The Metric of Mainstream_______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Between Blink Lines___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Iowa Products: America's Heartland

Billboard | Businessweek | Iowa Billboard Equates Bacon with  Cigarettes

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has designed a billboard making its debut one month before the annual Bacon Festival in Des Moines, Iowa. 
Des Moine Register
my translation

The Mournings of Wellman Iowa were inspired by a book called Good House Cheap House written by Seattle architect John DeForest. They hired him to design and build their home which is featured in Dwell Magazine this month as one of America's Best.
photography by Dwell Magazine
The views from the house reach out into a pastoral landscape. 

The Mourning: photograph by Dwell Magazine
American Gothic by Grant Wood

A relational thought: traditional and contemporary.

Dwell Magazine | Wellman Couple's Farmhouse Considered Best in America

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rocks for Treats: Post-Halloween Commentary

The Washington Post | ‘American Horror Story’: 10 questions about ‘Halloween’ part 2
For most, Halloween fun includes making costumes, picking pumpkins at the local patch (which might mean the grocery store), carving the pumpkins, dressing up, trick or treating, and eating candy. A viewing of It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is an annual treat: "I got five pieces of candy",  "I got a chocolate bar", "I got a quarter",  "I got a rock". If I were Charlie Brown, I would have played a trick and switched my bag with Lucy's. That is what she deserved for years and years of pulling the football away just as Charlie Brown was about to kick it and watching him fall flat on his back.
What about the dark side of Halloween? Monday night, within the Angry Birds, Elmos, Harry Potters, and Disney Princesses, a dark side emerged. No, not Darth Vadar but a few scary masked spirits. Their presence stirred me like anything that emerges and submerges without sound or status. A crying or smiling hairy lion exhibited facial gestures that expressed (did not disguise) who they were and what they were feeling. A masked, four and half foot tall body covered in a flowing black gown to the ground dressed as Edvard Munch's (or, more currently, Wes Craven's and Kevin Williamson's) The Scream did not laugh and did not shout a traditional "Trick or Treat". Instead it floated quietly to the front steps and stood in front of me, staring even after I placed candy in their pillow case. It had no status. As I sent it wishes of "Happy Halloween" it lingered and I was forced to wonder who or what was under that mask. The oddness of costume and of character chilled me.

As kids, we spent years watching Charlie Brown fail and prevail. Charlie cut too many holes in his sheet to be a ghost, picked a very small and weak Christmas tree, unacceptable to the Peanuts gang, was vulnerable and naive and lacked self confidence. He had psychiatric sessions with his peer and nemesis, Lucy, in order to resolve his problems. She was quick to point out all of his issues. Even when things would look up for Charlie, she would slap him in the face. For example, Charlie was ecstatic when he received an invitation to a Halloween party, but Lucy pointed it out as a mistake because there were "two lists: one with those invited and one with those that weren't."

Charlie Brown had status; his face and body language told all. Charles Shultz, the Peanuts cartoonist, used his own personality as a model for Charlie; shy and withdrawn. He used the jazz music of Vince Guaraldi to add to the dreariness of Charlie's moments. 
The people that were closest to Charlie were innocently awkward too. Charlie's dog, Snoopy, also known as Joe Cool, was interesting as he made every attempt to be popular and used strange methods to gain attention. He would wait by the drinking fountain and flirt with girls as they took a drink. They were never impressed. His best friend Linus had trouble growing up, ie. he carried his blue baby blanket with him everywhere he went. The blue blanket actually came to life one day and danced with Linus. Then there was Peppermint Patty. Masculine, abrasive, and loud, Peppermint Patty loved "Chuck" and his blush was not of reciprocation but embarrassment. These relational characters added to Charlie's status.

Charlie found happiness when he pondered and discovered the truth in things. He didn't like the superficial commerciality of the holiday light contest that Snoopy entered or the party that consistently arose during practice for the Christmas pageant. Charlie's own truth, his status, showed in his wrinkled faces, his slumped body, and his big wide open shouting mouth. While some find truth refreshing and masks fearful, others, like Linus find Charlie's truth a bit frustrating: "Charlie Brown, you're the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem. Maybe Lucy's right. Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you're the Charlie Brownest."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mom-and-Pops and Pop-up Retail: Cousins

International Business Times | Challenge: Pop-up Retail Store
My x/y generation definition for mom-and-pops: individual business owner OR local franchise.

