Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mark Cuban's finest moment?

When -- dressed as the ultimate nerd, complete with taped-up glasses -- he complained that the judges' score wasn't even a prime number. I found that so endearing I was honestly sorry he got voted off.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My new, least favorite phrase: "certain to become a holiday must-have"

From Fashion Week Daily: "Aerin Lauder helped build a billion-dollar beauty empire on the notion that every woman wants something beautiful and special, and now she's....launching her Private Collection Boutique on Bergdorf Goodman's beauty level in November. But there won't be any lipsticks or eyeliners at this cozy counter; rather, the shop will offer a variety of hostess gifts, culled from Lauder's own time-tested roles as wife, mother, and daughter." I for one am so grateful. God knows, you can't find scented candles just anywhere.

And yes, I've changed my mind about Aerin Lauder. I've stopped hating! Sure, I could point out that -- in the same way that it's easy to post a news item by cutting and pasting from a press release -- it's probably simple to build an empire when your grandmother has done all the work. No. Surely Aerin Lauder commands this kind of attention and creates these kinds of opportunities because of her brains, charm and talent. It has nothing at all to do with advertising revenue! Or strong-arm retailing tactics! Or last names! Or publicists! Stop hating!

It's perfectly OK to grind on each other but if you start praying aloud, we're going to have problems

Go ahead and make all the Footloose-related jokes you want but the Argyle school district has seen enough suggestive dancing.

Or as they put it: "'we're actually having body parts that are touching each other inappropriately.'"

Frankly I'm bewildered that schools still host dances. I mean it's 2007. You can't play tag or bring candy canes to class so why are schools still in the dance club business? Turn it over to the kids and the parents to organize it all -- via off-campus meetings and their own funds. They can make the rules and set the dress codes. The district's relieved of all responsibility, liability and blame. Everybody's happy!

Or maybe everyone actually enjoys the Springeresque freakshow that is the townhall meeting.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sell! Sell! Sell, you nouveau riche piece of crap!

Is it time to flip your Rothko: "Billionaire contemporary art collector Eli Broad, who has amassed an 1,800-piece collection and will have a wing of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) named after him in February, thinks art prices are heading for a fall." That's the second dire prediction in recent months and I'm beginning to think it's a conspiracy. A way for the precious souls of the art world to scare off all those new people who are "clueless about light and color and fine lines." Pushy hedge fund pricks! Don't they know the last thing in the world an artist wants is to help someone else make a profit!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

"We're being nice to the crying lesbian."

The most interesting opinion yet on Iggygate: "Every anchor on Fox News is talking about it, how sad it is and poor Ellen, she's so upset. Bill O'Reilly devoted an entire segment to letting American know he did, in fact, think Ellen was genuine with her emotions....It's as if all these people are using the situation to show See, we like gay people."

Now, having read that, I think Fox's intention is slightly different and much more cynical.

Even if you're a girl who likes dogs or a girl who likes girls, you really can't watch that video without thinking Ellen looks slightly ridiculous. By showing it over and over, Fox is making fun of celebrities in general. It is, after all, one of their constant themes -- the self-obsessed, overly emotional, liberal-leaning airhead celebrity. (Only Mel Gibson, Ted Nugent and Dennis Miller get a pass.) Fox is showing the video to reinforce that image but by accompanying it with approving commentary, they're simply giving themselves cover so no one can accuse them of celebrity-bashing. It lets them lampoon a gay celebrity while being able to claim they're defending her. It's the TV news equivalent of "your lips say no but your eyes say yes." Isn't it?

By the way, instead of taking a long weekend break, Ellen should have donned a Chris Cocker wig and created her own "Leave Ellen alone!" youtube video. Might have been funny.

Will the Dog Walk of Fame have fire hydrants?

Honoring famous movie dogs is a genius idea. Even overdue. But I guess it would have brought the festivities down a bit to include Old Yeller.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I tried to monetize my content once

Couldn't walk for a week. Perhaps I digress though, because what I really mean to talk about is this: the "devil theory depends on the likely mistaken idea that collecting and storing information on Web users has increasing, rather than diminishing, returns." Does that sound right? I know this does: "Early man invented the wheel but only later did his life become colorful and interesting with the invention of advertising-supported media."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Are you going to a Halloween party or a harvest festival?

Maybe for reasons of faith, maybe because "spooky" is fast becoming "bloody," doesn't it seem like a lot more families are veering toward the generic harvest celebration? Even this month's Martha Stewart Living seems to minimize the Halloween theme -- saving brilliant ideas like the eyeball highball for a separate special issue -- in favor of bobbing for apples and squash bowling. Positively Rockwellian.

However you celebrate, Seth Godin calls this a sort of "secular Christmas" -- "the only holiday (perhaps in the world) where there is an arms race of creativity. Every year there's new stuff, new ideas, new ways for yuppies and boomers and everyone else to spend time and money." But I think this is instead part of the Christmasization of all holidays. (Do you have an Easter egg tree? Thanks for proving my point!) We want to decorate and celebrate year-round because it can be more fun and less manic than Christmas decorating and celebrating.

