Entries Tagged 'random rants' ↓
Fresh Direct, a local internet grocer, has drawn plenty of public criticism for a number of reasons. People complain about their idling trucks (which take up parking spaces and waste gas), their choice of which neighborhoods to deliver to, and their packaging methods, which can be wasteful. And then there was the lady who claimed her FD delivery guy mugged her.
In my own experience, I use Fresh Direct occasionally, picking up myself at their warehouse, cause I’m in the neighborhood, and cause I got used to doing that back when they–inexplicably–did not deliver to their neighborhood. And while I think they should find another packing method that does not leave boxes all over the city, as they deliver, I haven’t before gotten orders from them that were terribly overpackaged. Until now.
First, I opened one box, and found this box of tea in its own massive box:
At this point, I went for my camera. I wanted to document this ugly overpackaging moment.
Then, I opened the box below it (in the photo), and found this small pint of tomatoes (I think) in a plastic bag, again alone inside a massive box:
At this point, I was screaming and running around the apartment in horror.
If you ask them, Fresh Direct will say they pack items in boxes according to what part of the store the items came from (so cold stuff is in a box together in a cold place, veggies are together in an appropriate temperature, dry groceries together, and so on. But why not take a minute, before heading out the door, to consolidate items which could live together in one box? And why not find some system whereby your customers could recycle those boxes back to you?
Shame on you, Fresh Direct! I guess in the past I have ordered things which fit in a box together. This was the first time I have seen anything like this. And now I know why they’re losing customers, big time.
I love having Silvercup Studios as a neighbor. But doggonit, now they’ve joined the ranks of people trying to block out the river views. I suppose its inevitable. I love the cool movie action, but I am not so hot on the 24/7 leisure community. This is their projected new development by the Pompidou Center architect. Okay, I will give them this: even though their high-rises are butt-ugly, I like their plan better than the rest of the plans to block out the water views. From this and other developments, soon hundreds of thousands more people will call my neighborhood home. I hope they like Fresh Direct and making their own coffee. Cause some of their real estate booming ilk just ran Ten63 outta town. And the only teeny tiny local “supermarket” is lousy.
Gee whiz. It wasn’t a year ago when I mentioned here and here a fabulous local friendly arty coffee hang-out Ten63. And now it’s closing. And there’s even an article in today’s Times about it.
What pisses me off is that they’re not closing for want of business. The place is a local hub. Instead, they’re closing because their building wants to expand and put in more residential space. And they haven’t yet found a local space to move the shop to that’s affordable.
My vision of the gentrification of my beloved neighborhood has been wrought with impending doom, in the form of high-rises crowding out the river access and local skyscape, in the ever-increasing popularity of the place which will eventually mean my rent goes even higher and I am out of here.
But since more rich and trendy people means more business, especially for amazing businesses, I never thought Ten63 would go away. But then I am not much of an economist.
The Times story notes:
The triangular three-story building that houses the cafe, and that once housed municipal offices for the borough, has been bought by developers who want to make it taller and convert it to residences.
For many in the neighborhood, such a change would be a great loss. With its high ceiling, concrete floors and staggeringly large windows, Ten63 has served as the central gathering place for the neighborhood’s growing crop of young professionals and families for nearly three years. They love its high-backed metal benches and hearty scones and its ample supply of glossy magazines. News of the cafe’s departure, which is scheduled for Saturday, has infuriated residents who believe that developers are rushing to build in a neighborhood before it acquires the grocery stores, schools, hospitals and other amenities it will need to support a growing population.
And later, it says,
On most days, Ms. [i.e. owner Talitha] Whidbee can be found seated behind the counter of Vine Wine, her new store farther up Jackson Avenue, where she sells inexpensive wine from small vintners. But the closing of Ten63 dismays her. “It’s been the community center in a lot of ways,” Ms. Whidbee said. “We have people who have met their neighbors from across the hall in the cafe.”
Before Ten63 arrived, there were few places in the neighborhood simply to hang out. When the cafe opened, neighbors at first couldn’t believe it was real, Ms. Whidbee said. Some thought it was a set for the now-defunct television drama “Third Watch,” which was often filmed in the area.
There comes a point when we will have crammed an awful lot of yuppies into an awful lot of new luxury condos. They’ll pay slightly less than they’d pay across the East River in Manhattan, but a lot more than people in older, local, less luxury digs. But they won’t have a school large enough to fit their kids, or a grocery store (yes, people, as opposed to an overpriced deli) that sells intact, non-rotting vegetables and fruits. Do you hear me, oh proprietors of the C-Town on 21st Street?
LIC, next Saturday, loses just a bit of its soul. Let’s hope it’s just temporary.
