winter, the power company offered no rebate and said they were going to INCREASE their rates. So Netflix, would you mind buying my power company?
“The Book of Mormon” achieves something like a miracle. It both makes fun of and ardently embraces the all-American art form of the inspirational book musical. No Broadway show has so successfully had it both ways since Mel Brooks adapted his film “The Producers” for the stage a decade ago.”—That’s from The New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley’s wildly effusive review of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s new profane musical. And the raves for the show are proof to me that ALL musicals should be profane, sacrilegious spectacles designed specifically for people who don’t like musicals. Maybe if “Spiderman” had made fun of Lutherans, it wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in right now.
“When big companies bump into a ceiling in an area they have dominated, they tend to shift into new pursuits that may help their core business.”—That’s The New York Times explaining why Google is slowly evolving from searching online content to also helping produce it. They’ve even dipped their toes in the water by creating an internal pamphlet of sorts, and the company blogs about its services quite often. But I doubt they’ll ever start outright producing movies or TV shows, unless they know something I don’t, which they probably do since they have cameras everywhere.
“There are few works of greater scope or structural genius than the series of fiction pieces by Horatio Bucklesby Ogden, collectively known as The Wire; yet for the most part, this Victorian masterpiece has been forgotten and ignored by scholars and popular culture alike.”—
Oxford English Dictionary Now Apparently Accepting Emoticons. The Village Voice is reporting that “<3” (the heart symbol) is being added to the Oxford English Dictionary. That’s right. <3. That’s a word now, apparently to be followed soon by o_0 and ;). I think putting these symbols in an actual dictionary is dumb, especially when there are still awesome slang words out there that have yet to be given the OED’s official touch, with “bongasaurus” at the top of my list. Please, OED. Stop putting annoying symbols in your book. You’re only encouraging people.
“But what a dark double-standard that Chris must continually answer for his actions, unable to be known as anything other than “the guy who beat up Rihanna,” while Sheen gets a free pass, possibly because none of the women he hurt were famous enough to bother caring about.”—
That’s Drew Grant of Salon, ruminating on the recent Chris Brown tantrum and the connection to Charlie Sheen’s domestic violence incidents. Brown threw a tantrum and stormed off the set of Good Morning America on Tuesday, apparently upset by Robin Roberts’ questions about ex-girlfriend Rihanna who he viciously beat two years ago (he’s since apologized.) He took to Twitter to ask why Charlie Sheen didn’t get asked about his many attacks against his wives and girlfriends, and, as much as I dislike both, he’s right.
“But while they were my sanctuary from the city, in a weird way, they were also nagging reminders of what I hated most about it: perfect surrogates for the aspects of the New York personality — the flightiness, iciness, self-interestedness and overdeveloped sense of entitlement — that I found the most intolerable to bear. My indulgence of and obsession with their inconstancy was both masochistic and instructive.”—
That is Anna Holmes discussing cat love and cat death in The New York Times. In “We Were Kittens Once, and Young,” Holmes examines the way her feline friends slowly became her family and grounding force in the city, and how they absorbed to her projected fears, much like any human companions.
“Last Night Never Happened” App Still Can’t Undo Those Ten Kamikaze Shots You Did. Drinking and status updating has become so rampant in America that we now have the Last Night Never Happened app, which deletes all your social networking activity going back however many hours you choose. And it says so much about us as a society that our latest technological innovation is designed to keep us from telling other people we wet ourselves at the pool bar last night. Perhaps more preventive apps should be considered, such as an OFF switch.
“Is it going to be done by the kind of people who value the quality of the New York Times reporting and opinion and analysis? No, I don’t think so. It’ll be mostly high-school kids and people who are out of work.”—That’s New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. managing to sound elitist, intolerant, and completely deluded all at once in a single quote about who he thinks would try and elude his newspaper’s new online paywall. No, Arthur. It’s not just punk kids and the filthy jobless that’ll avoid paying for your oh-so-prestigious content.
New York Times Fights Against Paywall Loopholes It Established Last week, we told you that the new paywall at The New York Times website was meaningless because the site will basically allow unrestricted access if you come from Twitter or Facebook. Now The Times is attempting to quash a Twitter feed that was set up specifically to dodge the paywall. I promise you, this will be only the first example of the Times trying to enforce a paywall that they themselves made virtually unenforceable. And you wonder why they hemorrhage money.
