Sunday, December 21, 2008

irony alert

So here I am reading the newest issue of Educational Leadership - pretty standard fare for a rainy/snowy Sunday morning. This issue focuses on the (non/mis)use of data. Please turn to page 20 and read the first sentence of the first full paragraph.
I'll wait for those of you who need to get a subscription first.
It reads "Research has emphasized that data disaggregation is essential to effective data use (Johnson, 2002; Lachat&Williams, 2003)."

So (and I hate to have to be the one to point this out), it took 2 studies to show that data needs to be diaaggregated for it to make sense. Are you hearing me? Two NON-DISAGGREGATED studies provided the data showing the need for disaggregation! Why aren't people up in arms about this? My thumbs hurt. I should only become indignant near a full-sized keyboard.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Just a punchline

I thought of a punchline today but have no joke to go with it. It obviously has to do with a south American military group

The Brazilian WACs.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Having moved past milestones

I now return to the mundane task of jotting down those witticisms that appears when the muse descends.

I was planning on making a nice picture for the first but I have abandoned it. The moment is gone.

Horton hears a hubris
Horton hears a hoover

In case of vodka bring glass
In case of dios bring cash

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mea Culpa

I was just looking through a book I read as a child...called The Big Book of Jewish Humor. I discovered that it included a cartoon of an arch with God booming down about putting off the seems that all those years ago, when I drew mine, I was either directly or indirectly influenced (I'll rely on the She's So Fine defense; thank you George Harrison). I hope that I was original in my Rhesus Pieces drawing...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

i'm trapped

I'm writing this from behind enemy lines...I am attending a day of professional development and I somehow wandered into a presentation on introducing mathematical concepts to students. I guess it would make sense to tell you something about myself.
I am no good at math. Sure, I understand why math is important but I find it so impossible that any attempt to learn it makes my eyeballs hurt and my hair bleed.
The guy is going through why certain math definitions are necessary because without them, 1=2, all numbers are equal and infinity is very short. Thing is, I have no problem accepting that 1=2, all numbers are equal and infinity is very short. So here I am, the almost 40 year old, eyes glazing over, feeling pretty stupid and I want to walk out.
He keeps asking "does everyone get it?" And 10 other people laugh and nod their heads because to them, this stuff is not only easy, but also interesting. Horrible, really.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

This just in

A recent study is primed to turn the hygiene world on its lathered and rinsed head as a Swiss consortium released a report indicating that one of the time honored truisms of cleanliness is simply not always true. Coming fast on the heels of the “cleanliness is actually three steps away from Godliness” statement which sent the “wash-your-mouth-out-with-soap” community scurrying, it is being reported in Swiss media that over one-third of all people are actually fully clean even without the benefit of being Zestfully clean. The data, collected by the Geneva based Center for Sanity in Sanitation shows that, when judged by a panel of cleanliness experts, 35% of all those who self reported themselves as having washed and dried themselves into what they would consider complete cleanliness even when no Zest was present actually were considered to have reached that state. The study’s sample of 150 women and 88 men was broken into a control group which used no soap or cleanser, a group which used Zest and a group which used anyone of six other brands of soap product. Of these, 98% of the Zest-using group achieved “fully clean”; this indicates the presence of human error in the application of the soap more than a failure on the part of Zest to provide a deep, refreshing clean, according to consortium members. What was revealed, though, was that almost a third of the non-Zest soap users who felt that they had truly cleaned themselves satisfied the standard of cleanliness and even more surprising, that a small number of the control group, using only water and a loofah, also were considered fully clean. “I have, for years, insisted that I was really, really clean and I thought it was unfair that just because I’m an Irish Spring man, I can’t qualify as fully clean,” confided one study participant who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals from the powerful Zest lobby, “but now I can walk with my head held high and know that being clean as a whistle is just as clean.” Another participant was overheard saying, amidst sobs of joy “The day of the cleanliness monopoly is finally over.”

