Archive for April, 2008

Thu 24 Apr 2008 9:00 am   //   Posted in: Music, Right now, Videos

Geek rockers conquer the world

Right now Flight of the Conchords has the number one album on iTunes.

Seriously? A quasi-fictitious novelty folk duo from New Zealand has the number one album? We knew them when!

My favorite thing about The Conchords’ HBO show is its use of weird, unglamorous New York locations… like Flushing Meadows, and the far Lower East Side, and wherever the heck this park is. After “Sex and The City,” HBO owed us big time.

Here’s a clip of The Conchords performance of “Sello Tape”… part of which takes place on an MTA bus:

Wed 23 Apr 2008 3:27 pm   //   Posted in: Media, Technology’s postmodern non-sequitur T-shirts

This is either the best or the worst idea CNN has ever had.

Wed 23 Apr 2008 9:00 am   //   Posted in: In the news

Reality copy editing

Obsessive? ABC News follows the “human spell check” on a tour of Hollywood. I wonder what would happen if they turned this guy loose to edit the signs on Coney Island?

Related: Jeff Deck’s Typo Eradication Advancement League, more press coverage.

(Tip: Thanks Tricia!)

Tue 22 Apr 2008 10:23 pm   //   Posted in: Music, Typography

New R.E.M. video uses a cool font

Is there an award for Best Use of Typography in a Music Video? If so, it should go to R.E.M.’s “Hollow Man” video.

Tue 22 Apr 2008 11:00 am   //   Posted in: Food & drink, Planet earth, The suburbs

Earth Day every day, every few years

For as long as I can remember, kind of like the cycle of cicadas, there are occasional random years when everybody gets in to ecology. New ideas emerge each time. Each time we hope for the bad ideas to go away (water-saving shower heads?) but for the good ideas to stick (like curbside recycling). But what about the good ideas that somehow got forgotten?

Think back before texting, before satellite radio, before Purell, when we were riding around in minivans, playing Duck Hunt, watching Police Academy movies. This was before carbon offsets, before hybrid cars, before An Inconvenient Truth. But a different brand of conservation was in fashion. The suburban tradition of the balloon launch was scrapped out of concern for the birds. We celebrated Earth Day in school assemblies. I remember businesses actually showing an environmental conscience. Supermarkets collected garbage bags for recycling and McDonald’s had recycling bins in its restaurants for paper and styrofoam.

In our town, convenience stores sold insulated plastic mugs for coffee. If you bought one and kept reusing it, you got a discount each time you bought coffee at the store. My mom, who was mainly a tea drinker, had one in the car. So did every other mom I knew. This was a sensible idea and eliminated disposable coffee cups.

Today, this idea has been completely forgotten. Why? Blame Starbucks. Now if you drive up to a Starbucks, you drive away with a hot drink in a paper cup with a plastic lid and a cardboard sleeve, all disposable. The flow at an espresso bar doesn’t allow a customer to hand the barista a reusable cup and have it handed back filled with coffee. It would gum up the works. Plus it would seem so… down-market! And as goes Starbucks, so goes Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, 7-Eleven, the supermarket, everywhere.

Coffee cups are a needless waste. Lately, Starbucks seems good at solving problems. They should solve this one.

Mon 21 Apr 2008 9:00 am   //   Posted in: Transit

Ghosts of the subway

Canal street abandoned ghost subway platformFrom Sunday’s Times:

“Other than subway buffs, few people know about this long-empty platform in the underbelly of the subway station at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.”

Subway buffs know about many others, too…

At few stations, dusty ghost platforms idle conspicuously next to the current platforms. Good examples are Chambers Street in Manhattan and Hoyt-Schermerhorn in Brooklyn.

If you’re waiting for an R train at City Hall on the Broadway line, peer down the blocked-off stairway and check out the unused lower level there.

There’s a seldom-seen ghost platform parallel to the JMZ line at Canal Street, so old that the tracks have been ripped out (see photo – shown through the gap in the wall on the uptown platform).

Some empty platforms are only visible from trains. There’s a slew of ghost platforms on the 6 line, including the shuttered 18th Street stop, the old Worth Street station just north of Brooklyn Bridge, and the famously abandoned original City Hall platform.

When the odd weekend F train runs on the Culver line express track, you can see the ghost platform below the Bergen Street stop. And on the BMT lines approaching the Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn, you can make out where the Myrtle Avenue stop used to be.

Much more of this stuff at and Joseph Brennan’s Abandoned Stations.

Sun 20 Apr 2008 12:00 pm   //   Posted in: No right to be good, Technology

My TVs are so converted

TV Converter box coupon

Since I don’t subscribe to cable, I’ll need a converter box to keep getting over-the-air TV when the digital switch happens next year. This has to do with making more spectrum available for big telecom companies that are paying billions of dollars to the government.

Throwing us a bone for this inconvenience, the government is offering $40 coupons to offset the cost of digital converter boxes. I got my coupons in the mail last week. I wondered: Would all my channels come in crystal clear? Or would I now get no TV whatsoever?


Sat 19 Apr 2008 10:03 am   //   Posted in: In the news, Music, Videos

What would Jay-Z do?

U.S. Senator Barack Obama actually brushed the dirt off his shoulders.

Some people didn’t get it (explained by the Washington Post Style section):

“The move illustrated both a generational and a cultural gap: On MSNBC host Joe Scarborough’s show yesterday, The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen said the shoulder shaking was ‘contemptuous and aloof’ and ‘not smart.'”

Let’s check in with YouTube and see if the Internets got it:

Fri 18 Apr 2008 6:14 pm   //   Posted in: New York is different

Something actually living in the East River

Reuters: NY police on Pope watch snatch river beaver

A clunky headline, to be sure. But when was the last time you published a sentence that contained the words “snatch,” “beaver” and “Pope?”

Fri 18 Apr 2008 12:26 pm   //   Posted in: Media

Probably not Time’s best cover ever

Time cover Iwo Jima flag tree green issue

Here’s a post I just wrote for our blog at work, PDNPulse: Time: Marines Raise A Tree?! Over Iwo Jima