Do you remember a time when you could walk to the corner store, pick up "a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter" or, in Home Alone, "the milk, the eggs, and the fabric softener". You could wave hi to your neighbors sitting on the porch and to the old men sitting on milk crates chatting outside the... YES, you do. If you live in a dense city,  you do. It's now. If you do not remember life like this and you live in America, it means you live in one of the following: a city that has gone through economic hardship, a suburb, an office park, farmland, or (insert opinion) a new urbanist community that promised you these moments and didn't follow through. If you long for that Mom-and-Pops lifestyle, go out there, find it, and grab it! I know, I know, the Big Box phenomenon has suffocated the Mom-and-Pops scene and you're angry... this post is not going there.
I Can Remember - Sesame Street, Season 4, Episode 46
Who doesn't love a street vendor? Piping hot street meat that curbs your "Saturday-afternoon-shopping-spree" hunger, your "late-night,-just-left-the-bar-with-too-much-of-one-substance-in-your-belly" balancing act, your "gotta-run-from-one-meeting-to-the-next" minute meal, or your "forgot-to-go-to-the-bank-today-and-need-something-cheap" lunch. How about the Prada, Gucci, and Coach bags that would typically cost you ten times more in a store or online? They might be originals!?! The heat of negotiation with the shady man or woman who is constantly looking around to make sure no one of legal importance is around is experiential. Then there are those over-zealous silversmiths who offer bargains as you stand and look, "I'll give you two rings for the price of one, carry the seven". Wait, what? 

In the family tree of Local Retail, street vending is an in-law to the moms-and-pops. It associates with the family yet it has a distinct genetic makeup and nature. The sometimes destabilizing temporary urban moments where the guy will pick up his bag of purses and run away once he sees an officer of the law sets vending apart from the mom-and-pops.

Pop-up stores, retail kiosks, and the trending cupcake trucks are cousins to mom-and-pops. As cousins, they are the kind that have met more than once but not the kind that have kissed; their relationship lies somewhere in between. Yes, the mom-and-pop store represents the stable, hardworking, local that pays special attention to its customers while the pop-up store "pops up" and "down" and is shipped away after any given season and the cupcake truck drives away returning only if 'enough' Chocolaty Chippy Deluxes were sold. Let's put time aside for minute. 
Image from CBC
Image from NBC
Pop-ups and mom-and-pops share some of the same genes. Although pop-ups can represent large corporations, they are urbanistically not invasive like big boxes. They are, instead, a boutique of sorts that accommodates seasonal or trending commerce. Pop-ups are a physical representation of a cultural trend. Generally speaking, pop-up stores are strategically sensitive to the character of their temporary neighborhood. If they aren't utilizing vacant lots, parking lots, and parks just like your local christmas tree or pumpkin salesman, they are temporarily leasing vacant storefronts to provide  you with all your Halloween needs. An example is Target Highline Pop-up for the Meat Packing District in New York - on the Highline that (insert opinion) reminds me of Santa's House that "popped up" after Thanksgiving and disappeared after Christmas every year in my home town. Quality nostalgia.

The aspect of time is a trait from the street vending in-law branch. Without temporary or transient, we wouldn't recognize steady and regular. Bo Duke, the younger and wild cousin and Luke Duke, the mature and rational cousin on the Dukes of Hazzard, clearly needed a bit of each other to successfully carry out a plan. What would mom-and-pops be without the retail phenomenon of pop-up?
Dukes of Hazzard
The demographic content of the neighborhood is what brought the pop-up there in the first place. The success of the store depends on participation. To those of you who could care less for the discussion of mom-and-pops and corporate retail and you just "really liked those cupcakes and that truck was great for the neighborhood and local culture and now its gone!" and you "want a cupcake store around all of the time!" - Go out there and buy those Chocolaty Chippy Deluxes!

