This mashup should be in every writer/editor's toolkit.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
|Click on photo to enlarge|
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
|Path of Pride|
|Pedestrian safety in disappearing ink|
You’d think that Northampton’s burghers would be self-conscious given the cautionary reminder pictured below. It, in fact, is easier to discern from the disappearing ink crosswalk than the d.i.c itself. It's a second crosswalk bordered by phosphorescent barrels topped with amber beacons resembling oversized pinball bumpers. The town rolled them out in November of 2012, after Pallav Parakh, a physician, was run down by a 25-year-old in a pickup truck.
|Northampton gets its priorities straight. . . via the rearview mirror.|
Thursday, June 27, 2013
None of this is to dis the foundation or Dean’s Beans, the latter which does admirable work on behalf of local growers, sustainability, and international fair trade. But virtuous ends don’t justify hypercaffeineated spin-lust, especially by a local business hero. That’s why my friend's explanation (he's a marketing professor) is such a comfort: “Dean must be around coffee a lot; it’s a drug, you know,” he remarks.
Friday, June 21, 2013
Dyslexic eye charts from Cascadilla Press are here.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
|The Sisyphus Sign is from dorje-d's photostream.|
Monday, March 25, 2013
Punch/Counterpunch. Still, there’s a coalition of listeners who don’t get the Punch Brothers. Not only the roots music police, but indie pop listeners who can’t stand classical and roots, and classical fans who throw up ramparts against trespassers into their magic kingdom. Then there are those who bridle at dissonance, even though the Punch Brothers always maintain a tonal center. (They do use dissonance strategically, for added spice and surprise.) And still others get thrown by the frequently break-neck morphings of their compositions and improvisations.
For many, though, the above misgivings are precisely what make the music stimulating—they spike the punch. Indeed, they mobilize the neuroplasticity of the listener's brain on music, creating novel neural connections that that keep on giving.
All that genre-busting and tricksy instrumental paradiddling might be hugely impressive, but at the end of the day, the Punch Brothers are at their most affecting when at their least adventurous,wrote reviewer Matthew Milton.
Happily, more adventurous heads and justice prevailed. Progress in music and the joys of neuroplasticity won the day. I'll take odds that Songlines and the Northampton audience are still feeling young now.
Punch Brothers on Austin City Limits "Movement and Location" from Austin City Limits on Vimeo.
Fellow Travelers: The Warsaw Village Band. Like the Punch Brothers, they deconstruct their own roots in the service of cross-genre exploration. A tour of their latest album, Nord.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Orthopedic Validation. Two weeks ago in one of those coffee shops, a friend—a public radio personality--confessed: “Lou, I may have rotator cuff issues from reading Caro in bed.” He had hyperextended his shoulder while hoisting the Caro from his night table. Whether or not Tommy John surgery is in his future, my friend’s experience can serve as a beacon to all who underestimate the power of supersized books to inflict orthopedic challenges.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
|from Dead Funny with Wig & Pen translation (click on photo for better resolution)|
|Trick or Treaters 1918|
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Monday, February 11, 2013
Not to worry. Beyond the magic (intake) curtain, you encounter slimmer and trimmer employees—medical technicians (skill level and weight may correlate somewhat here), nurses, and physicians.
As for primacy—a hospital can’t insist that its receptionists slim down, but it can nudge them via a (this may be a stretch) “preventive” culture that emphasizes creative exposure to education, exercise, and diet--all socially and perhaps economically reinforced. Until then, Cooley Dickenson will likely continue to make its best first impression with the life-size cardboard likeness of its trim Harvard/MIT-educated president, Chris Melin. He greets you just inside the door, is easy on the eyes, and offers preventive advice to boot.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
|[click to enlarge]|
You may recall that mailbox baseball gained its higher profile with Rob Reiner’s second directorial effort, Stand by Me. You can witness Kiefer Sutherland's clear potential for future mayhem (both on and off the set) in the clip below. (apologies for the subtitles)
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
|AP Photo/Jeff Roberson|
|Agony at Isenheim|
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Several years ago, when interviewing a partner at one of the planet’s largest accounting firms, I was wowed by her hard-boiled take on human nature. Evoking shades of Brian Wansink’s Mindless Eating, my interviewee likened opportunities for embezzlement and other garden varieties of fraud to the temptation of having a candy dish constantly within arm’s reach. Just as it’s ultimately futile to resist those M&Ms on your office desk, trusted employees, she noted, may have opportunities to embezzle as a continuing temptation. “. . . even nice people have been known to take inappropriate advantage of opportunities and gaps in control systems,” she emphasized.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
in the clip below, that's the cat's pajamas. [APOLOGIES FROM WIG & PEN--THE VIDEO LIKE ITS SUBJECTS HAS DEPARTED (HOPEFULLY) FOR A BETTER PLACE.]
And there is more. As the clip reveals, some Texans are also opting for their own burials--sans Bootsie---in pet cemeteries. The cost of room and board, notes the clip, beats its counterpart in people cemeteries by a mile. So why not think outside the box?
