Archive for July, 2008

Thu 31 Jul 2008 10:00 am   //   Posted in: Labeling

Don’t talk about hipsters

Writing in Adbusters, Douglas Haddow has one of the most thoughtful essays I’ve seen on the subject of hipsters. He concludes: “The hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new.”

Problems here. First, don’t waste ink on hipsters. Write about people who do stuff.

Second, Western civilization is going to be fine. Being hipster is an easy front. Behind them there are a lot of less vain young people getting work done, logging on, mixing-and-matching their own culture.

Third, hipsters aren’t a cultural movement as much as an economic tier. Rich kids ride fixies.

Wed 30 Jul 2008 8:37 am   //   Posted in: Misc

About those vacation pictures…

I have my photos from Yosemite, but they still aren’t posted. Sorry. Working on it, should have them up by this weekend.

Wed 30 Jul 2008 8:36 am   //   Posted in: In the news

Facts don’t matter

Recently, an e-mail accused Barack Obama of refusing to meet with the troops in Afghanistan. It was so base a lie that the writer of the e-mail, when contacted by the Army Times, immediately disavowed it. But I bet people are still forwarding it and believing it. It’s becoming clear that some Americans – especially those uninformed, disinterested losers known as “swing voters” – will believe even the flimsiest lies about Barack Obama.

This is a theme this election that I can’t stop thinking about. Why are people so willing to be misled? It’s not that people don’t have access to true facts about the candidates. It’s not that they can’t figure it out. It’s that they choose to ignore facts, preferring instead the safe ignorance of their own prejudices.

Related: Check out the ever-growing Snopes page on Barack Obama, and Obama’s site Fight the Smears.

Update: The Washington Post has a detail-rich story about how the McCain campaign amplified and repeated a lie about Obama refusing to meet troops.

Wed 30 Jul 2008 8:00 am   //   Posted in: Music, TV, Videos

Ben Lee TV

I dig this 1990s-inspired music video for Ben Lee’s “American Television”:

Tue 29 Jul 2008 12:00 pm   //   Posted in: Typography, Videos

Ransom always was a bad font

This video is kind of silly, but I feel compelled to link to it.

Mon 28 Jul 2008 11:48 pm   //   Posted in: Bicycles, Planet earth, Transit

Critical Mass meets Officer Danger

The last Friday of every month in major cities, a pack of cyclists takes over the streets with the Critical Mass demonstration bike rides. By terrible luck, I got caught in San Francisco’s Critical Mass in my rental car last week.

I support Critical Mass; I participated in it once in New York. But it’s not really my thing, since it reminds me too much of 1990s-style anti-globalization protest politics. I’ve said before that the best way to get people riding bikes is to make cycling so mainstream that practically everybody finds it normal and appealing. And as more people ride bikes, the streets will change to accommodate them, and things will get better for all cyclists. That was the initial idea behind Critical Mass, as I understand it.

But one police officer patrolling the Critical Mass ride in New York last Friday had other ideas, as seen in this YouTube video…

The stupid actions of one violent cop put several cyclists at risk of injury, and will doubtlessly fan a lot of negative feelings in the bike community. Not cool. (The 22-year-old rookie officer, meanwhile, has been stripped of his badge and gun, per the Post.)

Mon 28 Jul 2008 7:58 am   //   Posted in: Travel

Flying on Sunday

I’m back in New York, and am heading to work this morning for the first time in a week. I had a nice vacation in California and will post pictures soon.

I’ve determined that it’s a poor idea to fly into any New York airport on a Sunday. Yesterday afternoon my otherwise on-time Virgin America flight was on the approach to JFK when the pilot announced we would be circling the sky over Pennsylvania for a while. (Cause: “Weather.”) After an hour or so the plane began to run low on fuel. The pilot put us down at the Lehigh Valley airport in Allentown. We sat there for an hour or so and then flew on to JFK, touching down about three hours late. But we didn’t have it that bad — a Delta flight scheduled to leave JFK yesterday morning sat on the tarmac for seven hours before the flight was finally canceled.

Recall that last month I got stuck in Charlotte trying to fly into New York on Sunday.

Sat 26 Jul 2008 8:55 pm   //   Posted in: Travel

End vacation

Hello from San Francisco. I’m flying back to New York tomorrow after some time out west. I spent five nights camping in the Sierra Nevadas and Yosemite National Park with my friend Doug, and some time here in the Bay Area with my friend Millie. Photos and more stories to be posted soon.

Fri 18 Jul 2008 10:23 am   //   Posted in: Travel

The right way to silence your cell phone

When planning a vacation, I consider it important to check my phone company’s coverage map. Here’s where I’ll be next week:

That looks perfect!!

Thu 17 Jul 2008 7:32 am   //   Posted in: Food & drink, In the news

Why so serious?

I let my subscription to the New Yorker run out, so I missed getting a paper copy of this week’s Barack and Michelle Obama cover. No matter, I saw it anyway (just like everybody who watches cable TV or reads blogs) before the magazine was even released. Why are we still printing things on paper?

The cover led to a New York Times story about how it’s hard to write jokes about Barack Obama.

“Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay” somehow made fun of a shameful military prison, so if there’s humor in that, I’m sure there’s humor in the Obama campaign somewhere. Especially if you’re not trying too hard. I’m sure Leno and Letterman are pulling it off. Ditto with JibJab.

I have to be honest, I never found JibJab vidoes especially funny, and they seem to play things awfully safe for satire. But it is what it is. The new one about the campaign is pretty cute, and the animation has been stepped up a notch. But can they make fun of Obama? Yeah. The Disneyesque Obama scene seems like it nails it: Obama as Uncle Walt in the Magic Kingdom.

Actually, wait, give me a minute to think about that concept to make sure there’s nothing racist about it.