Check out this design competition, Pop-Up Store Challenge by  Design by Many, and vote for your favorite.

Vogue | The Talent Store" Officially Launches at Fidenza Village With Special Guest Olivia Palermo

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Race is Only So Long and Then Its Done: Perform

Chicago Tribune | Chicago Marathon: Mosop sets course record, Shobukhova 3-peats

Sunday, 26-year old Moses Mosop of Kenya debuted at the Chicago Marathon and broke the record with a time of 2 hours, 5 minutes, 37 seconds. The Chicago Marathon is known as the flattest and therefore the fastest qualifying marathon. Although only one runner was the course record breaker, the other 35,669 accomplished personal goals of their own. As runners raced through 15 Chicago neighborhoods they inspired the community as committed goal-setting believers; it was infectious.

Not everyone is a runner but everyone has their own marathon. Takeru Kobayashi's marathon is hot dog eating. He set a record at the 2006 Nathan's Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest of 54 hot dogs in ten minutes and recently ate 69 in an unofficial venue. As a goal one sets and is determined to reach, a marathon can last ten minutes, two hours, or a lifetime. Regardless of medium, marathoners prepare in similar ways. The process always includes: commitment, train, discipline, injury, train, failure, train, perform and run the race. 

In running, commitment means signing up in January for an October race. Commitment is admitting that four months of training is enough preparation time for running 26.2 miles consecutively. Commitment includes selecting a training schedule, revising your diet, and washing running clothes more frequently. Commitment is icing an injury twice a day for a smooth run. Commitment is packing running shoes on weekend getaways and choosing water instead of coffee or soda as an afternoon cocktail. 

Discipline is dressing in running clothes before going to sleep in order to get up and out the door in the morning. Discipline means getting up at 5am on a hot summer day to get the run done before it hits 90 degrees fahrenheit. Discipline means minimizing drinking and shortened Happy Hours on a Friday night because your long run of 13 miles starts in eight hours. 

Training means discovering muscles in the body that are usually latent and figuring out how they help or hurt a run. Training means testing socks, shoe brands, and energy bars, and learning your tolerance for Goo. Training means putting your body to sleep when it is not tired. Training includes accepting injury and running through it when possible or failing and then figuring out how to overcome it. Training is learning that "runners high" is rare and most importantly training means figuring out how to find and maintain focus.

Image from Fleet Feet Sports in Chicago

Training also means devising a psychological strategy which is critical to the success of running a marathon. For example, I convincing myself I am a mile behind. It is surprisingly successful but my running partners think I'm insane - when we pass mile marker 16, I repeat "15, mile 15". Another technique I use enables me to defeat hills (this was helpful at the New York Marathon). I manipulate my body form by pushing my hips slightly forward until I feel my upper body and, therefore, my eyes are perpendicular to the slope of the hill. Psychologically, if I read the ground as flat, it seems like I am working less.

Takeru Kobayashi's uses a technique called The Solomon to eat quickly.  He splits the dogs in half and dunks the buns in water before eating them. He then proceeds with the "Kobayashi Shake",  a technique where he shakes his body forcing food down and densely packing his stomach to physically and psychologically manage additional eating.

When it comes to race day, the adrenaline will push you further than you imagined. Whether your marathon is running or eating food, keep yourself in check remembering all that you learned through training or you won't last the length. Regardless of type, performance is key and in some cases, a marathoners performance surpasses expectations.

Apples New Headquarters image by Core77

PCMag | Report: Steve Jobs Left Behind Plans for Four Years of Apple Products

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs was Rainbow-Filled

New York Times |  Remembering Steve Jobs: Your Pictures 

My parents purchased the Apple IIe when I was 10. The beige, plastic cube was mysterious to me as it probably was to people four, six, and ten times my age. As a young girl fascinated by beautifully designed objects, the rainbow-filled Apple logo was a redeeming quality as were the games inside. At the time, we also owned the Magnavox Odyssey home video game system. While the other kids were playing KC Munchkin and Baseball, I would sneak into my father's den and play Lemonade Stand for hours. To me, this cube was just another video game option disguised as a home computer. 

