Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday Quote of the Week

"Nature seems (the more we look into it) made up of antipathies: without something to hate, we should lose the very spring of thought and action. Life would turn to a stagnant pool, were it not ruffled by the jarring interests, the unruly passions, of men. The white streak in our own fortunes is brightened (or just rendered visible) by making all around it as dark as possible; so the rainbow paints its form upon the cloud."

~~William Hazlitt, from "On the Pleasure of Hating"

The Jerry Lewis goat

This is just funny. Silly, really.

Friday, September 26, 2008

"No Banker Left Behind": Bailout protest on Wall Street

Yesterday I was in New York and went downtown with my friends in the UAW to take part in the rally to protest the government bailout of Wall Street:

Story from Reuters

Some photos:
WCBS NEWSRADIO 880 - Photo Gallery: Bailout Protested on Wall Street

You can tell a lot about an area by its ancillary businesses. There it was sushi restaurants and health clubs. In parts of Florida it's gun shops and pawn stores. In the Tremont St./Mass Ave. area it's check cashing stores and nail salons. (I don't think there's been an actual study done, but I think that the poorer a neighborhood, the more nail salons it has.) So, of course, I'm thinking the next time I'm in the market for fake nails, I'll head down to Wall Street.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday Quote of the Week

"It is the heart that makes a man eloquent."
~~ Quintilian

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Times are tough, we *all* have to economize

The Wall Street Journal today had a sad story about what the economy is doing to New York's well-to-do. Apparently, they are feeling the pinch along with the rest of us. Poor Brittany almost had to go back to school this year with last year's nose. (Luckily, Mom figured out that if they forewent the private nurse and overnight hospital stay, they could squeeze by.) And then, even if they can afford it, they are passing up caviar on the party menus, because, well, that would just be too showy.

I can relate.

Well, no, I really can't.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Lyric of the Week

"You may be right,
I may be crazy.
But it just may be a lunatic
you're looking for."

~~Billy Joel, "You May Be Right"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"Typo rebels end with a sentence"

I guess it's true, no matter how geeky you think you are, there's always someone geekier. While I admit to copyediting various signage (street signs, store signs, etc.) in my head, I would never actually set out and do it, especially as a vacation. (Read about it in the Toronto Star.)

The renegades with the red pens got nabbed because they bragged about it on their blog. The lesson there–if you've just broken the law, don't advertise it–can be added to the list of common sense lessons, such as the one learned this week by Diane Wilkerson–if you are going to be in the public eye, keep your personal house in order–and the one learned by countless criminals caught on the lenses of Cops–if you are carrying drugs or illegal weapons, don't speed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday Quote of the Week

"A writer who has his sights trained on the Nobel Prize or other earthly triumphs had best write a novel, a poem, or a play, and leave the essayist to ramble about, content with living a free life and enjoying the satisfactions of a somewhat undisciplined existence."
~~E.B. White

Lehman Swag

To put the Lehman meltdown in real terms: Bidding started yesterday at $0.99 for a Lehman water bottle, while stock prices fell to $0.21/share. What more can you say?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Lyric of the Week

Ziggy played guitar, jamming good with Weird and Gilly
And The Spiders From Mars
He played it left hand
But made it too far
Became the special man, then we were Ziggy's band
Ziggy really sang, screwed up eyes and screwed down hairdo

Like some cat from Japan,
He could lick 'em by smiling
He could leave 'em to hang
He came on so loaded man, well hung and snow white tan.
So where were The Spiders, while the fly tried to break our balls?
Just the beer light to guide us,
So we bitched about his fans and should we crush his sweet hands?
Ziggy played for time, jiving us that we were voodoo

The kids were just crass, he was the nazz
With God-given ass
He took it all too far, but boy could he play guitar
Making love with his ego, Ziggy sucked up into his mind
Like a leper messiah
When the kids had killed the man, I had to break up the band

Oh, yeah

Ziggy played guitar

"Ziggy Stardust," David Bowie

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tuesday Quote of the Week

"He had got his frail weekly off the rocky shoals of 1925 and piloted it into safe harbor through Depression and Recession, World War II, and the even greater perils of the McCarthy era. His good ship stood up all the way. He sometimes threatened to quit, and he was at least twice threatened with being fired, but he kept on going like a bullet-torn battle flag, and nobody captured his colors and nobody silenced his drums....He made, as I have said, a lot of friends and lost a few; he made the right enemies and kept them all. Some of the things he touched were smudged, but most of them were stained with a special and lasting light, as hard to describe as the light in a painting."
~~James Thurber describing Harold Ross, founding editor of the New Yorker, in The Years With Ross

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Found: People out at night in Atlanta

And on the third night, there were people.