The shocking statistics came out as the toiletry world is trying to deal with changing societal standards of purity and dirtiness. A representative of the Zest Corporation spoke to reporters just hours after the first bits of this study began to leak saying “It is a sad day when being 99 and 44/100% pure is considered fully clean. We at Zest hold ourselves and cleanliness to a higher standard. This study only reflects pressure from the hand-wash and body-lotion PAC’s and does not really speak for those who prize real cleanliness. We will continue to push our notion of fully-clean aggressively and we maintain our position that while one who uses another soap product may be somewhat, or even pretty much clean, one cannot make a claim to fully-clean without the use of Zest.”

Saturday, October 18, 2008

random musings

Let's say I throw a ball at a mallard -- what do I yell to tell him to get out of the way?

If I am hanging out with a radioactive isotope which is a nerd, do I tell him to get a half-life?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Looks like I'm feeling visual

First off, I came up with a slogan for a new product. True, it is geek-based but I looked and I can't find anyone using this phrase.

Next, I was looking through an old gemara of mine and I found a doodle I had made in (approximately) 1985. Back then, i used my poor cartooning skills to draw all sorts of strange stuff, and could I find it, I would certainly subject you all to my childish punistry. But since I only found this, I'll let you off the hook.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Assorted pun stuff

I have been compiling a couple of pun-based lists. i want to put them down on e-paper so that I can throw those scraps of tissue out.

First list:

Large Amounts

Cotillion -- a lot in the south
Brazillian -- a lot with an accent
Godzillions -- a lot of monsters
Vermillion -- the number of words which qualifies as purple prose
Killian -- a lot of beer

Second list:


A kosher deli sandwich -- Hero Israel
A sandwich made with strips of meat, but with no dressing -- Bump and Grinder
Homer's Open Faced Club Sandwich -- Sub Par
From the city of sisterly love -- The Feminine Cheesesteak

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Impossible

I'm a fan of the Food Network. i like cooking shows and can sit with rapt attention watching a man turn chocolate and sugar into a tennis shoe that 4 judges will say looks like a tennis shoe and merits second place next to a combination of jelly beans and fairy dust that resembles Mel Brooks. I think that Alton Brown may be the best thing to explain sliced bread, and Iron Chef should be an Olympic event. I have even watched this show called "Dinner: Impossible."

I got over the cheesy (ha! food puns...) title and sat down to see how this annoying foreigner could make dinner for 6,000 people out of a pile of rice and a quart of phlegm, all in 23 minutes. Fascinating stuff. So I'm watching Alton (PBUH) discuss the merits of blanching peaches and in the commercial break there is a teaser for the next episode of Dinner: Impossible. In this episode, the intrepid Michael Symon (how pompous is that) has to do the following

"No Pork, No Pressure"
It's the King of all Pork vs. the Rabbi. Chef Michael Symon's mission is to create a kosher meal for the 2,000-year-old celebration of Passover. He must adhere to strict culinary guidelines and face a congregation that has sampled the best of every Jewish mother's cooking.

Come on...Jews everywhere have been cooking like this for a long time and now suddenly having to cook by our quaint rules for one meal turns the battle hardened TV star into a struggling culinary school drop-out?

What's next? Having to cook for a vegetarian? Wow...that must be tough for someone who is so used to wrapping his bacon in bacon. It just confirms what my mother has been saying to me and my siblings for years,

"cooking for you people is impossible!"

Monday, August 11, 2008

Parental Guidance is Requested

I have been wrestling with what my role is as a parent. My instinct is to protect my children. My gut says I have to let them explore the world and make their own mistakes. I wonder what my exact purpose is. So I read. Sadly, I read nothing about parenting so I haven't gotten any good answers from my worn out copy of The Binghamton New York Hadassah Cookbook.

In my role at work as a "teacher" (I put that in quotes to show that I know how to use the shift key) I require that students read things and for the sake of appearances, I occasionally read what I have assigned. So I started tackling summer reading and I read a couple of books. I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and The Things They Carried, and I'm midway through (midway if the book were 30 pages long, but I have started it) The Glass Castle, and these little nuggets of summer tedium have shown me what my job is.