October 18th, 2005 — random rants
You know, there are some things that have been bothering me for some time, so I am just going to get them off my chest.
I hate it when people use the word “pant” as a noun. This is usually a marketing thing, but it is seeping into the usage of individuals. For example: “It’s a great pant.” I believe Express– or is it Limited Express? Someone “Express” is advertising “The Editor’s Pant” in their storefront windows. To be honest, I prefer “trousers,” but I know I am fighting a losing battle there.
I also hate it when advertisers (again) use “baby” to refer to all babies. Old Navy is the biggest culprit: “For Men, Women, and Baby.” Um, well, you see, Old Navy, just as there is more than one man, and more than one woman, your clothes are also perfect for multiple babies. So the plural is more appropriate, really. If they said, “Man, woman, and baby,” it would be a bit odd, but it would be consistent, damnit.
Those who know me know I am not one of those English teachers: you know, the ones where people are afraid to speak lest you correct their usage. Quite the opposite. I am laid back in that department.
I also realize, as an enlightened 21st century person interested in language, that language change happens. And is neither good nor bad, just the way things are. I can deal. I embrace it, in fact. My own vocabulary and usage are always shifting, hip urban media chick that I am. (Tee hee, just kidding about the hip part, oh– and the media part.)
Perhaps the thing that bothers me is that multinational corporations are changing the language, in unnecessary ways. Why should we say “Men, women, and baby?” What is wrong with “pants”? I guess what I am saying is that I embrace language change, but not for no good reason, and with no good pattern. Down with market-ese.
Pants are for babies.
Yes, SWBB–don’t you know? It’s a new acronym I made up. You can apparently be handcuffed simply for Sightseeing While British (only if you’re brown, I expect, though this detail was omitted from the article). Five tourists (from their names, I gather they are of South Asian descent) British citizens one and all were handcuffed Sunday at 11:30 am when a bystander approached police to complain of five men on a tourist bus “carrying backpacks.” (Later, it was not clear whether any had backpacks at all.) The police evacuated the bus but handcuffed just those five men for ten minutes. Apparently they were considered suspicious because they had purchased their tour tickets in advance. Bloomberg is grovelling his apologies to the British Counsulate. Too little, too late.
On iTunes as we speak: Mutabaruka’s “Whiteman Country.”
What are the ten most dangerous books of the 19th and 20th centuries? Oh Dear. Those aren’t all the ones I had in mind. Having said that, Mein Kampf makes sense. But it was not number one.
This, of course, is not surprising. Phyllis Schlafly is scared of The Feminine Mystique and The Communist Manifesto. They’re right up there with Mein Kampf. I mention Phyllis because I am happy to report I have not heard of most of these other distungished judges. Do look at the list of runners up, including such dangeous cats as J. S. Mill and Rachel Carson.
This reminds me of how G. Gordon Liddy is parading around in a little smokescreen talking about how horrible Deep Throat is–how he’s such a traitor and a criminal. Hello! G. Gordon Liddy is a criminal! Are these people mad?
(Don’t worry, that was a rhetorical question.)
And this reminds me of David Horowitz’s cranky “Discover the Network” website
where he profiles the members of “the Left”–everyone, in his mind, from convicted members of Al Qaeda to Louis Farrakhan to the Weathermen to Bill Clinton and John Kerry. Reading it is almost comical.
And Horowitz sets out to expost the left “networks.” You can even look at image maps of how everyone fits together.
Note, this did not work for me on Mozilla, which does not surprise me, since Mozilla is a commie pinko search engine. And it will take up to five minutes to load on IE. And once it loads, it will be well-nigh mind-numingly boring to wait for the “connections” to load, once you move beyond the Ford Foundation and try to find out about a group or individual. Too bad because I was interested in this mystical network.
Um, what do Sheik Omar Adbel Rahman and Roger Ebert have in common? Evangelical Lefty Jim Wallis and Barack Obama? Al Qaeda and Bill Clinton and the Weathermen? Jimmy Carter and Mumia? What Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon has taught us is that it’s easy to link people if you’re trying to. Michael Berube has written a much more detailed and useful critique of the Networks site.
Think what would happen if we played connect-the-dots games with “Right.” As we all know, Bush would be directly linked to Bin Laden via the latter’s family. No hocus pocus or imagination needed. Funny that.
What would your dressed-to-protest suit look like?
This is interesting, and the amplified heartbeat is a nice touch, but perhaps Ralph’s time in NYC as an activist did not fully prepare him for the kinds of brutality cops are capable of meting out. (And no, I don’t entirely blame them, they are following orders.) I would love to display the photo, but hate stealing bandwidth from an artist. Respect. So do click.