Friday night, my last night in Atlanta, I got a ticket to see Kathy Griffin at the Fox Theatre. After the conference wrapped up that day, a couple of colleagues and I went out to dinner in a place nearby (I forget the name). We drove by the theater and there were actual people heading toward the theater for the early show, and in the lounges at both hotels across the street, which had been deserted the previous two nights were packed with people.

After dinner, while waiting to head across the street myself for the late show, it was standing room only on the terrace bar where I stopped to have a drink. I became engrossed listening to this conversation amongst these women also on their way to the theater. Either some people shouldn't drink at all, or I should drink more.

This one young woman had recently returned from India. She was talking about...well, as she put it, "It used to be called Bombay, but now that they aren't under England, they call it Bomb-eye [an attempt at her pronounciation]." I thought I just misheard her, but this went on for about five minutes, with her friends in disbelief, amazed at how a political change resulted in a pronounciation change. "Yeah, now they have to pronounce it Bomb-eye." "Bombay, Bomb-eye, tomato, tom-a-to." It was all that I could do to keep quiet. Finally, they got off that and she got all profound and serious. "It really makes you realize how lucky we are over here," she said, describing how much it cost her to take a tour somewhere, "I mean, here we get to choose to have a middle class." I wasn't that close, but I thought she had tears in her eyes. I know I did.

But, anyway, back to Kathy Griffin: The theater itself is gorgeous inside. I know who she is, but I've never seen her show on Bravo. She was extremely funny. While waiting for her to go on, this woman next to me, who had bought a T-shirt and picture, showed me the picture and said, "Isn't she beautiful?" I said yes, but that I thought she was cuter before all that plastic surgery. "Yeah, she's had a lot, but it's a different kind of beautiful now." Who could argue? The woman and her friend also had bought a couple of glasses of champagne each. The other woman dropped something in her glass and then in in her friend's. It turned out to be gummy bears.

That pretty much is as good a metaphor for Atlanta as anything: champagne with gummy bears.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Destined to drink alone

I thought the Newark experience was a fluke.

This week I am in Atlanta for the SPJ (Society for Professional Journalists) conference. Of course, the main purpose of the trip is representing NWU and the conference itself, but then there are the nights.

The first night, Wednesday, I was done at 5:00 and had the whole night to kill. As I left the conference hotel, I noticed that downtown seemed to be emptying out. I went to my hotel (about a ten minute walk down Peachtree Street) to consider my options. I checked out the Fox Theatre, across the street from my hotel, but they were dark for the night. So I had a drink at the terrace of my hotel (yes, the bar was empty) and read a local what-to-do magazine. I found a restaurant with a cigar/jazz club downtown. Of course, I was skeptical. So I called. After some conversation, I found out that the city was pretty much deserted because of the holiday. But the woman assured me there was plenty around, so if I came by and didn't like the scene there, there were other places nearby. She rattled off a few places and then said, "There's also a Hooters; there're always busy." (Luckily it didn't come to that.)

The crowd at the club (Dailey's) was pretty sparse, but it was interesting. The trio was one of a few that rotated regularly, and they had a pretty bizarre set list. I never would have imagined a jazz treatment of Bob Marley.

Last night when I got back from dinner with a colleague who joined me for part of the conference. I went to the hotel next door since the lounge at my hotel was again deserted. This one was deserted, too, but I went out on the patio and there was, surprisingly enough, a piano (electric) player. (I felt like I stepped into a Deep Space Nine episode, where they have the lounge on the holodeck that springs to life when they come in.) It was kinda nice, but all-in-all a little discordant.

The hotel was the Georgian Terrace, the hotel where they had the premiere party for Gone With The Wind, and if you squinted, the ghosts were still there. I couldn't help but think about the changes in the city since then. The hotel and the theater across the street are fine, but the stretch between that and downtown, where the hospital is, is full of boarded up buildings, half-empty $3-a-day parking lots, plenty of churches, and gated parks. And there are signs every block or so that state "This area monitored by video 24 hours a day." The billboard for the theater screams with lighted advertisements for Coca-Cola and Lexus (criticism for the commercialism tempered with the knowledge that if it wasn't for them, the marquee would most likely be dark).

Someone told me that southern cities, unlike northern ones, are not places where people who live there go, and I guess that's true. There are office buildings and conference hotels downtown, and I noticed that after 5, the people that worked there had left and the people walking around at night were mostly from out of town.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesday Quote of the Week

"Deep down, we all know that the real allure of sexuality has about as much to do with copulation as the appeal of food does with metabolic combustion. Trite though it (used to) sound, real sexuality is about our struggles to connect with one another, to erect bridges across the chasms that separate selves. Sexuality is, finally, about imagination."
~~David Foster Wallace