snap culture: December 2003

  1. William, 12/31/2003 0 comments
  2. William, 12/25/2003 0 comments
  3. William, 12/24/2003 0 comments
  4. William, 12/23/2003 0 comments
  5. William, 12/23/2003 0 comments
  6. William, 12/23/2003 0 comments
  7. William, 12/22/2003 0 comments
  8. William, 12/22/2003 0 comments
  9. William, 12/19/2003 0 comments
  10. ben, 12/19/2003 0 comments
  11. ben, 12/19/2003 0 comments
  12. William, 12/18/2003 0 comments
  13. William, 12/18/2003 0 comments
  14. William, 12/18/2003 0 comments
  15. William, 12/16/2003 0 comments
  16. William, 12/16/2003 0 comments
  17. Gretchen, 12/16/2003 0 comments
  18. Gretchen, 12/16/2003 0 comments
  19. Barbara Martinez, 12/15/2003 0 comments
  20. William, 12/15/2003 0 comments
  21. William, 12/12/2003 0 comments
  22. Gretchen, 12/11/2003 0 comments
  23. Barbara Martinez, 12/11/2003 0 comments
  24. Barbara Martinez, 12/11/2003 0 comments
  25. Gretchen, 12/11/2003 0 comments
  26. William, 12/11/2003 0 comments
  27. ben, 12/11/2003 0 comments
  28. Gretchen, 12/11/2003 0 comments
  29. Gretchen, 12/11/2003 0 comments
  30. William, 12/10/2003 0 comments
  31. William, 12/10/2003 0 comments
  32. William, 12/10/2003 0 comments
  33. Gretchen, 12/09/2003 0 comments
  34. Barbara Martinez, 12/09/2003 0 comments
  35. Barbara Martinez, 12/09/2003 0 comments
  36. Gretchen, 12/09/2003 0 comments
  37. Gretchen, 12/09/2003 0 comments
  38. William, 12/09/2003 0 comments
  39. Barbara Martinez, 12/09/2003 0 comments
  40. Barbara Martinez, 12/08/2003 0 comments
  41. William, 12/08/2003 0 comments
  42. William, 12/08/2003 0 comments
  43. Gretchen, 12/08/2003 0 comments
  44. Gretchen, 12/08/2003 0 comments
  45. ben, 12/07/2003 0 comments
  46. Barbara Martinez, 12/05/2003 0 comments
  47. Gretchen, 12/05/2003 0 comments
  48. William, 12/05/2003 0 comments
  49. William, 12/05/2003 0 comments
  50. William, 12/05/2003 0 comments
  51. William, 12/05/2003 0 comments
  52. William, 12/05/2003 0 comments
  53. Gretchen, 12/04/2003 0 comments
  54. Gretchen, 12/04/2003 0 comments
  55. Gretchen, 12/04/2003 0 comments
  56. William, 12/04/2003 0 comments
  57. William, 12/04/2003 0 comments
  58. Gretchen, 12/04/2003 0 comments
  59. Gretchen, 12/04/2003 0 comments
  60. William, 12/03/2003 0 comments
  61. Barbara Martinez, 12/02/2003 0 comments
  62. Gretchen, 12/02/2003 0 comments
  63. William, 12/02/2003 0 comments
  64. Gretchen, 12/02/2003 0 comments
  65. ben, 12/02/2003 0 comments
  66. William, 12/01/2003 0 comments
  67. William, 12/01/2003 0 comments

12/31/2003 Add a comment

PROGRAMMING ALERT!

Snap Culture contributor William P. Bohlen to be featured on VH1 special Friday, Jan. 2


I'll be appearing on the VH1 news special "Reality TV Secrets Revealed" on Friday, Jan. 2, airing first at 1 p.m. EDT, and then repeated at 6 and 9 p.m. EDT, and several times after that. Here are the listings of when it's scheduled to air.

Check it out to see if they could extract enough decent clips from an hour-long interview of my blubbering incoherence! William

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12/25/2003 Add a comment

In Memphis, a large mall has died, victim of both the Internet and changing demographics. An interesting article on how cities are changing. William

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12/24/2003 Add a comment

Here's an interesting blog, devoted to the airline industry, that I'm going to add to the right-hand column. William

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12/23/2003 Add a comment

Once again, Europeans are at the cutting edge while the U.S. is severely behind in the development of alternative energy sources related to incontinence. William

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12/23/2003 Add a comment

More 20- and 30-year-olds are living at home. William

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12/23/2003 Add a comment

Wow. Fox may hit a new low in reality programming. Didn't think it could be done, but here it is. William