I think protestors needs something a little more like the Popemobile, but ambulatory. Just my opinion. I am not a designer.
And why are we not seeing more about this movement?
Sadly, it is just satire. But I love the idea. Almost nothing pisses me off more than homophobes who cry “Leviticus! Leviticus!” and go to all-you-can-eat-Shrimp-festivals at Red Lobster. It’s not right.
When John Paul II came into his Popely position, I was about 8. My uncle came into the room, having presumably just seen a TV news report, and said enthusiastically, “Well, we have a new Pope!” You have a new Pope, I thought. We weren’t Catholic, but my uncle’s family was. That was in the days when nice Protestant boys converted so they could marry nice Catholic girls. I am a Quaker now, but we weren’t then. I didn’t really fully understand the Pope concept.
I don’t agree with a lot of his policies, and I think he has to be held responsible for his treatment of Cardinal Law and his reaction to the priestly child molestation scandals. I think that not developing a more pragmatic approach to condom use has led to a lot of deaths. Nonetheless, I realize I say that as someone who thinks neither gay sex nor condom use are evil. So how can I possibly understand conservative Catholic theology? I am also not sure I get Bono’s assessment of JPII as “The first funky Pope.” However, I can also see that he did a lot of good, and maybe some of the good he was not able to do wasn’t entirely his fault. Is it too much to hope he has a more radical successor? Dare I say it, a Liberation Theologist would do nicely.
Anyway, I hope that does not come across as flip. My sincerest condolences and prayers are with all Catholics right now.
This isn’t the first time shoppers at Ikea have come to blows.
It’s not pretty, people threatening each other with mallets at an Ikea opening. Four people were injured. But you know what? Ikea’s opening night special: a three-seat leather sofa for £45 (around $70), or a £30 double-bed frame, is insane. So 6,000 people surged through the doors at once to scoop up these deals. At those prices, it’s practically looting. No wonder people get excited.
We love us some Ikea here in the Tri-State area too. But maybe there should be non-violence training before they open the doors.
Everyblog is doing this to death, so I will not comment at length, except to repeat the oft-repeated question: Why didn’t anyone at the AP think this photo looked a little funny?
It would help, of course, if they’d seen him in his original packaging. Or looked at the head close-up.
(Note: apology to readers who saw obscene David Hasselhoff picture in this location; I will not link to another site’s photo again–except the one from the legitimate news outlet above. I did not anticipate such a result. I take it this is a no-no. My Bad.)
When I was young, my brother handed-me-down one of those white GI Joes with the “real” hair buzzcut and beard. I added it to my doll collection, along with the other army guys, Aquaman, and various trucks. (Aquaman, now he was cool.) And when I got older, and did not play with them anymore, I thought it would be fun to try and shave his beard. It worked, if it was a bit of a rough job. But he was a butch guy, and I don’t think he minded looking rough.
In December, Bill Moyers, after receiving the Global Environment Citizen Award from Harvard Medical School, gave an amazing speech, which I’ve somehow not come across until now.
In it, he puts his finger right on the button, to mix an old Cold War metaphor, of what’s wrong with American policy today: the Rapture Index. Basically, the idea is this: an enormous number of Americans (some say 1/3) are living like there’s no tomorrow–because they believe there won’t be. The idea of the Rapture, when they believe Jesus will come and take the devout away with him, is a rationale for not giving a rat’s arse about the environment. Moyers describes the difficulty of working to solve our environmental problems in such a climate:
As difficult as it is, however, for journalists to fashion a readable narrative for complex issues without depressing our readers and viewers, there is an even harder challenge – to pierce the ideology that governs official policy today. One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the oval office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington. Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.
Remember James Watt, President Reagan’s first Secretary of the Interior? My favorite online environmental journal, the ever engaging Grist, reminded us recently of how James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, ‘after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.’
Beltway elites snickered. The press corps didn’t know what he was talking about. But James Watt was serious. So were his compatriots out across the country. They are the people who believe the Bible is literally true – one-third of the American electorate, if a recent Gallup poll is accurate. In this past election several million good and decent citizens went to the polls believing in the rapture index. That’s right – the rapture index. Google it and you will find that the best-selling books in America today are the twelve volumes of the left-behind series written by the Christian fundamentalist and religious right warrior, Timothy LaHaye. These true believers subscribe to a fantastical theology concocted in the 19th century by a couple of immigrant preachers who took disparate passages from the Bible and wove them into a narrative that has captivated the imagination of millions of Americans.
