Wednesday, January 20, 2010

MPBN's jingle from the Nixon administration

Have you ever listened to Maine Things Considered on MPBN at 5:30 pm on weeknights? I have. And I really like it. Except for one thing. One horrible, eardrum-bleeding thing. Their jingle.

This is serious. Action MUST be taken.

I know I am not the only one who hates this 1970s electronic blip because I've talked about it with other young, smart, hip listeners. I think the peeps over at MPBN have heard it for so long that it doesn't register with them how awful it really really is. It's just too bad that such a good newscast has to start off on the wrong foot.

I suggest we start a petition to change the jingle for the love of God and all things pure and true. Who's with me?!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dr. Leonard's Crazy Magazine

I have mentioned this before on this blog, but I bought my grandparent's house this summer. This means that I now get all of their weird, old people catalogs even though my grandfather is dead and my grandmother lives in assisted living.

I got a particularly interesting magazine in the mail yesterday for my grandfather: Dr. Leonard's. I am a sick individual with a weird sense of humor, so I like to look through these magazines and laugh at the silly things I see, like caftans, fleece blankets decorated with a large face of a wolf or tiger, and funny ads for hair conditioner and denture adhesive.

But as I'm innocently flipping through I come to a page of horror. Beyond the bunyon correctors, support thigh-highs, and a magnetic knee brace was a two-page spread featuring....VIBRATORS! There were all kinds of them! There were some with butterflies and some with rabbits. There was Lov Rub and a pump to conquer impotence. There were even vibrating erection rings.

I gasped (I was clearly not expecting this) and gazed with consternation. Then I started thinking about my grandfather -- the one who had to have sliced tomatoes with every meal and beans on Saturday -- leafing through this magazine and coming upon this page. I wonder if he would laugh...or be embarrassed...or even know what the vibrators were for. This made me laugh. A lot.

So, thank you Dr. Leonard, for sending my dead grandfather a magazine including EVERYTHING an octogenarian could possibly need to live a more fulfilling life.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Book: The Girls From Ames

When I'm looking for a new book to read I head to Borders with my notepad. There I browse and write down the titles of the books that caught my fancy then check them out at the library. I find that it's WAY easier to browse at a bookstore than the library. This is how I came across The Girls From Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow.

I like books by journalists. Zaslow took a year off from his column at The Wall Street Journal to write this book. Journalists turned novelists make me feel like someday I can actually write a book. Maybe.

Anyway, I was particularly interested in this book because I grew up in a college town and had a clique of friends. We were called "The Clan" in high school and we were made up of mostly oldest-children in our families navigating the waters of high school. Melanie, Heather, Laura, Tyra, Kate, Tonie, and Jody. We all did everything together. That's not to say that we didn't have friends outside of our clique -- because we all did. But we were popular and known to have ties to each other that went back to preschool days.

I just started this book last night. I was flooded with memories of my own friendships and started thinking about those girls and what they are up to today. I keep in touch with every single one of them. Some of them have lost touch between each other, as will happen over time. I love every single one of them still and wish I could see them all more often.

So far the book is living up to my expectations. It's interesting that a male journalist is chronicling the lives of these 11 women friends, but so far he's doing a really great job. I'm excited to read more!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Oh Martha!

My friend Meryl gave me a subscription to Martha Steward Living for my birthday. This magazine has a lot of beautiful photos and great recipies...but my favorite part of the whole thing is Martha's Calendar.

You, reader, can find out what Martha has planned to do every day of the month! Here are some of her planned activities for January:

January 7: Dust books in the library along the spines with a feather duster.
Who in their right mind needs to PLAN to do this? And why so detailed? What if she doesn't use a duster made of feathers? Does she melt?

January 10: Decorate dining room with begonias.
Again -- such detail. What if the florist happens to be out of begonias?

January 12: Polish copper pots.


January 14: Bathe cats.

I wish wish wish I could be there to watch Martha bathe her cats. OMG would that be funny. In all actuality, I'm sure she pays a minion to bathe the cats for her. She wouldn't want to get her cashmere sweater all scratched up. And anyway -- don't cats bathe themselves on a daily, if not hourly basis?

January 16: Begin winter dormant pruning of pin oak allee.
This is how that sentence sounds in my mind: mdsfao nf ajfididaieke dakf ndalsie. Exactly.

January 19: Bring a bowl of fresh eggs to the office.I might suggest bringing homemade cookies or cinnamon buns...but no. Martha brings eggs. Not the easiest thing to snack on throughout the day...

January 20: Vacuum and dust coils of refrigerator (unplug it beforehand).
Nobody but Martha does this.

January 31: Pulse bread (or uncooked white rice) in coffee grinder to remove residue.
God bless the child who forgets to do this.

Not only does she have a daily talk show, a monthly magazine, and various other celebrity stuff to do, it's nice to know Martha doesn't overlook her other duties as duster, egg giver, and cat bather.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

An open letter to a PR person...

Dear PR person,

Hello. How are you? Wait a minute -- don't answer that -- I don't really care. Did you know that this is the third time you have contacted me about your idea/event/book? Are you familiar with our magazine? Oh, wait again, clearly you're not or you wouldn't be pitching me your idea/event/book.

See, we are a monthly regional publication that writes about specific things happening in a specific area in Maine. And being a monthly publication means that the event you are pitching me that is going to be happening this weekend will not be able to make it into the next magazine because it's already gone to print. We send our January/February magazine to the printer in the beginning of December so that it's on the shelves in a timely fashion.

And if you have taken the time to look at our publication online, you will see that we don't cover people from out-of-state, rock bands on tour, or do book reviews, though thanks for that free CD and book. No I haven't listened to it or read it and I probably won't.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Robert Frost was smart....

I'm reading a biography of Robert Frost that was lent to me by a friend. I've never been taken by his poetry in the way I am with other poets (Stephen Dobyns for example) but that doesn't mean I'm not interested in this American wordsmith.

In reading the first chapters I have come to a conclusion: people growing up in the educational system in the late 1800s and early 1900s were smarter than kids growing up now.

Sure it's a bold statement, but I really believe it to be true and here's why: there was no technology to waste their time. Sure, we're technologically savvy today. We know how to blog, facebook, twit, post videos on YouTube, tivo, and text. All of these distractions are getting in our way of being able to reason and think for ourselves.

Think about it...back in the day the only books around were what we call "classics" today. It was expensive to print books and there weren't as many. Heck -- you can pay a meager fee to publish your OWN book today! Kids back then read Homer and learned how to understand it! Parents read to their kids for entertainment. They didn't read Dr. Seuss, they read serious books! Books I probably can't understand now as a 30-something.

Don't get me wrong. I like technology. But I wonder if all these laptops in the classroom and fancy schmancy calculators are really doing us a whole lot of good if we can't read a paragraph or a chapter and talk about it thoughtfully?


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jenny 8. Lee took the buyout!

I saw in this Gawker post that Jennifer 8. Lee took the buyout from the New York Times and I'm a little surprised. She was sort of a "star" if you will of the metro section...with name recognition and all.
Jenny 8. Lee, who has spent the last two years as one of the creative and daring and agile brains behind City Room, and her instincts and inventiveness have helped make it the second most popular blog in our empire.

My friend Kaija from NYU j-school shadowed Lee for a story and I was sorta jealous. I'm dying to know what her plans are...