Archive for April, 2008

Wed 30 Apr 2008 6:13 pm   //   Posted in: Right now

Mobile phone update

New Yankee Stadium, seen from old Yankee Stadium.


Update: Yankees lost to Detroit 6-2.

Wed 30 Apr 2008 9:40 am   //   Posted in: Art, Media

Any Hannah Montana publicity is good publicity

Baltimore Sun art critic Glenn McNatt quoted my editor Holly Stuart Hughes in a story today about Annie Liebovitz‘s photo of Disney Channel star Miley Cyrus:

Miley Cyrus photograph: art – or something else?

(Read my take on this here on the PDNPulse blog.)

Wed 30 Apr 2008 8:00 am   //   Posted in: Media

A letter to NPR

Dear NPR,

I enjoy listing to NPR’s radio news programs. Unfortunately, I fear I am in the company of some royal nitwits. I’m talking about listeners who write letters to NPR. They seem the sort of bookish, pompous asses who you’d cross the room to avoid at a cocktail party.

Take, for example, this letter read last weekend on Weekend Edition Sunday, from a listener bothered by a new segment on blogging:

“Sorry to hear the new segment on NPR, and disappointed that NPR has lowered itself to the status of Fox, CNN and MSNBC by relaying opinions from individuals who have no clue. Blogging is gossip, and just like American Idol, another example of the slow decline of our once-educated society.”

This is no isolated example. NPR letter writers seem in a constant state of irritation, bothered by any and all references to pop culture, rock-and-roll music or contemporary slang. Society, they are convinced, reached its apex some years ago and is sinking fast. They see NPR as the last bastion of high culture, and they are constantly watchful for any sign it is slipping.

Mind you, I have my own criticisms of NPR. (No other mass media company so unabashedly begs for cash, like radio is charity.) But at its best, NPR is brilliantly informative, and at its worst, it’s soothing noise. On balance, NPR’s most serious problem is its audience of faux intellectuals.

In closing, I respectfully ask you to read no more letters from listeners. They make me feel like I’m in the company of losers.


Daryl Lang (standard pronounciation)

Tue 29 Apr 2008 12:00 pm   //   Posted in: Music

We’ve only got 2:42 to save the world

A theory is circulating the Internet that 2:42 is the perfect length for a pop song.

Here are some songs I like that are exactly that length:

  • “California Dreamin'” by The Mamas & The Papas
  • “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash
  • “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell
  • “Teenagers” by My Chemical Romance
  • “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” by Credence Clearwater Revival
  • “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” by Paul Simon

If we allow another second on either side, we get some more classics:

  • “Crazy” by Patsy Kline
  • “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You” by Elvis Presley
  • “Hot Rod Lincoln” by Commander Cody
  • “I’m On Fire” by Bruce Springsteen
  • “Waterloo” by ABBA
  • “This Charming Man” by The Smiths

Hmm, there might be something to this.

Mon 28 Apr 2008 12:00 pm   //   Posted in: Food & drink

Free ice cream

Tomorrow (April 29) is free cone day at Ben & Jerry’s. You’re welcome.

Mon 28 Apr 2008 10:35 am   //   Posted in: Misc

Cell phone advice, please

Sometime this spring, my T-Mobile contract is up and I can get a new cell phone at a discount. I can also jump ship to another provider without paying a penalty. I have no idea what to do.

Currently I have a 600-minute voice plan (which is reasonable enough) and an orange Motorola PEBL, which looks cool but which I have never liked because of the bad keypad and bad software.

Other factors to consider: iPhones and other smart phones are out of the question because I do not want to pay for data service. I need a phone that works internationally, which (unless I am misinformed) limits me to T-Mobile or AT&T. I have had such a poor experience with the PEBL that I will not buy another Motorola product.

My question for you, dear readers: Are you happy with your cell phone? Why or why not?

Sat 26 Apr 2008 10:23 pm   //   Posted in: Movies, Transit

Tony Scott remaking 2 classic subway movies

Walking on Park Avenue above Grand Central today, I saw some “No Parking” signs for a movie shoot: “The Taking of Pelham 123.”

Say what? It turns out they’re remaking the greatest New York City subway movie ever made. The original “Taking of Pelham 123” came out in 1974. The plot concerns a downtown six train (which originates on the Pelham line in the Bronx) hijacked by a cadre of colorful criminals. Unlike some subway movies (ummm…. “Money Train“?) “Pelham” was obsessively faithful to true subway operations. There’s even a great stunt crash above the Astor Place station, right outside the building where I work.

The remaking of “Pelham 123” will star Denzel Washington and John Travolta. (Here’s the IMDB page.) I have just about forgiven Denzel for staring in a two-bit remake of another classic movie, “The Manchurian Candidate.” He won me back with “Inside Man.”

The director of the new “Pelham” movie is Tony Scott. His IMDB page shows he’s also directing a remake of the second-greatest New York City subway movie ever made: “The Warriors.” The IMDB page indicates that this remake is set in Los Angeles. Boo! Moving the Warriors is like moving the Dodgers.

Fri 25 Apr 2008 11:46 am   //   Posted in: Bicycles, Transit

Bike lanes, smart and stupid

New York City has been steadily improving its dismal bike lane situation. In Midtown it’s now possible to travel uptown on 6th Avenue and downtown on Broadway in a clearly marked bike lanes (dodging doors, cabs and delivery trucks, natch). There still isn’t a good way to ride uptown or downtown on the east side, but the bike lane down 2nd Avenue below 14th Street is a good start. Finish it all the way to the Manhattan Bridge, please.

Even if you’re not a cyclist, you might appreciate Slate’s amusing videos about the stupidest bike lanes.

Fri 25 Apr 2008 9:00 am   //   Posted in: Music, Stray data

718s, 202s, I send small cities and states IOUs

A geography expert studied the 2001 song “Area Codes” and concluded: “Ludacris has hoes in the entire state of Maryland.”

Behold Ludacris’ Rap Map of US Area Codes (via the Strange Maps blog).

Thu 24 Apr 2008 4:00 pm   //   Posted in: Misc

Bret and the jets

My friend Bret recently took a lengthy tour of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier. If you’ve ever been curious about these colossal floating airports, check out Bret’s blog:

Peace Through Strength, Part 1
Peace Through Strength, Part 2
Peace Through Strength, Part 3
Flickr photos