Also, unlike Christmas, we can wear other seasonal sweaters without fear of ridicule. Can't we?

Re-visiting my dancing prediction

Although he was up on all the judges' cards, Floyd Mayweather Jr is now out.

Yes, I thought he'd win but that was before I saw him dance. Now I feel so stupid. I should have known that Floyd would never take direction from a woman, never willingly share a stage. He was doomed from the beginning.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Uh. Not when we're talking re-sell.

According to Virginia Postrel, "Dallas housing stock is generally both boring and ugly (but cheap!). A few brightly painted houses can only improve the place."

"Except for socially, you're my role model"

In all seriousness, Vanessa Grigoriadis is right. Most of us are just running routes out of the Elizabeth Spiers playbook: "Gawker made its debut under the leadership of Nick Denton, the complicated owner of the blog network Gawker Media, and Elizabeth Spiers, a 25-year-old banker turned blogger who...displayed a streak of dark cunning on the page. They didn’t exactly invent the blog, but the tone they used for Gawker became the most important stylistic influence on the emerging field of blogging and has turned into the de facto voice of blogs today."

But Spiers is brainy and funny instead of simply cruel. In honor of Leopard's impending release, let's look at her latest Fast Company column: "And yet I keep buying Apple products....But I don't blame myself, because that would be unpleasant. So I blame Steve Jobs, who has seduced me into buying his sleek machines, even if their delicate organs seem to fail with alarming regularity, like the beautiful consumptive heroines in Victorian novels. Steve--we'll call him Steve because he seems like a first-name-basis kind of guy--is the human incarnation of the average Apple product: He's good-looking, he overpromises, and he's notoriously temperamental. He evokes the feel-good indie populism synonymous with the company's brand and manages to retain a solid reputation as a creative person while managing a $118 billion business."

Then it gets better.

Because no one else will or can

I'll go ahead and say it: Dwayne Johnson would now like George Clooney to know his role and shut his mouth. Maybe.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Red Bull sorta gave him wings

When Travis Pastrana jumped out of the plane without a parachute, he was holding a can of Red Bull. Maybe it was idiotic, maybe it was a marketing bit, but in some weird way I love it. While Red Bull art is OK -- I guess -- I've always thought the Red Bull Air Race World Series was brilliant because it's just so damn macho. Chuteless skydiving though? Even better.

Bad news, good news for Ms Meyer

Maybe not everyone is impressed with Chrysler's new marketing chief. But! Jalopnik readers just named Mercury as the car brand that "needs to die." So things could be worse. Especially since Chrysler seems to be a close second in the voting.

Also: who knew Buicks are big in China?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Is Watermill Express really meant to be an eco-friendly service?

Everything I read about the Watermill Express describes them as convenient, clean, affordable and eco-friendly -- such a faithful echoing of the company's own site! -- but here's the thing: the only two kiosks I've seen are in areas characterized by dollar stores, pedestrian traffic and assisted housing. I'm not the only one who's noticed! Are franchisees simply seeking out Dallas' cheapest real estate? Or is Watermill Express serving some other need than a wholesome desire for healthy water? I can't figure it out.

Weeping fuschia-hued tears

Obviously, I'm devastated that Jesper Parnevik lost the Texas Open yesterday. Looking on the bright side, though, there's always the fashion to ponder. This weekend it was: the porkpie hat. I love this man!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

How Michelle Ryan approaches her craft

About 20 minutes into last night's Bionic Woman, it became obvious. Everyone in this show has an intriguing back story except the title character. Jaime's life is unusual but not unpredictable -- part My Sister Sam, part Cosmo magazine article -- and even though she seems OK with drug use by minors on school premises, she's presented as the moral compass of the show. Did that bother you? I had to chart it all out using Grant McCracken's TV Table. The results were mixed.

One more observation: Michelle Ryan has evidently decided that any dialogue-heavy walking scene can be punched up with jiggling. I'm not saying that doesn't make her a genius.

ADDED: According to TVWeek, this latest episode was "a creative disaster—cliché-packed dialogue, a nonsensical villain, one-note characters" and the show lost 30% of its first-week audience. Bright side? Zap2it wants to like it. But their Ryan McGee is wrong; "a feminist tract" is exactly what the show should avoid.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I ate the Fried Cookie Dough

It's not bad.

Other State Fair highlights: Texas wineries have wisely moved their tasting booth from the butterfly gardens to the Food & Fiber Building courtyard. This means you can go from a 2-coupon sip of wine to Elsie & Beauregard in about a minute. Petting Elsie is one of my favorite fair activities. I also love the product demos in the Embarcadero. Sure, it's always miracle mops, vegetable choppers and glass cleaners but aren't those, after all, the necessities of life?