Its outline is rather simple, if bizarre (the British writer George Monbiot recently did a brilliant dissection of it and I am indebted to him for adding to my own understanding): once Israel has occupied the rest of its ‘biblical lands,’ legions of the anti-Christ will attack it, triggering a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. As the Jews who have not been converted are burned, the messiah will return for the rapture. True believers will be lifted out of their clothes and transported to heaven, where, seated next to the right hand of God, they will watch their political and religious opponents suffer plagues of boils, sores, locusts, and frogs during the several years of tribulation that follow.
By clicking on www.raptureready.com, you can discover how close you might be to flying out of your pyjamas. The infidels among us should take note that the Rapture Index currently stands at 144, just one point below the critical threshold, beyond which the sky will be filled with floating nudists. Beast Government, Wild Weather and Israel are all trading at the maximum five points (the EU is debating its constitution, there was a freak hurricane in the South Atlantic, Hamas has sworn to avenge the killing of its leaders), but the second coming is currently being delayed by an unfortunate decline in drug abuse among teenagers and a weak showing by the Antichrist (both of which score only two).
Actually, that was almost a year ago. The Rapture Index today is 154. Anything over 145 is described in the key as “fasten your seat belts.” (Odd, that, since the bumper sticker I refer to in my title implies that the Raptured will float upwards from their cars.)
Sometimes it is easy for us progressive folks to talk about how stupid fundamentalists can be. (Of course, it’s only really PC to diss Christian fundamentalists.) Harder than dismissing them, though, is trying to figure out how they got to their beliefs. And in the same world in which I got to mine, as a lefty Quaker, and you got to yours, as a liberal athiest, and how he got to his, as a progressive Muslim, and so on.
It’s easy to say, “what idiots.” Harder to figure out how to convince them to care about our agenda. Do we say, “Yes, I know you believe the Rapture will come and we (me and my ilk) will all be left behind, and who cares what happens to sinners. But do you mind taking out the garbage so those of us left on the planet to rot after you’re gone can survive a little longer?”
See, it’s hard. I could not think of what to say that wasn’t snotty.
You know, I want to ask how they believe their God would want them to ignore the destruction of earth. And what if the Rapture comes later rather than earlier? Do you want your kids to get asthma and skin cancer and live under global warming and never see a whale?
And then, I also get creeped out how the whole “legions of the anti-Christ will attack Israel…” prediction plays right into both Israel getting the rest of its Biblical lands back, as well as a middle eastern war that destroys the new Israelites. And then the Rapture. So anything we can do to hasten mayhem in the middle east is going to bring the Rapture all that much faster. (And, Hello, Israel, are you listening? Fund-y Republicans only want to help your land increase as they wait for your impending wars, after which you will have to become Jews for Jesus right quick, or be destroyed. Does that really fit in with your prophecies? Doesn’t that piss you off? Aren’t you starting to feel a little used?)
And you know, the more people that are looking forward to Armageddon, the more likely it is to happen. Nothing to do with God; it’s called a self-fulfilling prophecy. But then, I am dealing in cause and effect here. And you know where I learned about cause and effect? In science classes. And you know those ain’t popular with religious fundamentalists.
But there I go again. Fundamentalists are not evil, they’re just like you and me. They’re my cousins, in fact, and some of them are the salt of the friggin’ earth. But in this area, misguided. They’re reading something literally that we’re not. I am not surprised there aren’t more fundamentalist English professors, ’cause you have to be able to see language as figurative, not only literal, in my world.
Those guys in the Old Testament may well have lived, but they didn’t live to be literally hundreds and hundreds of years old. We may have descended from a bloke in a fig leaf, but he may in turn have descended from tadpoles. It doesn’t all have to be mentioned in the text. “And then there was light,” “and on the sixth day he…:” all of it can be figurative. There can be a God, but it probably ain’t an old man with a long beard. And his son did not look like Errol Flynn. You have to have some imagination. (I learned that from PBS, that hotbed of evil, as a kid.)
What’s figurative can be true. And words can be true without being literally true.
I can deal with this; did reading poetry and stories teach me that?
In today’s installment of Homophobia Today, the Concerned Women for America (CWA) are, um, concerned that PBS animated character Buster is making being gay look, um, normal. Found this link at Michael Bérubé’s site.
“For years, PBS has been slipping pro-homosexual messages into its programming,” said Robert Knight, director of CWA’s Culture & Family Institute. “And the federal bureaucracy and their client, the education establishment, have done their share to destroy children’s innocence using the cover of ‘diversity.’ Along comes Secretary Spellings, who takes action as a servant of the people instead of a timid, go-along bureaucrat. Good for her.”
Yes, clearly we should go back to the good old days when Bert and Ernie lived together quietly and humbly, under a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
The yet-to-be-aired episode of Postcards from Buster, titled “Sugartime,” features an animated rabbit taking a tour of Vermont during the early spring. Along with farm life and maple sugaring, the episode explores Vermont’s same-sex “civil unions” by featuring two lesbian couples.