Being a parent requires that we walk a very fine line. It is great if our kids talk about us in glowing terms with their friends. It is acceptable if they say our names in school without spitting. It is even allowable for their childhoods to become fodder for those 45 minute hours at the therapist twice a week. But under no circumstances can we do anything that would motivate our children to write books about their childhood. That's my job – to stay out of print.

I have yet to read a memoir which has such entries as "In third grade, things were pretty much cool," or "and then, we went on vacation. It was ok." Show me a book which recounts such thrilling childhood experiences as "lunch" and "not hating my parents because they raised me normal and sent me to school, and camp and are nice people."

When those books reach the best sellers' chart and replace the "I was born into slavery and then things got really bad" books, then my kids can write about me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

my new handheld

I bought an electronic piece of technlogy that I (as an English teacher) could use on the go and I called it my mobile literary device

it has access to hyperbolinks -- y'know..the BEST WEBSITES EVER

and similinks...sites that are like (or as) other sites

addresses like full of URLiteration and even websites that bring up errors like ErrorMeta404 which compare directly to other sites which don't exist.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

berry berry good

So I'm blogging from my berry (a phrase destined to be understood as a particularly nasty euphemism within the next five years) and I'd have to say that this whole technology thing might actually catch on. Now when a cop pulls me over I can tell him that I wasn't using my phone, I was pricing out Viagra or updating my status.

The names of the various sites are also being exploited. The wife and some friends were messing with Sitonmyfacebook, but I am thinking more outside of the blogs. My initial thought - someone who is too interested in collaborative writing to be in a relationship -- a "wikisexual" already shows 122 hits on a search.

But what about social networking for religious people with lisps? Faithbook anyone?

Or a place where a rodent can post his info? Micespace...

I want a site where children can catalogue words that start with a particular letter (like Where's Waldo for linguists) - we can start with "Seeanay" and work all the way down to "seeanen"

Say it out loud...I'll wait.

Is there a site with want ads and forums for musicians? Like a

Play at home and post your own worst site ideas and rip off names. Record how nuch dough you shelled out to Apple on ipaid and then explore your S+M side on sites like Flogger and Flogspot.

Fade to blackberry.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More On Facebook (get it?)

and another thing...hasn't this "Facebook" served to cheapen the notion of "Friend"? Some guy I knew in passing, some friend of my parents who pinches my cheeks to often, someone I wouldn't acknowledge on the street is asking me to be my friend. Now, not only do I have to remember what my conection was and open myself up to all the fringe lunatics who are orbiting this fringe lunatic, but I have to entertain and amuse and be a good host. Friendship is earned and there should be the right, through some kind of offensive and possibly arbitrary point system, to start acquaintances, or distant memories at the appropriate level and then move them up as they earn their position. i should be able to say "no" to someone's friend request without getting a horrible sense of guilt. I shouldn't have to ask anyone else "who is this person who has sent me a friend request" -- there should be an application: 'Tell me why i liked you then and should care now, in 75 words or fewer.'

We'll have celebrity judges and everything.

My friendship is valuable as is my time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The "internet"

Fascinating phenomenon this network of interconnected computing devices. It might just catch on. I must say, though I was involved with advanced geekdom many years ago, I never could have imagined the mainstream popularity of sitting front of a computer screen and interacting with photons and phantoms.

But before I digress, allow me to digress. There is something strange and affecting about the web. I know that it, and its concommitant stylistic and technical limitations has spawned many a dialect and subdialect of standard written English. The hybrid E-nglish or IMSpeaking (I just made those up...spread the word and make me famous...alert Bill Safire if he's still alive) have been explored to some degree and the code shifting problems associated with the plethora of jargons is well known. What I'm finding, though, is that the web is creating a subculture of voyeurism which is unprecedented in history.

Google, the monolith you love to love, has allowed us to peer into the lives of all sorts of people. between random web hits from some half a sentence that some guy you knew 20 years ago put on a stupid blog that he...oh...yeah, well, besides that off chance encounter, job details, press mentions and all that has been laid bare. Aerial photos of houses and pictures of events, plus whitepages listings,'s all there and more. But, there's a new player in the "I want the whole world in my hard drive" game. Facebook.

