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Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving weekend recap

(Photo credit: Davin)

Been busy this month, and slacking off on the blogging. A quick roundup of items from the long weekend:
  • Thanksgiving was great. Definitely my favorite holiday. Key stats -- attendance: 18, turkey weight: 20 lbs., pies: 6 (3 apple, 2 pumpkin, 1 cherry)
  • I had my 10-year high school reunion over the weekend, too. About 100 people were there out of the 400 or so in my graduating class. It was kind of surreal, but also pretty fun. I've done a bad job of staying in touch with folks, and I think there are a few who I might now actually keep up with after having a chance to chat again. (Also, it turns out the class president lives a few blocks from me in DC. Surprised I haven't run into her.)
  • I saw A Serious Man with Matt A. while I was in CT. I really liked it. A few moments were too goofy for my taste, but it's among the Coen brothers' best films, I think.
  • Also went to the beach for a walk with the fam:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lottery Slogan Fail

I noticed a bus shelter advertisement for the DC Lottery with the slogan "There's strength in numbers."

Finessing reality is part of marketing, but this is a little too much for me to swallow.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Double Bogie

When the financial crisis hit last year, the metaphors and similes were really flying in news coverage -- the economy was a patient in cardiac arrest, etc., etc. -- and I thought about starting a blog covering the good, bad, and interesting use of figurative language in the media. I didn't do it, in part because I wasn't sure I would want to write entries often enough to make it worthwhile, but I've been paying more attention to the metaphors in the news since then. In a New York Times article today about people taking steps to increase the energy efficiency of older urban buildings, I read one of the least effective similes I've seen in a while, from a guy describing the importance of energy efficiency in his ($5.95 million) brownstone:
Waste reduction should be part of the purpose of good design,” Mr. Mcdonald said. “It’s like in golf: you don’t want to waste any energy at all. It’s a long sport, and anything you waste ends up coming back and working against you.”

Maybe the problem is that I don't play golf, but the fact that games of golf are long and so you don't want to waste any energy seems mostly inapplicable to golf (don't you ride in a cart? how does wasted energy "come back and work against you?") and not at all related to the energy efficiency of this dude's brownstone.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Songs of the Moment (An Occasional Feature)

> Modest Mouse - Styrofoam Boots/It's All Nice on Ice, Alright
> Built to Spill - Kicked It in the Sun
> Panda Bear - Bros
> Smashing Pumpkins - Here Is No Why
> The Walkmen - Little House of Savages
> Broken Social Scene - 7/4 Shoreline

Sunday, November 01, 2009

A Brit in Baltimore

I've still only seen the first season of The Wire -- I watched it back when I was living in Baltimore, where it's set. (As I mentioned at the time, the viewing of one episode was punctuated, appropriately enough, by the real-life sounds of gunshots and a police helicopter outside.) It's an excellent show, and the remaining seasons are in my queue now that I've run through the available episodes of Mad Men.

Apparently the show has gained notice in the UK, and there have even been instances of politicians using it as a point of reference (along the lines of "Violent crime has increased, but it's not like The Wire"). According to a new blog that went up today at the Baltimore Sun, The Independent, a British paper, approached them about sending a reporter for a stint in Baltimore, to see whether the actual city resembles the one portrayed on the show. The Sun is in turn sending one of its own crime reporters to London to compare how crime and the justice system work there. Looks like it's only a two-week project, which I would say is not really enough time to get a nuanced understanding of the how the systems portrayed in The Wire work, but it should be interesting nonetheless.

And here's a game: with apologies to the Sun for snatching their images, here are the headshots of the two reporters involved in the exchange...can you guess which one is from Baltimore and which one is from London? Click through to the blog to see of you were right. Your chances of guessing correctly are high.