“They are fighting over a very lucrative property, and who is going to pay for it to get made; it’s one of the biggest perils of success — everyone wants a piece of it now, and they are fighting over who is gonna get the biggest chunk.”—
That’s “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner, explaining to Entertainment Weekly (via the New York Times) that the show’s fifth season is currently up in the air due to contract negotiations. It may not air until 2012. Well, that’s just GREAT. Here, I hoped to alleviate the NFL lockout by watching Don Draper get drunk at 10AM and sleep around with every secretary he hires. And now this? It’s like the Fates want me to have a life or something.
“Carmelo is starting to look like a bit of a baby, someone who wanted the good parts of New York (clubs, money, places to stash LaLa, Gray’s Papaya) and none of the bad parts (media attention, crazy expectations, MSG asbestos, infuriatingly entitled people on bicycles).”—That’s Will Leitch from New York Magazine on the quickly souring relationship between Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks after a mere 16 games. The instant hand-wringing over Anthony (which is happening despite everyone knowing this season is a throwaway) is, to me, definitive proof that Knicks owner James Dolan can ruin ANYTHING, and in record time. Jim Dolan could ruin bacon, he’s just that monstrous.
Azi Paybarah received an email from the NYTimes.com alerting him of the way to continue reading the online content for free once the much-discussed paywall begins. Apparently, Lincoln—which already have so many of those big ads along the side of the page—is offering some readers (perhaps those special ones Lincoln would like to engage enough to buy a big car) a free subscription through the end of the year. Here it is from Azi:
Dear NYTimes.com reader,
As a frequent reader of NYTimes.com, you’ve demonstrated an uncommon interest in a wide variety of today’s most important topics. This makes you anything but average. In fact, it can’t help but make you “smarter” — just the kind of person we at Lincoln want to engage.
Though NYTimes.com will soon begin charging for unlimited access*, Lincoln is offering you a free digital subscription for the remainder of 2011. Enjoy all that NYTimes.com has to offer every day — investigative news and special reports, videos, blogs and more. It’s all yours at no charge, compliments of Lincoln.
Take advantage of this limited-time offer** to receive free, unlimited access to NYTimes.com.
No word on how many loyal readers have received a similar email. I know I haven’t, but maybe the Times already knows I drive a Toyota.
“The sports world is pushing back hard against hip-hop, baby-mama athletes. You can call it racism. I call it a rejection of values that don’t contribute to consistent winning, brand enhancement and the maximizing of profits. It’s a business decision.”—That’s Jason Whitlock of FOX Sports roundly criticizing Jalen Rose’s recent “Uncle Toms” rant about Duke basketball. While most of Whitlock’s essay is fairly on-point (just ask him), I think the phrase “hip-hop, baby-mama athletes” is the kind of term that the Colin Cowherds of the world like to use to criticize ANY black athlete, regardless of individual personality or history. So take care in this kind of argument, because it can feed stereotypes all too easily.
“Local water authorities recommend running the cold water tap for approximately two minutes and refrigerating cold tap water for a few hours to reduce taste and odor.”—That’s from authorities in the DC area letting residents know that their water will temporarily have chlorine in it. This is apparently a routine thing (So wasteful. They may as well suggest you run 37 dryers simultaneously while you do it), but I have to ask: Do they REALLY expect anyone to stand by a running tap for two minutes to use their water?
“Fear is the mind-killer.”—That’s Matthew Yglesias tweeting about a report that says psychological trauma from disasters such as the one going on in Japan are often a greater threat to public health than the tragedy itself. As someone who lived in Manhattan during 9/11, I can anecdotally vouch for this horrible fear of the unseen: toxic dust, radiation, chemical weapons, etc. Once the idea of them is planted in your brain, even the most basic symptom can suddenly trigger a shocking amount of panic.
How Can We Use Group Messaging in The Real World? CNET’s Caroline McCarthy asks what’s next for group messaging in a post this morning, because, as she says, “let’s face it, SXSW is not the real world.”
I’ve been considering possible use cases for the past week, both commercial and personal, and I don’t see myself every wanting to group text with people I don’t know.
Would it be great to have a group text with my roommates or carpool group? Yes. Could we use it in the newsroom to connect field reporters with editors in the field? It could work.