Personality

Plenty of racially...uhh, colorful...language here, so be warned. But if it's coming from a black guy, it's OK, right?!



And on a serious note, I love his answer to the obvious question, about two and a half minutes in: what are you selling?

Flight of the Frenchies

I wouldn't even want to be the camera guy who just stands on the edge as they jump off.

Rejected!

The following list was politely rejected by McSweeney's:

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Manhattan Neighborhoods I Discovered While Searching for a Vacation Rental.

by Trey Miller

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WeBroEHu: West of Broadway, East of Hudson. The Fertile Crescent of high art and public hipsterism.

Rose Murray Hill: Where Rose Hill and Murray Hill meet, you can eat the perfect $25 hamburger while having your fortune told; and you'll still make your train to Connecticut!

TriBeGreViSoHoTribeca: The Triangle between Greenwich Village, SoHo, and Tri[angle]be[low]ca[nal]. You must be this hip to enter.

Chelsea Clinton's Kitchen: Most of Manhattan's "Midwest." There's something here for everyone.

BeNoSoHo: Between NoHo* and SoHo*. Sometimes just called "Houston" or "Ho" for short, this unusual neighborhood is less than a block wide, and runs the entire width of Manhattan. Tourists should note that while the street from which this neighborhood derives its name is pronounced "HOW-stun," the neighborhood itself is pronounced just like it's spelled: "houston."

Ansonia.

EChiToSoLita: East of China Town, South of Little Italy. Just northwest of heaven.

Carnegie Hill: How do you get to Carnegie Hill? From Trenton, take NJ-129 to US-95, which feeds NJ-495 into the Lincoln Tunnel. Come out of the tunnel and turn left on 40th. Take another left onto Madison, and then turn towards the park anywhere from 86th to 96th Street. If you don't turn in time, you'll find yourself in Spanish Harlem, so watch out! Also, practice.

LoMaWiNa: An irregular polygon made up of the portions of Lower Manhattan that are Without a Name. This barren wasteland, where I can only assume no one lives or works, is bordered by the East River, the Financial District, Chinatown, and Coop Village.

Telegraph Point: This infinitely small space without dimension exists only theoretically, adjacent to Radio Row in Lower Manhattan. The name is an allusion to the "dit" notation used when transcribing the shorter of the two sounds comprising morse code.

Van Buren Rhombus: A small area contained by the non-abutting borders of Lincoln Square and Columbus Circle. No one using the internet to book a short-term rental will find anything here they can afford.


*If these names are taken literally, all of Manhattan can be divided into two neighborhoods: SoHo and NoHo. However, a categorization this broad makes it very difficult to distinguish the hip people from the rich people, and impossible to identify the ultra-rare hip and rich.

Happy Black Friday!

Sometimes someone sums up your thoughts on something so well, even if you never took the time to think the thoughts yourself:
Thanksgiving is a one [sic] of our better ideas. We, theoretically, reflect on how fortunate we are to have what we have. The day after Thanksgiving would be a great day to start thinking how we might start addressing wrongs perpetuated on anybody trampled in the process of putting together the comfort and security we are so thankful for. Instead, we’ve turned it into a symbolic date for acquiring shinier objects in anticipation of how we can best miss the point of our next major holiday. Perhaps worse, it infects Thanksgiving itself, turning the holiday into, effectively, a paean to culinary gluttony in preparation for commercial gluttony.
It's almost as if, after gorging ourselves on Gratitude and Gravy one day, we have to shake off the hangover by declaring unequivocally that too much is simply not enough.

And by we, of course, I mean other people.

Marketing

Genius.


via.

But Take Little Notice

A cool letter. I love the casual tone: "…and please write back saying how much money you would like."

Shame Brand

This is hilarious:
Microsoft on Thursday opened its first East coast store at the Tysons Corner mall in McLean, Virgnia.[…]
The opening also carried an unintentional irony for Microsoft, since it revealed in a photo that the DJ hired to entertain the waiting line was using a Mac. Microsoft had him cover the back of his MacBook Pro with a "Microsoft Store" sheet.
Every now and then I'll see someone, usually a teen- or college-aged person, at a coffee shop or an airport with an Apple sticker slapped on the lid of their Dell laptop to cover logo. I don't know who they're fooling; and I can't imagine how fragile their sense of self-worth must be if this charade boosts it by any measurable amount.

In telling friends about such sightings, I've predicted that you'll never see an Apple computer with a Dell or Windows sticker covering its logo; but I never took this scenario into account. How could I have been so blind?

via The Loop.

A Time to Talk

Robert Frost, via Signal vs. Noise:
When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.
See also, Scott Simpson's standard of cool.

Quantity vs. Quality

This visualization, via John Gruber, is amazing. Samsung sells 144 different mobile phone models in the US. Apple sells 4. Based on the accompanying chart, we can conclude that Apple just happens to sell the 4 that people really, really want.