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12/22/2003 Add a comment

Washington University in St. Louis, who bombarded me and many of my fellow high school seniors in the mid-1990s with copious amounts of propaganda, evidently had a good strategy. They've bumped their U.S. News ranking into the top 10. William

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12/22/2003 Add a comment

What a great article about Alec Baldwin, in all his Alec Baldwiness. William

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12/19/2003 Add a comment

Harvard kids need to be told when to applaud. William

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12/19/2003 Add a comment

There has to be a glitch in the Nielsen ratings, or however this is measured. According to this CNN article, on average over one million people watch the 5 a.m. episode of "Charles in Charge" on Nickelodeon. How is this possible? This is not happening. Anybody out there setting their alarm to make sure they see what kind of hilarious hijinks Buddy and Charles get into next? I bet it involves Charles having a big date, one of the girls having a science project to do, and Buddy with a hair-brained get-rich-quick scheme.

Also, the "the sky is blue" news in the same article: "I don't think it's totally rocket science to note that young people are up late at night," from a Comedy Central exec. ben

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12/19/2003 Add a comment

Tell everyone you know to go to Ralph Nader's 2004 exploratory campaign website and tell him to please please please NOT RUN. ben

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12/18/2003 Add a comment

Hooray! Paris Hilton beat President Bush in the ratings Tuesday night! Also, the Washington Post goes looking for the Paris Hilton of Washington. William

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12/18/2003 Add a comment

Here's a list of the most name-dropped brands mentioned in rap songs this year. Mercedes Benz wins hands down. William

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12/18/2003 Add a comment

What?! The NY Post is reporting that Michael Jackson is joining the Nation of Islam. William

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12/16/2003 Add a comment

If this is true, then it's hilarious. William

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12/16/2003 Add a comment

LeBron James bought a house. Readers of the Akron Beacon Journal weren't thrilled the paper disclosed the location. William

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12/16/2003 Add a comment

Also, has no one else noticed that the new sweaters in Gap's holiday ads have 3/4 sleeves? Because when I go on a long walk in the snow in December, I really want to wear a garment that leaves a good 25% of my arms shivering and my fingers turning blue with cold. Gretchen

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12/16/2003 Add a comment

Why can't I find a decent wine to go with dinner? Global Warming. Gretchen

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12/15/2003 Add a comment

Ah, Christmas time is here. Can't stand the new Old Navy ads, just not my thing, and the "telephone operator's" voice is more annoying than Christa's from "Survivor: Pearl Islands." In the spirit of Christmases past, remember Gap's "Give a Little Bit" ads from 2001? That was a different era. The nation was in a rare spirit of giving. The Gap was still trying to appeal to consumers over 18 (have you been in a Gap lately? There is shockingly little to even try on.) Reality tv was new and exciting. "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" had not yet swept the Grammies, simultaneously making simple accoustic tunes both hip and overplayed.

And in keeping with the spirit of a nation reeling from its discovery of terror and an economy that moved men to tears, Gap launched an ad campaign that told consumers it was okay to just "give a little love to me."

(Not to mention that each artist featured in the ads gave their fee to charity.) I should have kept my promo CD of the ads to pop in when I need a reminder of more reflective times. Barbara Martinez

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12/15/2003 Add a comment

In NYC, they've just spent a bunch of money on new walk/don't walk signs. But with just a few strategically placed stickers, the "don't walk" can be turned into a hand giving the finger. William

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12/12/2003 Add a comment

Love your list, Gretchen.

Romenesko has a bunch of journalists writing in with the dumbest assignments they've ever been given. William

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12/11/2003 Add a comment

Snap Judgment: Gretchen's Top Ten Phenomena of 2003

Bennifer. From Gigli to the doomed wedding, we love to hate them.
Howard Dean and the Deanyboppers. Political revitalization through the internet! I love it!
The DaVinci Code. Conspiracy theorists are everywhere.
The O.C. I've never wanted to live in Southern California, but The OC makes me wonder...
The Baseball Playoffs. Never in my life have I been so obsessed with a sporting event.
Hilary Duff. The next Britney. So much fame and so little talent.
Newlyweds. If loving Jessica and Nick is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Queer Eye For The Straight Guy. The funniest, most emotionally satisfying hour on television last summer.
The Julie-Julia Project. Don’t be dissuaded by the fact that the blog has ended. For the first nine months of 2003, Julie-Julia was the place to be, not only for analysis of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but for often profane and always hilarious musings on a life crisis.
The $29 DVD Player. Seriously, people, how do you make a DVD player for $29? I remember when they cost hundreds of dollars. And yes, that makes me feel very, very old.
Gretchen