“Congress’ and the Department’s purpose in funding this programming certainly was not to introduce this kind of subject matter to children, particularly through the powerful and intimate medium of television,” Spellings added, requesting that a funding grant be returned and that the Department of Education be removed as a backer of the segment.
“Parents don’t want their children homosexualized in the name of ‘education,’” Knight said. “Mrs. Spellings has given notice that left-wing lobbies will have to find other ways to peddle their pansexual propaganda. Let’s hope that other leaders in federal and state agencies find a backbone thanks to her courageous example.”
Children are being homosexualized, now? What exactly does that mean? It sounds like being pasteurized; our children are being subjected to a process by which they’re made to be homosexual? And how come I never get to see any of this Pansexual Propaganda? That sounds interesting.
How interesting, Concerned Women, since the vast majority of homosexuals in the world grew up with straight parents, watching straight television. They did not have PBS to encourage them. No one in the American media before 1990 suggested being gay might be fun, or even, for that matter, alright. And we still have all these gay people running around trying to get married. What’s that all about? Could it be that people who are gay do not catch it from cartoon characters?
I apologize to my non-homophobic readers, for I appear to be engaging in one of my favorite rants. But until these people get some sense, I am afraid I will have to keep at it from time to time. Bear with me.
In the great abyss which is the new reality television, producers are willing to sink lower and lower in order to gather our attention. Whereas reality TV was once an original concept (with an albeit absurd premise–that what we would see in the fishbowl on the screen would represent some kind of reality), it’s now been done to death.
The latest offerings from VH1 are the nadir (the Ralph Nadir, if you will):
Celebrities on a diet (Daniel Baldwin vs. the judge from Divorce Court), a burgeoning reality-romance featuring Brigitte Nielson and Flava Flav, and the new edition of the Surreal Life, featuring a whole lot of people I’ve never heard of, and Christopher Knight, AKA Peter Brady.
He looks as he did all those decades ago, that Peter Brady. He always was a hunk, even as a gawky teenager.
Tonight, I took a break from grovelling-for-money (aka fellowship applications with looming deadlines), and my current reality was pretty frustrating. In the offerings of the local cable service, frankly, I was fit for nothing more sophisticated than reality TV tonight.
And I saw clean-as-a-whistle Peter Brady (who’s gotta be 47 now) getting a lap dance in prime time on a Sunday night.
All my illusions are now shattered.
If this is reality, I’ll take some more fiction, please.
On the other hand, here’s some real reality: the Children of Iraq
I was at Times Square on Wednesday night, and saw a man sitting-crouching in one of those passages where you walk from one subway line to another. He was holding a cardboard sign that read, “Tell me off for $2.00.”
It was one of those creative variations on the panhandle–singing from people who are not musicians being the most popular one I’ve seen. And this was original; I’d never seen it before. I wondered if this was just the service contemporary urban dwellers needed.
Case in point: on Thursday night I was at the slum veterinarian’s office. That’s my pet name for the vet I’ve been going to for years. He is in a rough area in an outer borough. In that ‘hood, everyone who has a dog has both a tough dog and a frou-frou dog: a pit and a shih-tzu, a rottie and a poodle, that sort of thing. One for the lap, and one to scare the people you want to scare. (Most of the pits and rotties are sweet little mushes anyway, but their appearance does the trick.)
The slum veterinarian is kind and damn good at his job. He also charges half of what any other vet charges. As a student, I find this to be the winning combination: good and cheap. So even though I’ve long since moved out of that area, and it is way out of my way, I make the trek there when my pets need anything. They’re well-cared for there.
But the slum veterinarian’s low prices come at a cost: they’re always overcrowded. They take walk-ins after people with appointments, but even with an appointment, you’ll wait an hour. And pick-ups can be 45 minutes. Plus the waiting room is small, usually kind of dirty, and overcrowded. It’s like the public hospital ER, except more of the patients will try and lick your hand.
So the other night, there I was, waiting to pick up my little shaggy monster after he got his dental cleaning. (This may sound silly to those not in the know, but small dogs often need their teeth cleaned–and it requires general anaesthetic!) And I am waiting for a bit. And while I am waiting, a twenty-something couple with a pair of pugs in tiny human t-shirts are getting more and more agitated.
It becomes apparent that the receptionist is having trouble finding their file. And she has asked them a few times to spell their last name. And though his woman is trying to get him to calm down, saying, “let’s not have an argument here,” the man completely loses it, after spelling his name and the dogs’ a few more times, he jumps up and starts yelling. What-kind-of-a-place-are-you-people-running, etc., etc.
