Archive for May, 2008

Thu 22 May 2008 9:29 am   //   Posted in: Failure, Food & drink

Call it a comeback

If Indiana Jones can pull off a comeback, what else?

How about Crystal Pepsi.

It was 1993. With fanfare, a Van Halen song, a Super Bowl ad and a bus wrap, PepsiCo introduced a clear cola soft drink. It was good, if not amazing – a mild, sweet, citrus-y alternative to regular Pepsi, sans caffeine. After the marketing push, the beverage flopped and was quickly discontinued. No one will ever drink Crystal Pepsi again.

Or will they? Somewhere at Pepsi headquarters, the mothballed recipe is sitting in a file drawer (or perhaps on a computer). Some middle manager in the company has seen the online petition, has read blog posts like this one, is aware of the current wave of 90s nostalgia. This person is itching to bring it back. Clearly, Crystal Pepsi would be a hit, if only for a couple of months.

Make it happen! Resurrect this soft drink while people still remember it. Maybe in a limited batch, Pepsi Holiday Spice-style. Or do a promotional tie-in with some movie, a comedy set in the past perhaps? You could even orchestrate the return the 16-ounce glass soda bottle. The public awaits.

No idea what I’m talking about? Learn more about Crystal Pepsi here.

Wed 21 May 2008 6:59 am   //   Posted in: Technology, Travel

Smoke and mirrors

Brian, who is working on relaunching a hostel in Rio de Janeiro, is keeping a blog about the experience. This week he looks into the shady world of online travel booking sites.

“Internet travel booking seems to be going through a smoke & mirrors faze, the same is true for Hotwire and Orbitz, right? In 10 years, you cannot imagine so many ‘companies’ pretending to be competing when in fact they are one in the same.”

Good luck figuring it all out, Brian. P.S. – Cool logo!

Tue 20 May 2008 10:04 am   //   Posted in: Media

Nineties are the new 2.0

I ended up at a rooftop bar in midtown last night at the Wired magazine 15th anniversary party. Why they held it in New York rather than San Francisco was left unexplained, but probably has something to do with advertising.

Fifteen years! The editor, Chris Anderson, gave a pep talk reminiscing about the old days of the ‘net… Telneting into Gopher and such.

As part of this nostalgia trip, Wired just announced that it will revive Hotwired and Webmonkey, two defunct sites that were part of the pre-Condé Nast Wired empire. (Wired has also acquired the tech site Ars Technica.)

Part of the fun of Wired is that it’s often wrong. The magazine has always looked a few steps beyond reality, cheering on the next big thing with enthusiasm, even if the next big thing is destined to die on the drawing board. If you’re paying attention, you can usually sort Wired’s stories into two baskets: ideas that are actually solid reporting, and science fiction.

But a 15th anniversary celebration? These are computers we’re talking about. If there’s a problem with the current tech-retro craze (see: Steampunk), it’s that it romanticizes the technologies of the past. To me, that’s like waxing poetic about the old days of dentistry. By any standard, things are better now than they were then. Wired is still a pretty good read, and a good agitator for innovation. It should do the 15th anniversary thing fast – for the advertisers – and move on. We don’t want Wired ending up as one of those semi-relevant magazines that puts out a self-congratulatory retrospective every couple of issues (see: Rolling Stone).

Sun 18 May 2008 9:26 pm   //   Posted in: Art, Videos

Two more photo festival videos

Video 4:

Video 5:

Fri 16 May 2008 12:22 pm   //   Posted in: Art, Brooklyn, Videos

Video from the New York Photo Festival

Now usually I don’t do this. But I’m trying something new at work: Video. These clips are shot with a crew of one (me) on inexpensive video equipment (a Canon FS100 digital camcorder) and consumer-grade editing software (iMovie). It’s a start.

Below are links to some videos I recorded Wednesday and Thursday at the New York Photo Festival in Brooklyn. Feel free to poke fun as I channel my inner Kurt Loder.

Video: Lesley A. Martin at NYPH
Video: Tim Barber at NYPH
Video: Kathy Ryan and Simon Norfolk at NYPH

Fri 16 May 2008 12:11 pm   //   Posted in: Media

Good online multimedia

Earlier this year I helped judge the multimedia category of the 2008 Deadline Club Awards.

Congratulations to Newsweek, which won for its online package about soldiers killed in Iraq. Check out what good multimedia journalism looks like: “Voices of the Fallen.”

Thu 15 May 2008 10:00 am   //   Posted in: Brooklyn, TV

Real World: Gowanus?

From an MTV press release:

“Riding high on the successful launch of an accelerated, action packed 13-week episode cycle with more favorite Real World drama packed into 1-hour episodes, MTV has greenlit the hit reality series for a 21st season. Production will move from the west coast to the east coast as Bunim-Murray Productions begins shooting in Brooklyn, NY this summer. Continuing with the new format of expanding the episodes to one-hour, the network has ordered 12 episodes of ‘The Real World: Brooklyn‘ which is scheduled to premiere in Q1 2009.”

Unclear at this time where in Brooklyn the show will take place; some blogs are guessing Carroll Gardens or Williamsburg. If I were in charge, I’d put it in Dumbo.

Also: The 21st season! The Real World first aired in 1992. Wow, I feel old.

Wed 14 May 2008 9:38 am   //   Posted in: Movies

Guy movies

The Sex and the City movie is coming out soon, and it’s mandatory for everyone in New York to see it. Hey, I don’t make the rules. For the sake of contrast, here’s a list of excellent movies with no (or virtually no) female speaking parts:

  • Twelve Angry Men
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • Master & Commander: The Far Side Of The World
  • Glengarry Glen Ross
  • Ice Station Zebra
  • The Shawshank Redemption

There are lots of war movies that fit this description, too, but that’s not really my genre. Can you think of any additions to this list?

Tue 13 May 2008 10:00 am   //   Posted in: Music, TV commericals, Videos

Slightly more productive

They Might Be Giants have recorded a whole series of Dunkin’ Donuts commercials. Here are two of the latest ones.



Mon 12 May 2008 7:34 am   //   Posted in: Art

Cool map exhibition in Baltimore

On Saturday, I was in Baltimore and went to the Walters Art Museum with my brother, my dad and my friend Tim.

The temporary exhibition at the Walters is a show on historic maps. It might now sound like much of a show, but it’s the big art event right now in Baltimore, and it’s worth all the hype. If you’re interested in geography, design, and the graphical representation of information, you should find a reason to get to Maryland and see it.

More information on the exhibit and the Baltimore Festival of Maps.