I know...facebook is neither original nor unique but I just got into it so I get to decide how new it is. What Afcebook allows is for us to peek into the private lives of the people we just barely remember -- we no longer have to work at remembering people...the internet saves them for us. We can see what they look like now without having the awkward silence when we see each other by accident at some Sushi place that neither one of us likes. We are inspired to send random messages to people who share a name with someone we knew way back when, in the hope that either this is a long lost friend, or someone has a good sense of humor. We no longer have to move on and reestablish ourselves because we can take our entire history along with us.

Gone are the days of "whatever happened to?" because we can find out most anything about anyone. Gone is the wistful feeling of the long lost faces in the recesses of our minds. Is this a good thing? Does it inspire a sense of connectedness between the peoples of the world that I find that someone I knew from one circle somehow is attached to someone I knew from another? Will we all reduce the degrees of separation to 3 in an attempt to save energy? Should someone feel guilty because he looked at pictures of an old girlfriend or because she now sends messages to old boyfriends? Do we destroy the social boundaries which exist in real life because, on a computer, I can be friends with celebrities, co workers and my kids' friends, all with the same level of effort?

Is the world getting smaller because of the internet, or just messier as what might have been discrete time periods, filed neatly away, now have to comingle like so much comingling stuff.

I want answers. Just not good ones -- if I set my sights lower, I usually end up OK.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What a day

So let's see...what happened today?

Well, we had another blackout (number 4 in 2 weeks), I went to Boro park this morning, and, oh, yeah, I went to a 25th reunion for my 8th grade graduating class.

These people are all interesting and stuff, but my kids redeemed me.

Remind me to thank the kids.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

When I grow up

I want to think about studying cognitive psychology.

I don't want to major in reverse psychology.

I want to hit the people who study abnormal psychology.

Eventually I want to study developmental psychology.

I want to find out why I want to study psychotherapy.

My mother wants me to study psychoanalysis.

I wanna studee child sikolojee.

I want to be a licensed psychologist, but with a fishing license.

I'll need Ritalin to help me study psychopharmacology.


I actually want to be an understudy, just not an actor. I want to understudy at a bistro in the Village. I'll walk through the tables and say "I won't take your order, but if, for some reason, your regular waiter can't take your order, then I'll do it."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

for lawyers

well...and bakers.

And this is an aural joke.

The lawyer and the baker finally agreed -- when the baker presented his new product, a flourless chocolate cake, the lawyer was incredibly offended and hurt.

They both considered it a tort(e).

say it out loud and it works better.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Here's the pitch

I rarely get an idea for a TV show and rarer still is the time when something comes to me in a dream like half sleep and I remember it. But with the half sleep being the norm these days, I stand a statistically significant better chance of remembering.

It is called "One Weak." Dumb title, I know.

Each week the show documents the impending breakup of a romantically involved couple. This is NOT a reality show, but a Hollywood produced piece of fiction, so all sorts of relationships and people are shown. The thing is, Hollywood produces 2 andings and viewers are encouraged to phone/text in votes for whether the couple breaks up. The phoning takes from 30 minutes after the hour to 45 after and then the final 15 reveal what America wants to see happen to this particular couple, slickly produced etc. Note -- this is not a reality show -- both options are scripted, well written and acted. No trick endings, and no surprises. America wants to see them together, they end up together. Separate, fine.

That's what I got. Now start sending me money you crazy fools.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The poor FLies

I have been thinking about flies -- summer is coming and I see them around and I guess I feel sort of bad. We keep saying "dropping like flies", "dropping like flies" but the thing is, the flies do that because they don't have pockets. If flies had pockets, they wouldn't drop nearly as much and wouldn't be known as the quintessenital klutzes of the natural world.

Also, I actually had a great conceit for a song using the current vernacular -- a guy writing about how he expected that when the girl he likes broke up with her current boyfriend (maybe because the singer, as a friend, recommended it) she would naturally end up with him. But instead she finds someone else. He sings "but I shot that spot".