And he throws (yes throws) his little pug down on the floor, rather too roughly for my taste. And as the woman gathers the pugs and watches, the man waves his arms and tells off first the receptionist and then the good doctor, who has heard what’s going on and come out. More words are exchanged, and the exasperated-but-still-cool doctor asks the young man to leave and go to another animal hospital.
This makes the man even angrier, as he grabs what looks to be a laptop case, “What do I look like to you? Some trash off the street?” And as the woman is taking the dogs towards the door, the man comes in for a final approach, pointing at the doc’s sign-in sheet and saying, “You’re lucky. If my name wasn’t on this piece of paper, I’d bash your face in!”
Then the vet tells his good receptionist to call 911, and the man expresses more horror at this latest insult directed towards him. As the vet repeats the request, the man exits, and for several minutes can be heard raving in anger as he goes down the street.
The thing is, I think I know what he feels like. The place can be a pain–all that waiting after a long day. And didn’t I have my own frustration earlier this week when I thought the customer service in the physician’s office was exceptionally bad? Though I personnally did not go medieval on anyone’s ass, the leap from frustration to anger and threats seems to snowball these days: in the post office, the grocery store, at stoplights in cars, people are losing their cool left and right.
When the man was well gone and my dear mutt was being presented to me with his newly odor-free grin, I said to the vet, “You know, I always worry when someone goes off like that, what if he has a gun or a knife?”
The good vet took my left hand and held it to his hip. “That’s why I carry this.”
It isn’t often I touch a man’s loaded gun.
I wondered later if what the angry-pug-man needed was not a visit to our friend in Times Square. Tell him off for $2.00. Hell, it would be my treat.
Note to my readers: something funny was going on with my site this week. I could not log on for three days, though the site stayed up. I think it’s passed now. And to those who did not see comments appear for a while–comments are moderated. And usually up within a day. But this week, I could not moderate them while the site was down. They are up and running again. Comments do work, and I love them, so please keep ‘em coming!
I have nothing to say to you right now.
You didn’t do anything, honey. It’s me. I just have nothing to say. No, I’m not sad, I just have nothing to say.
Well, as usual, I have one thing to say, but I thought it might bore you. You want to hear it? Okay, but don’t say I did not warn you.
gmail, baby. What the heck? I got an invite, thanks Laura. And I kind of appreciate the vast improvements over hotmail and yahoo. But there is one glaring problem with gmail: you have to hit “More Options” before you get an option to “trash” (delete) a message.
In my world, I want to see a button while I am looking at the post, and I want to click the button, and email-be-gone. But no, gmail makes this into a two-step process. And honey, I do not have time for that.
And to make matters worse, there are oodles of keyboard shortcuts for composing, searching, etc. ad infinitum, but damnit, no shortcut for deleting. Why can’t I hit the ampersand key or control+d and delete something?
Hello! I know gmail is designed so you can archive everything, but you people obviously have no idea how much email the verbal chameleon gets. No idea. And you have no concept, obviously, that most of what passes through my email, like most of what passes through my mailbox, is just plan not archivable. By a long shot.
And you people obviously have no idea how quickly someone can use up 1000 MB from their main email account, if they use your silly archive feature to archive everything. I am a recovered pack-rat, man, and I do not need this kind of system to bring me back to the gutter. Like vodka to a drunk, your gmail is to a recovered archiver.
That’s all I had to say. I feel a bit better now.
Update (1/24): My, that was a pointless rant, I do apologize. It turns out I just needed to figure out what I was doing. “Show Options” yields a two-step-delete process. but “More Actions” drop-down menu just one drop-down to delete. What an idiot I can be, eh? Well, I am laying it all on the table for you folks. And the verbal chameleon is a big enough woman to say she was wrong. Maybe I was just too tired to deal with the tiniest learning curve the other day. Or maybe I needed a good rant. In any case, thanks for nodding patiently, and not telling me I was an eejit.
Despite not being a very materialistic person, really, I do have a few possessions that I’m quite fond of: for their utilitarian value, of course. And in the coming socialist revolution, like good bread and subway passes, all the people should have them, and a mac to hook them up to.
I love the iPod. Yes, it is way overpriced and imperfect in many ways. And product hype can be ever so annoying.
But Dell CEO Kevin Rollins seems to be sowing some sour grapes when he compares it to another product he sees as a flash-in-the-pan (!), the Sony Walkman:
In an interview with Silicon.com, Kevin Rollins claimed the product faced an uphill struggle to capitalize on the success of the iPod and sustain it into the future, drawing parallels with Sony’s Walkman. “It’s interesting the iPod has been out for three years and it’s only this past year it’s become a raging success. Well those things that become fads rage and then they drop off. When I was growing up there was a product made by Sony called the Sony Walkman – a rage, everyone had to have one. Well you don’t hear about the Walkman anymore. I believe that one product wonders come and go. You have to have sustainable business models, sustainable strategy.”