Because in Texas, times remain tough—not only for the 6.8% unemployed, but for what author and NY Times reporter Gail Collins describes in her book, As Texas Goes . . . , as the state’s “long-standing first-place ranking for jobs at or below minimum wage." But Texas is looking up. "In 2011, " she writes, "it finally managed a tie with Mississippi for the honor.”
Also on Wig & Pen: Marmorial Multitasking
Thursday, October 25, 2012
I’ve collected a sextet of inspirational titles below, where the hegemony of the For Dummies brand/franchise is—to be charitable—inappropriate. For one thing, I recommend losing the unfortunate Alzheimer’s For Dummies. By substituting Dementia For Dummies we reconnect with the series’ alliterative roots.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
|Traditional, consumer-friendly pump|
Photo by Andy Castro.
Who knew? The company that invented and grew flush from the pay toilet also brought us the first coin-operated air pumps at service stations in the late 1970s. By the mid-1970s, Indianapolis-based Nik-O-Lok was reeling from national angst over pay-toilets that had brought the business to its haunches. Scampering for a new market, the company debuted its coin-operated pump—4 minutes for a quarter (1 minute per tire)—in 1977 in Pittsburgh. Within a year, it added 500 more pay-as-you-go pumps in service stations (perhaps better described from then on as gas stations) in the Midwest and Northeast.
|Philanthropy in the Air [click on photo to enlarge]|
An Inflationary Red Herring. But don’t over-weight quarters-for-air as the disincentive in Americans’ well-documented neglect, i.e., under-inflation, of their tires--a penchant associated with garden variety flats, blowouts, and fuel inefficiencies. (A 2003 NY Times article reported that only 11% of drivers check their tires monthly as recommended.) In truth, price itself is often an over-rated factor in a constellation of disincentives, including consumer-unfriendly pumps with hard-to-decipher pressure gauges and stressful timers. And for many a driver, getting down at tire level can be orthopedically and sartorially daunting.
|The Unanswered Question|
Sunday, September 16, 2012
|Click to Enlarge (Photos: Jim Neill)|
Friday, September 14, 2012
|[click to enlarge]|
"The Celebrate Downtown Amherst Block Party . . .will be held as scheduled, announced Amherst Health Director Julie Federman via the town’s web site on the day of the party. “I am comfortable that an event of this type can be held safely in our downtown. Event organizers at my request will have two tables for mosquito repellent, one next to the Post Office and one near the Kendrick Park stage. The tables will also have advisory materials from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. If you are outdoors after dusk be sure to wear long sleeves and long pants and use mosquito repellent with DEET."
|Amherst parties on|
More on the event from Larry Kelley here.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
|After inhaling a cone, your blogger gazes smugly into Herrell Ice Cream's low-guilt mirror.|
So what if 68.8% of American adults are overweight or obese? Ultimately, though, having one’s desserts and maintaining a svelte umbra and penumbra when the angle of the sun is reasonably aloft is on you. But you’ve got the necessary self-discipline and vigilance to avoid mindless eating, don’t you? With that said, chez Herrell offers the opposite of a confession booth in the the back of the Northampton shop, where you can mug in front of a fun-house mirror that elongates whatever horizontality you may have incurred over the past decade. In other words, you can admire yourself as slimmer than when you came in.
When I pointed this out to the co-owner of a Northampton coffee shop known for its distinctive pastries, he confessed that his own culinary output might not figure in America’s solution to its obesity crisis. Then, he flipped open his smart phone asking, “I wonder if I can find an app that makes you look thinner?” Faster than lifting a runcible spoon, he produced a self-image-saving app and then another and another. Here is a link to one of them, weight mirror.com. So now you can live large while sharing your willowy likeness with envious, clueless friends in your online network. Bon appetite from the fooderati at Wig & Pen!
|Before and After via weight mirror.com|
Monday, August 13, 2012
Tanglewood is ever poised for its key demographic. You can’t miss the L'il Medic Vending Machine and Philips HeartStart Defibrillator just inside the main gate at Ozawa Hall—Tanglewood’s smaller venue devoted to weeknight chamber concerts. On a recent visit by this blogger, the L'il Medic was filled to SRO capacity with packets of Benadryl, Imodium, Pepto-Bismol, DayQuil, Bayer Aspirin, Advil, Tylenol Extra, and Trial Antacid. Beside it, the defibrillator, suggesting an oversized fire alarm, offered added assurance.
Although a roving eye revealed discreetly nested folding wheelchairs in the back of the hall, superannuation’s magic horn also had its youthful moments last Thursday at Tanglewood’s Festival of Contemporary Music. Second on the bill was Elliott Carter’s buoyant, mercurial Double Trio, composed in 2011. At age 104, Mr. Carter and his music proved inspirational to the much younger seniors in the hall and to the musicians in their 20s who performed the piece with energy and conviction.