I have learned about that phrase as the the "I called dibs" of the new generation.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Things I hate

Here is a beginning of a list of things I hate. Some have annotation and some don't.

1. Conspicuous consumption -- who cares if you got it. Keep it to yourself.
2. A sense of entitlement (on ANY level). You are special, but aren't we all?
Entitlement includes when someone says "do me a favor" and the meaning ends after the word "do." Or if someone asks for a favor but can't accept the answer "no" with the same grace as the answer "yes."
3. Poor driving -- starting with, but not limited to rubber necking
4. Super nanny. Jeez.
5. People who say "you have a blog?" like I wouldn't know what a blog is.
6. Insensitive people who lack empathy and who don't pay attention to their surroundings.
7. Anyone who thinks the definition of an aglet is still trivia.
8. Salad as a meal
9. Being sneezed on
10. Thailand

Any combinations just make matters worse.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I have an opinion

I rarely write because I have something to say. Heck, anyone can do that -- I pride myself on being able to spout off when I have nothing useful to add, and yet I still make it sound good. However, now, I actually have something to say, and I'm a bit caught short by this feeling.

Yesterday I read a book. Now that, in and of itself shouldn't floor anyone, but I read this bit of stuff called "Foreskin's Lament" by a guy named Auslander. Now I know I shouldn't respond to this book, but I just have to because its mere existence casts a damning shadow over the utility of any memoir anywhere. In a nutshell, a kid from a dysfunctional family sees God's hand behind his pain and loses faith in faith while maintaining a dysfunctional relationship with the transformed image of his own father when applied to a skygod figurehead. He rebels against one and both of these personalities and spends the rest of the book becoming his own father figure and justifying his self loathing and self punishment as he coopts the role of father and therefore as executioner.

I guess it could be summed up (apologies to Snoopy for this paraphrase) as "I guilt because I don't believe and I don't believe because of all the guilt."

So what has me all hot and bothered this morning (and it isn't the rumor of Miley Cyrus pictures) is that his memoir is so darned well, vapid. Hold on while I look up 'vapid' to make sure that that's what I mean. Well, it isn't exactly, but I like the word, so "vapid" it is.

He grew up in Monsey. Whopee. So did a lot of people. He went to yeshiva. So did a lot of people. He has struggled in his life to deal with crises of faith. So have a lot of people. I guess that's what annoys me so much. His supposedly unique yet representative experiences are nothing special to me. If he wanted to write about the struggles of growing up in a dysfunctional family with an abusive, hypocritical and alcoholic father, then fine. He can stand for all those who spotted the dishonesty in their own fathers and then had trouble because of it. If he wanted to deal with his anger at a religious system which codified law and which, in the hands of fools, taught children that religion is anchored by the constant dread of death, and that the paraprofessionals at his religious schools weren't trained or certified to recognize the signs of abuse and contact the Department of Youth and Family Services, then great. That cautionary tale might be useful to educators.

But what he writes is a confusing ramble about the mix and match negative experiences he has which justify his movement away from religion. Everything from drug use to impotence is the fault of god, his belief in god and the rearing he had which taught him about god.

How many people went through religious schools (including my High School -- he was supposedly a year behind me at HS but he names the school wrong. Wonder why) and didn't turn out that way. Why excoriate a system when it has more success than failure because the combination of a stifling religious system was further exacerbated by a home life that would make anyone in any schooling system wince? Is this truly a function of a religious world-view? Is Auslander scarred because he believes in a god who, he was taught, punishes people? I just don't get it.

Mind you, I also have voices in my head which predict doom around every corner as a manifestation of a vengeful and highly personal god, and I went to school with rabbis who told me that the hot springs were hot because they passed through hell and the ozone hole was punishment for humanity exploring space. I dabbled in all sorts of things, but I don't blame god for the choices I made. What was his real suffering? What justifies his whining and anger? A bitterness that he displaces from earth father to sky father representatives on earth to sky father himself and evenetually actually to himself and which he uses to explain away his trouble coping with life.