I’m sorry, what? You don’t hear about the Walkman anymore? The Sony Walkman was huge. Yes, it was an overpriced brand-name item, and most normal folks got a cheap knock-off. But my generation spent our pre-teen and teenaged years wrapped in individual musical comfort and oblivion. It was revolutionary. In the States, “Walkman” (like Kleenex and Band-Aid and Jell-O) was one of those brand-names which managed to morph into a generic noun: what could be a better sign of the lasting hold a product has had on the populace? (In contrast, in Britain, where as a general rule brand names are not substituted as generic nouns, people have “personal stereos.” But in the U.S. it was always a “walkman,” no matter who made it.)
Yes, portable music killed quality audio, ruins our hearing, and makes everyone into anti-social hermits. But as much as I love music, I’ve never owned a really good stereo. And as a teenager, I would have been an anti-social hermit in the back of the car anyway. Sadly, I believe most families who stopped talking to one another did so well before they plugged into their headsets.
Since I stopped being a teenager, my use of personal stereo-type devices has been relegated to use in transportation and, only very occasionally, while walking down the street. Like when I tried to learn a few phrases of Polish on my way to work before a recent trip. Or when listening to Ben Kweller cheered up my commutes during a stressful and busy first week-on-the-job.
And I do lament the loss of hearing which I am convinced those headphones blaring U2′s War for most of the 80′s engendered. Or did it? My dad started to have trouble hearing in crowded bars and restaurants when he was 30, a good ten years before he started to listen to Offenbach on a personal stereo. (By the way, I’m not losing my hearing by a long shot, Thank God, but I do have trouble hearing people around a table in a crowded bar or restaurant.)
It’s true, I am an Apple junkie. They’re not perfect, but the company just seems to have a handle on user-friendly interfaces. I am the first to admit they need to bring prices down in order to get the world on board with their superior personal computing platform. They also need to listen to their users more carefully: the new under-$500 Apple Mini is a nice idea, but only for people who have a monitor lying around. The iPod Shuffle is ridiculously overpriced. And I don’t get the need for an iPod photo at all. Hasn’t everyone been asking for an Apple-designed PDA for years?
And yes, I think if I had a Creative Zen or an iRio or whatever-the-heck, I’d love it too. (Hey, especially if it was orange or pink.) It’s the utilitarian value, after all, (and the color!) that matters. But there’s something to be said for a well-made ground-breaking invention. Where’s that box of Kleenex?
Photos above from iPods Around the World at iPod Lounge.
Thank God for the Freedom of Information Act. In this beautiful new century, we can have full knowledge of just how truly idiotic our government officials can be.
The Sunshine Project brings to light many such instances, but I draw your attention to one particular gem, demonstrating that among its grand schemes to harrass the enemy, the US considered producing chemicals which would purportedly cause the enemy to engage in sexual (and preferably homosexual) activities, with the expectation that this would be to the detriment of discipline and morale.
What the planners may not have been taking into account here is that unlike the other chemicals proposed in the report, which attract stinging bugs and bees, for example, an aphrodisiac might improve enemy morale–if troops are turned on, who’s to say they won’t be happier? More disciplined? Well, okay, I guess I see their point, they would probably not be more disciplined. But I bet the enemy would enjoy this much more than storms of stinging wasps.
Harassing, Annoying, and “Bad Guy” Identifying Chemicals (redacted)
US Air Force Wright Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB (OH)
Comment: This “non-lethal” chemical weapons proposal from the US Air Force proposes development of a variety of chemical weapons, such as: “One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behaviour”. Other chemicals proposed includes ones that “made personnel very sensitive to sunlight”, and that “attract stinging and biting bugs, rodents, and larger animals” to enemy positions.
Other Sunshine Project non-lethal weapons files are located here.
I could not believe this when a well-read librarian directed me to it, but it appears to be legit.
If the US government can conceive of a gay spray, is a right-wing fundamentalist spray far off?
When you’re running around or driving around in winter, and it’s cold, and you’re busy, and exhausted, what’s better than a nice cup of coffee? Well, first you have to find a nice cup of coffee. Not so easy in these here parts, if your definition of “nice” means the stuff is freshly-made.
I am sick, sick I tell you, of people who talk about Dunkin’ Donuts bleedin’ coffee, and how bloody wonderful it is. In Queens, NY, where good coffee is hard to find on the run, I have been into three Dunkin’ Donuts establishments in as many weeks, in my errand-running, and the stuff was sludge: sitting-around-all-evening-coffee. Nasty! And yes, I did actually go in just for coffee. I guess that is my mistake. What people mean when they rave about Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is that “it’s so good when there’s a doughnut stuck in it.” I’m so disgusted, I even hate that little apostrophe where they’ve cut off the “g” from their name.