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12/11/2003 Add a comment

Hall and Oates deemed heroes. Aah, I remember I had a Hall and Oates tape I absolutely loved when I was a kid and I haven't heard it in years. I'm going to try to find it and give it a whirl. Barbara Martinez

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12/11/2003 Add a comment

Oh. My goodness. That Barnes and Noble blog is way too entertaining. It's entirely distracted me for the past half hour. Wow. Barbara Martinez

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12/11/2003 Add a comment

An open letter to those girls who write exposes about working at Barnes and Noble. Thanks to Bookslut for the link! (I stopped reading McSweeneys when it became painfully apparent that there was only one allowable joke in the entire 'zine.) Gretchen

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12/11/2003 Add a comment

This is interesting, and mildly funny. Someone writes about their experience working at Barnes & Noble. William

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12/11/2003 Add a comment

Snap Judgment: I agree with Gretchen that there are other considerations besides money that go into a player's decision to sign with a team. But let's review these cases:
1) Pettite's "home team" WAS the Yankees, for his entire career. And he is set to make over 10 million dollars a year from the Astros, more money that the Yankees offered until a last-ditch effort last night. He ignored their pleading to jump ship to the Astros, closer to his family's "home", but certainly not his home team.

2) Schilling is going to be making 25.5 million from the Red Sox over the next two years. And who is Schilling's home team, anyways? The Phillies, the team he played most of the 90's with? He left them in favor of more money (and a legitimate World Series shot, granted, which he got in Arizona) then, and he's leaving the D-Backs now in favor of the combination of more money and a better team yet again.

As much as the media wants to paint these guys as making decisions based on non-monetary factors, the money seems to still speak for itself. But that's just this cynic's take. ben

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12/11/2003 Add a comment

Andy Pettite is leaving the Yankees for the Astros. The most fascinating part of this article deals with the interpersonal dynamic between management and the pitcher. From the Times, "while the Yankees found time to negotiate a deal with David Wells, who bolted after one inning in the fifth game of the World Series and who had back surgery last week, Pettitte, who has pitched through elbow pain for years, waited for a call reminding him how valuable he was. It never really came."

Pettite's story, combined with Curt Schilling's decision to come to the Red Sox based on webchats with fans, makes me believe that 1) baseball managers could all benefit from some serious interpersonal skills training and that 2) elusive dynamics--fans, the atmosphere of the clubhouse, the kindness of the bosses--are much more important than baseball cynics believe. For someone who used to think that baseball players were overpaid oafs who didn't care about their home teams, these are surprising realizations. Gretchen

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12/11/2003 Add a comment

Brilliant. A list of the best-of-2003 lists, all linked and indexed. Gretchen

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12/10/2003 Add a comment

The NYC power lunch scene is heating up, and you've got to check out the seating chart. William

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12/10/2003 Add a comment

The New York Observer has a list of the 50 "power punks under 35" on the NYC scene. If only we lived in NYC, we could have been on a list that stoops so low as to include Chelsea Clinton. William

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12/10/2003 Add a comment

"Bachelor" Bob Guiney has released an album. It sucks. William

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12/09/2003 Add a comment

Not All Americans Are Stupid! A Quiz. Gretchen

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12/09/2003 Add a comment

Okay, this is why I'm glad I'm no longer in financial planning. You've heard the gloom and doom about US Postal Service finances, right? Well, next year it's going to run a $3.9B surplus. Barbara Martinez

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12/09/2003 Add a comment

Okay, this is too much fun. Guess the corporate logo! Barbara Martinez

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12/09/2003 Add a comment

More splits! Andrew Firestone and his girlfriend Jen have split and Sofia Coppola is filing for divorce from Spike Jonze. So sad. Gretchen

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12/09/2003 Add a comment

Christ Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow tied the knot on Friday at a small wedding. No word as to whether her mama brought a shotgun. Gretchen

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12/09/2003 Add a comment

An Ohio woman was sentenced to three months' house arrest for breastfeeding while driving. Oh man, first cell phones are banned while driving and now breastfeeding? What's next? A ban on open-heart surgery while driving? William

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12/09/2003 Add a comment

I love the Washington Post's annual Yule Log feature. Funny items pulled from the wires which herald the approaching holidays. The first selection today is kind of lame, the second is funny. Barbara Martinez