I'm not trying to be unsympathetic but I have known other families which lost a child, or where substance abuse was a problem, or in which a sibling is a trouble maker or a parent is non-involved. Sometimes, people are just plain horrible. This isn't god's fault -- Auslander once shows how dependent he is when he feels that his grandmother's non-dying (temporarily) is directly attributable to his putting a note in the kotel. If only reward and punishment were that simple. But they only are when you don't do any independent thinking and you reduce everything to the logic taught to an 8 year old.

As we grow, religion DOES encourage us to question and wonder, and argue and stumble. But if our agenda is within the context of faith and love (note, not fear -- if you rely on reward and punishment to validate faith, then when you can't see the reasoning or the reward/punishment, the faith fails...therefore, it was not faith) then all of those questions and struggles are designed to strengthen the base, not chip it away.

Here we have someone whose goal was to cause his father to die. He was washing his car to make it rain and we all know that it doesn't work that way. So he lives his life never truly growing up and then rips off Portnoy's Complaint (in tone, point of view, central struggle...the whole thing) so he can mock the lives of people who have the temerity to be happy and satisfied in a world system which he feels left out of. Instead of just walking away, he chooses to immerse himself in it enough to feel angry. He wants to be included so he can have the right to argue. How mature.

Some people in life have real problems. Some own their problems, some blame others. Some just whine.

And that, is my opinion on that.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A pun and a phrase

1. I think that all spouses and partners should enter into an agreement before they solidify a relationship, promising to put their garbage away. It would be important for them to sign a clean-up.

[say it out loud and think a little, people...]

2. I searched 2 search engines for this phrase and found it now where. I claim it in the name of all that is evil and useless:

"Freedom of Speechwriter"

Friday, February 29, 2008

File under “what was I thinking”

I was driving along Route 4 this morning, cruising in the center lane, bright and early, daring fate by going 56 miles per hour in a 50 zone. Two cars ahead, I noticed a sudden brake light and, in proper defensive driving mode, I started my own braking procedure (deploying the parachute wasn't necessary). Apparently some folk in the left lane weren't as in tune with their surroundings and the next thing I know, tires screech and smoke and one SUV ended up facing 90 degrees in the wrong direction. Just a side note – while I was horrible in math, I seem to have gained an appreciation for angles, especially as they relate to cars and accidents.

So anyway, the tires screeched but I think I mentioned that. The demolition derby came to life as a car stopped short (well, certainly not long), the car behind it fishtailed after hitting it and then was hit by the car behind it, broadside. The front car (whose driver was, by this time, getting his story straight) pulled over ahead, his left tail light broken. The other two rumbled to a halt and I, without thinking, pulled off to the side in between. I jumped out of my car (missing the middle of the Talking Heads' "Life During Wartime") and ran to each car and yelled "Are you ok?" All three were on the phone and all three indicated that they were fine. Relieved, I went back to my car, pulled in to traffic and continued on to work.

Then it hit me, and stop me if you've heard this. "What if any of them had actually needed some help?"

Now if you're a long time reader you know I have confronted something tangential to this a while ago, but this was no longer the realm of the theory – I was really on the side of the road, asking strangers about their feelings. What would have happened if one of them had said "I can't feel my legs" or "I'm feeling the urge to push."

Remember, I'm a not so glorified high school English teacher and administrator.

Would I have stood there and answered "No! I meant do you have anything you need proofread?" or "Sorry, I was just wondering if you were comfortable with your son's placement in his science section?" What was I thinking pulling over and trying to be all nice and what not. I made sure to get out of there because I wouldn't want some police officer asking me to be a witness and then looking at me with his suspiciously sun-glassed eyes and saying "What's the real difference between carom and careen?"

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Era of

I think we wait too long to name our eras. The flappers didn't think of their decade as roaring -- it was for others to name. And the decade of greed was seen as such in hindsight only. The "me decade" the "you decade" all those great names were given to a time period either late in it or after. The only exceptions to this are self christenings made by important people who have some sort of societally ceded right to have a world view and authority to pronounce "meaning."