Come to think of it now, I did once have good coffee there, but it’s so long ago now, and it certainly was not in NYC.
Yes, yes, I hear you say, it’s the old big-business-capitalism-sucks truism, well of course. I’d prefer to frequent the businesses of real people, but mom-and-pop-deli’s coffee has been sitting for hours. And to be sure, it goes without saying I would much prefer a nice one-of-a-kind-cafe in my ‘hood, like Brasil or Ten-63 or if I’m on that little island next door, The Porto Rican Importing Co. (They don’t have the seating or ambience of Ten-63 or Brasil, but they have some dynamite beans, including Fair Trade varieties, and coffees-to-go.) But sometimes, when you’re out and about, travelling an hour back home to go to a decent coffee place just isn’t convenient.
If being American means we like Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, then I am definitely not American. Come to think of it–and after 11/2, this does warm the cockles of my heart–maybe I’m not actually living in America. After all, more languages are spoken in Queens, NY than in any other place on earth. Now if someone on Northern Blvd. or Queens Blvd. could just sell me some coffee right quick–and it goes without saying, there’s no Starbucks when you want one–when I’m away from dear old LIC, this could just about be a perfect place.
Well, I finished the book, and it was a worthwhile read. Well-written. Galloway really understands how to convey the mundane world of depression without boring a reader. And I have never been really, really depressed like the ironically named main character Joy is. But I have had my moments, and seen worse ones in friends. Because even in the depths of depression, some stuff is just funny. What struck me as most odd was that these institutionalized depressed characters are in the bin for months it seems, and they meet a shrink almost never. It’s all drugs, sleeping, occupational therapy (making Christmas decorations, making cookies), and unmitigated angst. It sounds so boring, so utterly depressing. I wonder if this is a typical experience these days (the book is set in the 80′s, I think, around when it was written). Can you imagine going into a hospital for depression and not getting talk therapy? Wow.
One of “the tricks” the narrator discovers that non-depressed people have, or so she figures, is they “don’t mind” what bothers them. This reminded me of Lily Tomlin’s tour-de-force one-woman show The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life… (written by Jane Wagner), which I saw on video ten years ago and then in its revival on Broadway dahlink a few years ago. I think videos of one-person shows seem long, by nature, but I enjoyed the video well enough. The play, though–tour de force, of course, of course. Tomlin is way cool. She should do more movies with Tom Waits. Hell, everyone should do more films with Tom Waits. but I digress.
Anyhoo, one of the refrains from “Search for Signs,” the catchphrase of the teenaged girl character, was “The trick is not to mind it…” And Galloway took me right back there. Is the trick to suffer whatever, put up with all kinds of shit, and not care, shrug it off?
And this reminds me of another book (since I’m at it): Michael Frayn’s novel The Trick of It. This one is also enjoyable and well-written, though very different. But what I love, as an academic-type gal, is the premise: an English prof studies and, is the world’s authority on a living writer, and Reader, he marries her. Who has not fallen in love with a writer? Who has not wondered what would happen if you actually met the object of your obsession? I was once a Joycean (and being a lapsed Joycean is like being a lapsed Catholic–it never really leaves you). Were he alive, could I stand the man? Did his feet smell?
That’s a bad example, though. For Joyce’s true love Nora is said never to have read his books. So obviously, he would not fall for one of those who pored over The Wake, extracting the names of rivers and lines from old songs out of passages of gobbledygook. (Believe me, I say gobbledygook with admiration.)
And what of the author I most adore, (and this is where I confess to you, my two blog readers, my deepest secret): I love Arthur Nersesian. I love Arthur Nersesian. I do not know him. but he’s amazing. Check him out.
Oops. It’s 2am again. And I mind it.
Hmmm… podcasts are fun. What is podcasting? See iPodder. I am right now listening to a really bad Air America feed of Morning Sedition (bad audio–tinny and full of echoes–but too soon to see if it is a bad show).
But the individual podcasts–made by Jane and Joe Schmos around the world–that I’ve checked out have been veddy interestink and been of MUCH higher audio quality. For example, the engagiing Dawn and Drew Show, which I checked out after Bicyclemark blogged about it. Come on, Air America. I haven’t listened to them on the clunky normal radio yet, but their RSS audio feeds are crap. What is with that?
Oops. I think I am giving off a lot of rants lately. Sorry for the pent-up hostility. The you-know-whos have stopped barraging me with random comments as per the last few days of hell, so I should chill out now.