Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.

feb
28
2012

Back from Yet Another Globetrotting Adventure, Indiana Jones Checks His Mail and Discovers That His Bid for Tenure Has Been Denied | McSweeney's Internet Tendency

Andy Bryan writes, “Moreover, no one on the committee can identify who or what instilled Dr. Jones with the belief that an archaeologist’s tool kit should consist solely of a bullwhip and a revolver.”

feb
23
2012

How Waiters Read Your Table | WSJ.com

Sarah Nassauer writes, “Called ‘having eyes’ for a table, or ‘feeling’ or ‘reading’ the table by restaurant workers, it’s how the best waiters know what type of service you prefer before you tell them. From fine dining to inexpensive chains, restaurants are working to make service more individualized as the standard script (‘I’m so-and-so and I will be your server tonight’) is sounding dated.”

feb
22
2012

The Scissor Dance

Musical Instrument Museum

While Rob and I were in Arizona for Christmas, my mom took us up to Phoenix to explore the Musical Instrument Museum, devoted to musical instruments and traditions from around the world. The museum was full of wonderful cultural artifacts …

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(Bonus) Photo of the Day: Invasion of the Domos

This is getting out of hand. #domokun

My desk collection of tiny Domo-kun figures is getting a little out of control. But they’re so fiercely cute!

Photo of the Day: Daffodils

Spring bloom.

We’re getting into one of my favorite times of year here in D.C., where the weather starts to warm up (albeit in fits and starts) and daffodils bloom en masse along the George Washington Parkway. I picked up a small bouquet of daffodils this weekend at Trader Joe’s to brighten up my kitchen.

feb
18
2012

The people scurry by in comical little hops and starts, cups of coffee in their hands, cellphones at their ears, ID tags slapping at their bellies, a grim danse macabre to indifference, inertia and the dingy, gray rush of modernity.

— From “Pearls Before Breakfast,” by Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post (source)

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feb
16
2012

At Work in Syria, Times Correspondent Dies | NYTimes.com

Rick Gladstone writes, “Anthony Shadid, a gifted foreign correspondent whose graceful dispatches for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and The Associated Press covered nearly two decades of Middle East conflict and turmoil, died, apparently of an asthma attack, on Thursday while on a reporting assignment in Syria.” What a tremendous loss. The Post has a collection of some of his Pulitzer-winning work.

feb
10
2012

Damaged Snowman (Plus Frosting Palette)

Photo of the Day: Christmas Cookies

This was taken while decorating Christmas cookies with my siblings in late December.

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feb
09
2012

NPR GOP Delegate Tracker

Looking at GOP delegate trackers from different news organizations, you might notice that they often have different numbers. There are a lot of factors to consider, including whether to factor in projections / estimates, how to interpret state / party rules, or whether to keep tabs on how independent, unpledged RNC members are going to vote (and whether they change their votes later). There’s no one canonical delegate list to refer to.

This week, NPR launched its own delegate tracker. It’s likely among the most conservative out there in terms of delegate allotment (right now we have MItt Romney at 73 delegates, while the New York Times has him at 93, and the AP at 112), but the goal is to tally up only those delegates that have been officially or unambiguously apportioned — no estimates or projections based on what’s “likely” to happen, no unpledged delegates whose vote could change at any time.

NPR Delegate Tracker

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feb
08
2012

Who Pinched My Ride? | OutsideOnline.com

When thieves stole his beloved ­commuter bike on a busy street in broad daylight, Patrick Symmes snapped — and set out on a cross-­country plunge into the heart of ­America’s bike-crime underbelly.”

My Dinner With Clay Shirky, and What I Learned About Friendship | Media Decoder | NYTimes.com

David Carr on online / offline interactions and relationships. “As it turns out, Mr. Shirky became very good at bread eating at a young age, so his mother decided that he should also be good at bread making. We all chewed on the bread as Mr. Shirky told the story of learning how to make bread as a 10-year-old. Now, he could have told that story in a blog post or in an e-mail chain, but it became a very different story because we were tasting what he talked about. The connection in an online conversation may seem real and intimate, but you never get to taste the bread. To people who lead a less-than-wired existence, that may seem like a bit of a ‘duh,’ but I spend so much interacting with people on the Web that I have become a little socially deficient.”

feb
06
2012

Photo of the Day: Morning Commute

Morning commute.

WMATA Yellow Line. Friday morning.

Halftime Show

All the talk about Super Bowl halftime shows brought back memories of my all-time favorite: U2 in 2002. It was a strong performance made all the more powerful by the strong emotions of that time. It was perfect for that moment and, watching it again 10 years later, still makes me a little teary-eyed.

(If you can’t see the video above, it’s available on YouTube.)

feb
02
2012

Cottages at Sunrise

Delaware Cottage Weekend

Rob has been musing aloud for months about wanting to rent a cottage by the beach in Delaware and spend a week away — perhaps using that time to dig in on a subject he’s especially wanted to study or …

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The iEconomy

If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend The New York Times’ new series about the economics of Apple’s supply chain and working conditions at the Chinese plants that manufacture Apple products. Stories so far:

  • How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work” (Jan. 21, 2012)
    Building Apple’s iPhone in the United States would demand much more than hiring Americans — it would require transforming the national and global economies.
  • Video: “The iPhone Economy” (Jan. 20, 2012)
    Apple’s iPhone is a model of American ingenuity, but most of its components are manufactured somewhere else. The decline of manufacturing can lead to the loss of other kinds of jobs, a factor in the American economy right now.
  • In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad” (Jan. 25, 2012)
    A staggering manufacturing system in China has made it possible for Apple and other companies to make devices almost as quickly as they can be dreamed up, but for workers, it can be dangerous.