I want to be that person so I've been paying attention.

A long time ago, and a lifetime away, I dabbled in radio. I interned at and worked at some big name commercial radio stations and found out some dirty truths. Secret numero uno -- requests are a tightly controlled and usually ignored commodity. While every caller's request was written down and counted, and the stations always wanted to know what people wanted to hear (or were buying at the local record stores) it was unusual for a station to suspend its corporate playlist and play some deep cut from a band whose claim to fame was that the drummer's brother was the road manager for an indy band that opened for 'til tuesday on a windy Thursday in 1986. While college and other stations played what the audience asked for (sometimes) the big boys hoped that what was requested was already going to be played so that they could at once validate their playlists and satisfy the masses. If a request wasn't exactly what was intended, another song by the band could have the caller's name attached to it, or the request could be taped and held until it was useful. Isolated time slots which were based on carefully vetted requests or singular moments where an off the page request could be inserted appeared but were not the norm. I have noticed that the world is changing.

What we have now is a universe where we thrive on having a personal control of things. We can carry a veritable radio station in our pocket -- an mp3 player loaded with our favorite songs, a video playlist closely chosen to cut across personal tastes and memories, an online music resource which can determine what we like and find more songs specifically in that direction. Our news can be auto generated based on what we want to read...websites are recommended to us based on what we look at. Product ads appear tailored for us and we can choose to turn on any number of filters to control exactly what we see and/or hear. Radio stations have to stop being about what they think we want to hear and more about letting us control what we hear. Niche marketing has moved us from mass communication to a world of stations designed for a single user. We are in the Era of Control. If you stumble across me online, you can find what I like in sports teams, music, news and other people. You can look at the MYspace page and see who I am. You can look at Itunes and get into my musical head. I can make my world, craft the environment and keep out the sonically undesirable. Technology has both driven us apart, as citizens in a world of one, and brought us together, giving us free access to whatever we can use to define ourselves and advertise our leanings to anyone who happens upon our digital billboard. We have learned to craft our personas and advertise our identities to the whole world in a measured a way as any PR firm. We have learned that we deserve to be accommodated and provided for, never having to wait for that favorite song or TV show, but get it on demand. We are both stripped naked and bare for all to see, and given the power to build ourselves up wrapped in virtual lies and be who we want you to think we are. We are open and honest. But maybe lying. We allow the world to make recommendations, but ultimately, we pick and choose for ourselves. Everyone has become a reviewer of everyone else's lives and tastes, but no one truly knows anything at all.

Spinning, spinning, spinning. The Era of Artifice. The Idecade. The "I'm OK and now you tell me what you think of me based on what I let you see" decade.

It was the rest of times, it was the first of times. The end of history and the beginning of the future.

I'll find a good one...

Friday, January 25, 2008


So here I am about the descend into the depths of what I consider to be true blogging: sitting at the computer with absolutely nothing of value to say but with too much caffeine in my system and 3 more hours till dawn. So here I am, the newest child of the age. A real life blogger -- all technology and no content.


What do you people talk about...


I made a new joke tonight...something about that Jews don't use sporks because we consider them shatnez. um...

I don't much like the keyboard on this new computer. Does that count as being socially relevant? kids didn't pick the scissors up when they were done with them. I hate when that today. Um. So...who here's from out of town?

Ok, well. This didn't work out the way I'd envisioned it. Somehow, all you bloggers have important things to say on a daily basis. Your lives are filled with exciting and timely experiences which beg to be made public so that the rest of us can feel wretched about ourselves while bask in the dim reflection of your whateverthehell it is that you have. Herpes, maybe.

My life includes such daily highs as "reading the email" and "telling the kids to hurry up" and even "driving to work."

I did read the seventh Harry Potter book this week (finally). It was good, I guess. I can't wait to see what happens next.

I'm gonna go camp out at the bookstore and wait for the next book. Maybe I can have some wacky misadventures, set up a webcam or do something else unique to become the next dancing baby or street magician whose web buzz and word of modem makes him a cultural icon for 15 seconds.

Wake me up when I'm famous.