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12/08/2003 Add a comment

Hm, I just read the Globe article Will posted below about the new book about Harvard employees. Granted, I have not read it, but it sounds like a very one-sided book. Perhaps I'm ignorant, but I don't think Harvard workers "disappeared" or were "invisible" to me. I had conversations with the workers in the dining hall, I greeted the people sweeping the steps or doing other yard work when I passed them. We cleaned our own rooms, and when our bathroom was cleaned once a month, if that, we greeted and were kind to the people who came to do it. Maybe we should have cleaned our own bathrooms? I would have done it if it meant lower tuition, but then some people wouldn't have had jobs at all. According to this interpretation, were we supposed to socialize with Harvard workers in order to make their position more acceptable? I guess I'll have to read the book. Barbara Martinez

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12/08/2003 Add a comment

A Harvard grad, and former final club member, woke up and smelled the spilled beer. He decided to profile some of Harvard's low-wage workers and write a book about it. In other news from Harvard, a sophomore has been nominated for a Grammy. William

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12/08/2003 Add a comment

Wow. The apple doesn't fall far from the Hilton tree. Like mother, like daughter. William

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12/08/2003 Add a comment

In case you haven't seen this, go google miserable failure, and hit "I'm feeling lucky." Have fun! Gretchen

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12/08/2003 Add a comment

I covet one of these. Just imagine--no cell phones ringing at the movies! or in the library! or at restaurants! It would be just like heaven. Gretchen

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12/07/2003 Add a comment

Pretty much of one of the scariest headlines you'll ever see: NRA Seeks Status as News Outlet.

Um, YIKES! (Thanks for the link, Meghan!) ben

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12/05/2003 Add a comment

This story is sad :( 7-year-old sent to the principal's office for telling another kid his mom is gay. Barbara Martinez

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12/05/2003 Add a comment

Joel Achenbach launches new campaign to protect the world from freak Christmas accidents. It is hilarious and also tragic since my recent legal education means that it all makes perfect sense to me. Best part: campaign to ban mistletoe because god knows how many unwanted pregnancies result! Gretchen

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12/05/2003 Add a comment

Fox is hoping for a "Simple Life" sequel with Paris and Nicole, and is looking for other celebs to be the outsider fish in other bodies of water. Also, Paris Hilton programming alert! NYDN reports that she might be doing a cameo this week on SNL, which is being hosted by Al Sharpton in an obvious attempt to win the New Hampshire primaries. William

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12/05/2003 Add a comment

Foxnews.com, that ever-trustworthy source, is reporting that Michael Jackson is trying to get Fox to agree to a couple of specials that would include celebrity friend testimonials talking about what a great guy he is. Also, mop-top moppet Justin Guarini is having some troubles with his recording company. William

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12/05/2003 Add a comment

This year's hot holiday item is a fig-scented candle? And its creators say they are going for the market between "mass" and "prestige" that they call "masstige"? Damn. I need to come up with some clever demographics slang to make my mark. William

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12/05/2003 Add a comment

Slate to Salon: You Suck! William

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12/05/2003 Add a comment

Bush is considering a trip to the moon (he won't be on it) in the final year of his term. Seems like a political gimmick rather than any sort of policy decision. William

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12/04/2003 Add a comment

This is a fun game! Here's what people recommended instead of JLo's most recent album (my favorite: Why Catholics Can't Sing: The Culture of Catholicism and the Triumph of Bad Taste). Customers suggest that along with buying Britney's In The Zone, you might also want to pick up Songwriting for Dummies or, perhaps, Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth. Bizarrely, someone thought that instead of picking up Jessica Lynch's memoir, you might want to read Law School Insider: The Comprehensive 21st Century Guide to Success in Admissions, Classes, Law Review, Bar Exams and Job Searches, for Prospective Students and Their Loved Ones. Finally, check out the recommendations for The Da Vinci Code, for a truly odd exploration of Conspiracy Theories That People Write About Christianity and some religious evangelism to boot! Gretchen

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12/04/2003 Add a comment

Yale Law School apparently doesn't join Harvard and NYU, as a professor reportedly showed the Paris Hilton Sex Video in front of class. Note that I wasn't there, have no idea if this really happened, and may be repeating a vicious rumor. Gretchen

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12/04/2003 Add a comment

What does the TV world look like? Well, men outnumber women 2 to 1. There are just as many homes led by single daddies as single mommies. Politicians are entirely male; business owners are mostly male. Women are mostly in creative professions, like interior decorators, instead of "business-like" professions, like doctors and lawyers. And those women who are in business or law or medicine? Well, they're mostly nurturing and gentle, not hard-charging and businesslike. But despite all of these jobs, women are still mostly defined by their relational status--mothers, sisters, daughters, girlfriends--and not by their professions or other independent characteristics. Intentional discrimination by TV executives? Probably not. But it does tell us about the way we think the world works. More frighteningly, it shapes our expectations of the way the world should be. TV has a normative element--it establishes ideals of society, family, even our Friends. I was convinced in 8th Grade that high school would be just like Beverly Hills, 90210 (and was sadly disappointed when I got there, since Luke Perry never did show up.) And when TV fails to include female characters as hard-charging lawyers and doctors as well as moms and girlfriends, as post-menopausal sex symbols as well as teenage daughters, as the President as well as the Press Secretary--it entrenches societal bias about women and their appropriate positions in society. Gretchen

