Monday, November 28, 2005

Holiday season officially starts

And the stores dust the displays that have been in place since Hallowe'en.
James Lileks | Monday, November 28
They're playing Christmas songs at the coffee shop now; the staff informs me that the selection consists of the same four songs played over and over again, but by different artists. I wouldn't doubt it.

...Now it's the Johnny Mathis version of "Sleigh Ride," which sounds less like a holiday tune than an elocution lesson; the man could certainly enunciate. Pass around the cof-fee and the pump-kin pie! He hits Pump! like someone launching off the lip of a ski jump.

This is nostalgia for some – it's nostalgia for me, for that matter; I remember these versions from my childhood, although I never liked it – but you have to remember that it was nostalgia then, inasmuch as it refers to the "Currier and Ives" versions of the seasons that people already lamented losing. But that's Christmas; a mass consensual illusion that the holiday existed in some perfect state, and that this state can be replicated again if we find the right combination of lights, ornaments, songs, nutmeg candles, Pottery Barn CD compilations, pine-scented infusers, kicky shoes and brie spreaders.
And, of course, that time-tested Christmas tradition, radio theatre.

Monday, November 21, 2005

A new magic trick

Click on this only if you have eight minutes to kill: The video is that long, plus however long it takes to stream it on a dialup. It's in Japanese, but magic tricks work even if you can't understand the patter.

I haven't a clue how he does this.

LATER: It's discussed in this MetaFilter thread. Several theories are put forth, some clever, some absurd. I think everyone agrees, though, that this guy (Cyril by name) is good.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Why bury the good quotes?

His basic interview technique was to pretend he didn't know things....

I really regretted the waste of my time, but even more the waste of TV space. Getting younger people to watch who are interested in the issues is important. What a waste to make them think it's all Silly Putty.
Rep. Barney Frank, D-MA, about being interviewed for Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, quoted in the Boston Globe.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Oddly, the planet continues to spin

Yahoo News (AP) | Tyra Banks Goes Undercover As Obese Woman
Tyra Banks has gone undercover as a 350-pound woman. Banks wore the fat suit to experience what it's like to be obese.

"It seemed like the last form of open discrimination that's OK, and I decided to put on a 350-pound suit myself and live that life for a day and see what happens," the 31-year-old former supermodel told AP Radio in a recent interview. "And it was one of the most heartbreaking days of my life."

Banks said she was shocked at the reaction.

"I started walking down the street and within 10 seconds, a trio of people looked at me, snickered, looked me right in my eye and started pointing and laughing in my face," the talk-show host said. "And I had no idea it was that blatant."
Perhaps something happens to you the first time you see yourself referred to as a "former supermodel".

Now, as I snark away at this, I admit it would be helpful to know what Tyra Banks actually does weigh. But we can still figure what an "obese" Tyra should weigh. She's 5'10", so calculating from a Body Mass Index* of 30 (the lowest level considered "obese") gives us 208.

So of course she chose a 350-lb fat suit. Anything less wouldn't have been Good Television.

I could speculate on other reasons people might point and laugh. Was appropriate makeup work done for her face and hands as well, or was a skinny little Tyra head sitting on a Michelin Woman body? Did a mischevious wardrobe mistress tuck her skirt into her pantyhose, knowing there's no way she's gonna feel a draft under all that fake flab? Was she followed around by a camera crew wearing "Tyra Banks Show" t-shirts?

Oh, please don't make me watch daytime TV to find out...

* BMI = weight (in pounds) times 705, divided by height squared (in inches)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Blatant Sales Pitch

For this week only (November 2-10), my son's school is selling coupon books to help pay for 8th grade field trips. The book is called "Atlanta: Enjoy the City", and it sells for $12. It includes discounts ranging from Dunkin Donuts to Yamato, Great Clips to Six Flags. (I can't speak for you, but many such coupon books contains negligible discounts to places I never go. These are deals I might actually use.)

If you're interested, let me know, or click on the button below (it's PayPal). Either way, the books will be mailed out after the promotion is over. Thanks.

EDIT: It's over.