In eighth grade I took my first computer class. Paired with one or two classmates, we shared an Apple IIe and were asked to create a computer program in DOS. I can't remember the contents of my program but know that the concept was to use flash and space techniques to make the text move. I worked for hours at home on my program only to find that I had not saved and had to start all over again - 'automatic save' did not exist. Mostly,  I remember that my final product was unlike any other project I had turned in before -  a 3.5 x 5.25 floppy labeled with my name and date in a paper sleeve; the paper sleeve was critical as it protected the exposed film at the center of the disk.

The Apple computer came a long way as did my computer knowledge. Processing, memory and storage became very important to me. Nevertheless, the rainbow-filled Apple was still a priority. Although the logo evolved to a sleek outlined apple with a translucent glow or chrome-fill, the beauty that I found in the rainbow twenty-five years before was translated into the overall design of the products. Aesthetically pleasing, intuitively useful, and efficiently made, the iPod, iPad, iPhone, iTouch, and Apple computers were rainbow-filled.

Steve Jobs has been a latent and obvious inspiration to me and many designers. Quietly, his vision impacted aesthetic preferences at a cultural scale and literally enabled revolutionary design production. Last night, after shutting down my Macbook Pro and tucking away my iPhone, I got in the car and turned on the radio to hear the sad news of his death. I was hopeful he would survive as he is a man who has consistently emerged strong from hard times. Desperate for understanding, I revisited his Stanford graduation address from 2005 as I had in the past whenever I needed inspiration. If nothing else, this speech inspired anyone listening to push and be whomever they have dreamt to be. Steve Jobs, rainbow-filled, must have dreamt to change the world.

This is just one Apple story in American Culture.

See the movie  Objectified which describes the production of the macbook casing.

Google | Google Celebrates Steve Jobs With Homepage Link, Exec Tributes

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Storefront for Spontaneous Prose

ArchDaily | | Arch Record calls out Arch Daily for Plagiarism
ArchDaily | International Business Times | When Blogs Plagiarize: A Message to Our Readers

The Spontaneous Prose Store 
The Cameron House, Queen West, Toronto, Ontario

Directions: Provide topic, stand, wait, collect prose, donate at will.
     My topic: Hackers (by definition, one who gains unauthorized access.)

The Cameron House is a local fixture. 
It might be more difficult to find KHG who is, in her own way, a Hacker, . 

CNN | Rolling Stone | Bob Dylan accused of painting plagiarism

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Soap Drama: Submergence and Emergence

The Detroit News | ESPN |  Are Bills, Lions Super Bowl-bound?

Latent Conditions Emerging? 
Goodbye Erica Kane, so long Adam Chandler,  Ciao Tad Martin. Is this an end of an era? The popular media seems to think so as they comment on the finale of All My Children, a 41 year daytime soap which takes place in Pine Valley and is broadcasted daily on ABC. It may be the end of this era but it certainly won't be the end of daytime soaps. New, more progressive shows about entertaining, lifestyle, and homemaking like The Chew may replace "the drama" but fans and soap stars are still out there. The daytime soap phenomenon will submerge from mainstream, evolve in silence (like Detroit Lions Football), and re-emerge in a decade or so as a Superbowl team.

The show ended with intense cliff hangers sure to keep those who are curious on a daily basis, intrigued and even those who were 'sick day' visitors to Pine Valley. One could always come back as Stewart Chandler, the heart of Pine Valley, shot by his twin brother two years ago, could re-emerge from death that day due to advances in stem cell research.  Likened to science fiction, this daytime soap story line was a far-fetched dreamscape that is plausible in the future.
Who Shot Jr? This was a cliffhanger in the CBS Network prime time soap opera Dallas which started as a mini-series and ended up as a 13 year primetime soap from 1979-1991. Dallas was an Emmy winning program that revolved around a wealthy Texas family, the Ewings. It was known for its cliffhangers and bizarre narrative concepts i.e. "Dream Season" (Season 8) where the entire season was revealed as someone's dream. Dallas was successful, so much that it is now re-emerging in 2012 on the TNT Network. This will not be a remake but a continuation from 1991. 