Seven Bar Jokes Involving Grammar and Punctuation

I should probably just write a script to auto-post every McSweeney's list immediately after it's published.

Kaiow!

Tyler Cowen suggests: ponder this photo for an hour.

From the article:
Gulls are utterly fearless, as shown by this remarkable image of a white-tailed eagle under attack.
Herring gulls dive-bomb predatory birds at a steep angle from above and behind, as they make a piercing shriek - "kaiow!".
The attacks typically occur when the gulls are defending themselves and are most frequently seen during the breeding season, when adults protect vulnerable offspring. Some gulls also defecate or even vomit on the predator for good measure.

288,000 Jelly Beans


This would be a tragic waste of time if the song totally sucked. Fortunately for me, it hits the sweet spot of a pretty voice combined with an innocuous pop melody.

11

11/11/11, 11:11am. "Where can you go from there? Where? Nowhere, exactly!"

See also: Hell Holes.

Dial-Up Inertia

Dann Frommer: Amazingly, AOL still has 3.5 million dialup subscribers.

I don't think it's that amazing, actually, because inertia is a very powerful force. Maybe more powerful than compounding interest. And the kind of people who still use AOL for anything at all are probably not aware that they can use virtually all of it for free. These same people either see the $10-25 monthly fee and assume they still need to pay it; or they don't even notice it on their credit card bill anymore. Because they don't even review their credit card bill, except to see if the total feels about right.

Frommer cites AOL's citation of a "price rationalization program" that has helped AOL maintain a surprisingly high number of subscribers. I will translate this programn into plain English:
For the past few years, people have begun to realize that the only thing they use AOL for is checking a very, very old e-mail address that probably involves some embarrassing and antiquated handle to the left of the "@" symbol (and, let's face it, a fairly embarrassing domain name to the right of the "@" symbol), and that they can continue to access this old address for free. 
We needed a way to rationalize increasing the prices we charge to the dwindling number of people who do not yet realize this. 
We considered rolling AOL dial-up service into the monthly phone rental fee these people are probably still paying to Ol' Ma Bell, but we ran into legal and licensing roadblocks on that. So instead, we just licensed a bunch of crappy services at bargain-basement prices (it's amazing how cheap Lifelock is when you're buying 3,000,000 licenses!) and we'll keep nudging our prices up. 
Problem solved: prices rationalized!
The metric I'd really like to see is the number of actual dial-in connections that AOL serves in any given month, and the number of unique users who actually use the service. I would be shocked if more than 1% of their paid users have dialed in to AOL within the past year, and I'd be even more surprised if AOL serves up more than 3.5 million connections per month. Does AOL have the stones to reveal these numbers?

Clap Hands

For all the crappy and hit-or-miss episodes of SNL that I've suffered through over the years, how did I not see this when it originally aired?

In hand-clap-related news, here's one of my favorite McSweeney's lists from awhile ago: I CAN NEVER RECALL THE NAME OF BROOKLYN’S NEW HIP BAND.

Flying

Great use of a yoga ball, and a few other things.



via The Verge.

St. Vincent

Indie Rock Iwo Jima
I had the great pleasure of seeing St. Vincent earlier this week at the 9:30 Club in DC. NPR was there to record it, and you can download the audio here.

If you're not doing anything tonight at 9, you can stream the New York concert live at MTVHive.com.

The second encore of Tuesday's show ended with an epic (even by Annie Clark standards) guitar freak-out that brought Annie off the stage and into the crowd. It featured a lot of improvised riffs and noises made by the sweaty hands of her adoring fans. Five seconds after I took this picture I was one of those adoring, sweaty hands. Good times. I wound up hanging on to her capo for a bit, but gave it back to a roadie after the show. A guitar pick is a legitimate souvenir, but anything beyond that feels like stealing.

The Porsche of Smartphones

Engadget: Porsche Design P'9981 BlackBerry provides a long-awaited design jolt, compensates for a lot

John Gruber: "Easily the best-designed new phone of 2005." Perfect.

Reminds me of this, from June 2010: Nokia Announces Treo-Killer.

Cheese or Font

Can you tell a random font name from that of a cheese, and vice versa? Had you ever even considered the question before now?

I did surprisingly well until about halfway through.

via Kottke, who also recently showed us Halloween or Williamsburg.

In Defense of Embarrassing Music

Ann Althouse comments on the recent revelation that Steve Jobs' iTunes library over-represented the 60's and 70's by a considerable margin, and contained nothing beyond the year 1989:
What if your iPod contents were splattered across the headlines? Would you be embarrassed?
I would, to a degree. In my defense, though, any list of ~25,000 songs will invariably contain some duds (from albums that were inconsistent at best) as well as some guilty pleasures. Why should mine be any different?

I often suspected that The A.V. Club's "Random Rules" participants must do some serious paring down of their library specifically to avoid this sort of embarrassment. I mean no one's taste is that good.