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12/04/2003 Add a comment

This is funny. Gawker links to Amazon.com's customer recommendations for those buying Michael Jackson's Number Ones album. William

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12/04/2003 Add a comment

According to the NYT, Harvard has company from NYU for prudish sexual mores. I mean, no sex in front of class? C'mon? What is this, Bob Jones U.? William

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12/04/2003 Add a comment

A Mississippi friend and I have an ongoing debate about whether the South bears more responsibility for racism than the North. It’s not as easy to answer as you think it is. While the South certainly bears responsibility for slavery and de jure segregation, the North’s industrial development in textile mills was built on the backs of slaves picking cotton, and Boston, among other cities, rioted when forced to integrate their largely segregated schools through busing. In Duluth, three black circus workers were hanged from a light pole on June 15, 1920, as a crowd of 10,000 looked on. A new memorial was just built, but the New York Times reports that in the rush to declare the expiation of racial guilt, students and others are noting new racial tensions, racial epithets, and the rise of Confederate flag images on bumper stickers. Gretchen

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12/04/2003 Add a comment

Professor Harvey Mansfield scolded Harvard women undergraduates for giving out "free samples" by having recreational sex, reports The Harvard Crimson. Do I even need to comment on the double standard?
Gretchen

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12/03/2003 Add a comment

A couple of recent essays of note from Slate. The first: What happens when Curt Schilling drops by a Red Sox chat board? The second, a treatise on Geek Love, as seen on NBC's "Average Joe." William

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12/02/2003 Add a comment

This quote from Rummy is so precious I'm going to post it, rather than link to it:
"Reports that say something hasn't happened are interesting to me, because as we know, there are known unknowns; there things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."

Her received the "Foot in Mouth" Award from Britain's Plain English Campaign for that one. But I'm sure he knew what he was saying, or was at least aware that he didn't know it. A known unknown that would be? Barbara Martinez

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12/02/2003 Add a comment

ABC will be working with an ad agency to develop new sitcoms targeted at a wide audience, reports Zap2It. They're thrilled at this new way to enhance their business model, complete with ad-agency-driven sitcoms and product placements. I can just imagine it--on next week's episode, little Susie is inspired by Beyonce Knowles to switch from Coke to Pepsi. Don't miss the episode where the family learns about love and forgiveness while trapped in their local TARGET store overnight! And be sure to tape the soon-to-be-classic episode where Bobby crashes his old car trying to save his dog, only to be rewarded by a brand new FORD in his driveway!

And the networks wonder why their ratings are falling and they haven't had a breakout hit this fall? Gretchen

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12/02/2003 Add a comment

Here's an interesting piece about the extraordinarily small North Korean tourism industry. What a weird, cultish place. William

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12/02/2003 Add a comment

So a week after the New York Times heralded the rise of Internet Dating (albeit two years late), they're trumpeting its demise. This is so characteristic of the Times--hold off on a trend story for years, then bash it into the ground for a month and move on. And this is why the Times Sunday Styles section has that charming quality of making me feel hip and in the know--compared to the Times, I'm the Goddess of Cool. Gretchen

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12/02/2003 Add a comment

It's been 16 years, but developers are still trying to restore Mr. T's old property in Lake Forest, IL, a Chicago suburb. Mr. T's 10,000 square-foot mansion was once owned by Lawrence Armour, the hot dog king of Chicago. Then Mr. T bought it and cut down all the trees on the 7.5 acre estate, with an obvious subsequent outcry from the neighborhood. This story has been one of my favorite pieces of "obscure useless knowledge" about Mr. T for a long time. Also, this article is even better if you can imagine Mr. T reading it out loud. ben

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12/01/2003 Add a comment

Poor Paris! Forced to fly coach. Don't miss The Simple Life, her new show, Tuesdsay on Fox. It's hilarious. If you're in Chicago, look for Tuesday's RedEye for my preview. The show is already having an effect on the Arkansas town. Some don't like it. William

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12/01/2003 Add a comment

Stories of the secrecy surrounding Bush's trip to Iraq. NYT says it was out of a Tom Clancy novel. Here is the incomparable Mike Allen's inside take on the trip. And here's Allen again on CNN's "Reliable Sources." William

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