A heck of a way for the President to get the word out there about student loans to the audience most likely to be directly affected. Well played.
Archive for April, 2012
As her parents did and their parents did, Emmeline is exposed to music we like and is picking up bits and pieces of our music collection that suit her tastes. The latest two additions to her music library culled from our glory days are The The and, incongruously, Scritti Politti.
The The (these days, an SEO nightmare of a name) was the work of Matt Johnson. His first three albums, Soul Mining, Mind Bomb and Infected stand up as some of the best politically-minded pop music of the 80s. Johnson’s songs painted a bleak look at the landscape of 80′s geopolitics, from the rise of the Christian right to the troubles of working class Britain to conflict in the middle east.
It’s depressing, more than two decades later, to see how little things have changed. Though it doesn’t diminish how much ass Matt Johnson’s music kicked.
As far as Scritti Politti goes, Emmeline says she likes Green Gartside’s voice. That’s as good a reason as any.
Gulf seafood deformities alarm scientists – Features – Al Jazeera English: “Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have told Al Jazeera they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP’s 2010 oil disaster.”
Let me say at the outset that I’m peculiarly brand-loyal to Gillette. Perhaps no other company has evoked in me such strong loyalty save Apple. I’ve been using their men’s care products for most of my adult life.
Gillette, of course, tries to find new ways to get people to buy their products every few years. Along with Schick they add new blades to their disposable razor refills, lubricating gel-strips, even powering up their razors using AAA batteries. For the most part, this stuff passes me by – I’m just interested in a simple shave, both my face (away from my beard) and my head. And to that end for several years I’ve stuck with Gillette’s Fusion products. Because that’s what’s worked best for me and I don’t see a need to change.
I have to admit that I’ve been strongly tempted to start doing business with Dollar Shave Club, however. Their clever promotional video went viral on the Internet and their fair pricing for razor refills seemed like a much better alternative than the Gillette refills I’ve been buying. I’ve heard from several Dollar Shave Club customers who are perfectly satisfied.
Then something happened. Gillette started advertising a new device called the Fusion ProGlide Styler. TV ad spots feature Adrian Brody, Andre 3000 and Gael Garcia Bernal, using the device to trim their beards and goatees.
I’m not black and don’t have Brody or Bernal’s coloring, but I’ve worn a goat for years. I’ve been through my share of products from Remington, Norelco, Schick and others designed for beard-wearers, so I was actually a bit excited to see Gillette produce a device specifically for this purpose.
About a week ago I was in the local pharmacy and I saw the Styler on sale for $5 off its regular price of $20. Figuring that’s the best deal I’m likely to get for a while, I snagged one. I haven’t been disappointed.
The Fusion ProGlide Styler is a battery-powered beard trimmer that comes with four attachments. All four are plastic, and clip on and snap off with a button on one side of the Styler. Three of them are designed to trim beards to different lengths. One is equipped with a Fusion ProGlide disposable blade, for shaving the rest of the face.
When beard-trimming, you use the power button to activate a Braun-designed “Power Trimmer.” With the razor attachment, the power trimmer vibrates the Styler with “micro pulses” similar to Gillette’s Fusion Power razor – Gillette claims these pulses make the blades glide more smoothly across the skin with less irritation.
The Styler is watertight, so you can use it in the shower and immerse it if you need to. The trimmer door opens so you can rinse any hair that’s collected under the faucet.
The Styler is edged with black rubber to make it easy to grip when it’s wet, and it has a solid feel that’s chunkier than a regular razor but not unpleasant to hold.
So far, the Gillette ProGlide Styler has replaced two products that used to sit on my bathroom sink – a rechargeable Norelco hair trimmer with no less than a half dozen attachments, and a Gillette Fusion razor. But perhaps more importantly for Gillette, it continues my loyalty to their products at a time when it’s easier than ever to stray.
Why Airport Security Is Broken—And How to Fix It – WSJ.com: “In attempting to eliminate all risk from flying, we have made air travel an unending nightmare for U.S. passengers and visitors from overseas, while at the same time creating a security system that is brittle where it needs to be supple.”
Anyone who travels with any regularity understands what nonsense the TSA is – it’s security theater, not actual security, and it further dehumanizes an already humiliating experience.
Forty years ago air travel was sexy and cosmopolitan and futuristic. Now it’s fucking awful. The TSA and the changes to the industry since 9/11 are big reasons why.
Finding Goatse: The Mystery Man Behind the Most Disturbing Internet Meme in History: “Sometime in the late 20th century a naked man bent over, spread his ass and took a picture. Eventually that picture, known as Goatse, became one of the most venerable memes in internet history. Who is this man, and how did his ass take over the internet?”
Having inflicted Goatse on more than my share of
victims friends over the years and generally finding mirth in the indescribably vile underbelly of the Internet, I have to give Adrian Chen props for going this deep (pardon the pun) to find out the backstory behind the Goatse guy. It’s more than that, though – if you’ve been on the Internet for a long time and you’ve ever wondered how weird, horrible pictures get spread and memes get started, this is worth a read.
Anime Boston 2012 is receding in our rear view mirrors, after three days at the Hynes Auditorium in Boston, where it attracted more than 20,000 people over three days. It was fun, as always, though this year it offered some distinct challenges Bonnie and I haven’t had to deal with in a few years.
Because of finances, we elected to do Anime Boston as day trips rather than getting a room at the Sheraton or one of the other Prudential Center-area hotels. That meant waking up early – 5:30 or 6 AM each morning – getting ready and driving in from the Cape, then getting home after 10 PM each night.
This worked ok for Friday, the first day of the show. Friends of ours who we had dinner with on Friday caught wind of what we were doing and thought it was ridiculous, so they offered to put us up. Their home is about half as far away from Boston as ours, and a 45-minute ride into Boston was a much better option than a 90-minute ride. So on Saturday night we stayed with them, and they even made us a nice hot breakfast on Sunday morning – despite getting ready for an onslaught of relatives for Easter brunch.
The event itself was fun. There was a lot to celebrate – Anime Boston is ten years old this year, and based on attendance figures, hasn’t suffered at all despite being scheduled for the same weekend as another huge nerd culture event, PAX East – the consumer video game show, which happened across town at the Boston Convention and Expo Center.
We’ve been to that each time it’s been held in Boston but this year we didn’t go because of the scheduling. Our first priority is to Anime Boston, which we’ve been going to every year since it started. And, quite frankly, we find the value proposition of AB better than PAX – there’s more to do, eat, and enjoy for less money around AB than there is around PAX.
Each year, Anime Boston changes. Anime is a pop culture phenomenon, after all, and pop culture rapidly changes. It also feels like the audience for the show is getting younger, but the truth is, Bonnie and I are getting older. We went to our first Anime Boston show when we were 32, and now we’re 42. For years, it was just *our* thing, to enjoy without the kids, but now we bring the kids with us. All told, we hope to continue doing it for years to come.