The dissolving of daytime soaps in American culture suggests several issues: there are more people working during the day, the absence of a certain type of viewer, those who are at home are busy doing other things, viewers do not have time for drama or are finding it elsewhere, etc.

What does bringing back a popular prime time program about family and wealth say about current American culture?   Have Americans had enough of night time reality television? Is the reality era dissolving? Is this a residual affect of the economic climate? Are the current prime time television programs entertaining? Could there be a Twin Peaks or Dynasty 2013?

'End of an Era', okay. End of daytime soaps? Well, we still have yet to find out "Who JR Chandler shot?" in Pine Valley. 

Buzzfeed | Nancy Grace Wardrobe Malfunction

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

BAK: Pop Culture Speak, OMG

Chicago Sun Times | Ohio hospital’s ‘OMG!’ billboard draw complaints

When did we start using "OMG"?
When I was a child, letters from friends in class or yearbook messages were signed with KIT (Keep in Touch),  ASS (Always Stay Sweet), and FF (Friends Forever). I'm sure BFF was out there too but I choose to believe that acronym was not popular in my school over the fact that I was never deemed worthy of Best Friends Forever status. We also used JK (Just Kidding) for banter, FYI (For your Information), and PS (Postscript). I don't remember OMG.

What about all these Pop Culture Acronyms?
OMG must have emerged from the internet chat rooms along with LOL, BTW, and TMI. It is by far the most popular pop culture acronym as it represents a moment of "wow", "I can't believe it", "Is this/did this really happen?" etc. As a kid from the Generation X/Y, we used to say, "Oh my gosh" all the time but Michael Jackson never wrote a song about it. Usher's song OMG debuted at 14, was number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list in May, 2010 and sold over 4,000,000 digital copies in one year.

The sideways heart <3  is an interpretation of the fluffy hearts that girls use to sign a letter or message in place of the word "love,".

Many of us gripe that our emails do not properly represent the emotions of the message we are trying to relay. This is particularly true with plain text email over html. Emotion is portrayed best in the handwritten note. However, if you are concerned that your feelings are not heard, you should invest in a short lesson on Emoticons. We all know LOL but have you heard GFETE, Grinning from Ear to Ear, LMAO, Laughing my Ankles Off, ROTFL, Rolling on the Floor Laughing. Or just try visual aid: :)  :(  :o

Twitter is another animal. No worries. If you are new to the scene visit the online Twitter Dictionary,

The truth is, although reading and writing pop culture acronyms is supposed to shorten the pace of conversation, for those who don't practice regularly, this shorthand is more work. It takes more time to think of acronyms and interpret them than to just write out the actual words. Don't get me wrong, I am all for the blending of old and new language technology and learning how to participate. It brings depth to American culture. However, some, more than others are challenged by this phenomenon: I am more than my 17 year old nephew who "gets it" from birth. 

And why is it that facebook always the first to know? LOL


Huffington Post |Tareq Salahi Cries Abduction as Michaele Leaves 'On Journey'

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Vernors: Its special

Buzzfeed | Anderson Cooper Gets a Spray Tan with Snooki the first sip of a cold glass of freshly poured Vernors..."cough, cough!" Doh! Microscopic carbonation up "cough, cough!" your nose. It takes you by surprise every time. Under false pretense, you believe you can eliminate this phenomenon if you just hold your breath. Who are you kidding? Your nose is still there, right above our mouth as you take the sip. And why is it that, by your third sip, you have acclimated and no longer need to cough, even when it has only taken a minute or two from the first sip? Did James Vernors, a Detroit pharmacist, have this special science down to timing back in 1866? 

Vernors is considered ginger ale but the experience and flavor surpasses anything in its class. I compare the decision of drinking Vernors over other ginger ale to a happy hour drink selection. When ordering a vodka tonic, your server may ask "what kind of vodka would you like?" Choosing ginger ale is like "I'll have the house vodka, thanks" while Vernors is your "Belvedere please." It really is a supreme beverage - "Deliciously Different."

For those of you who have not had the privilege to taste this unique drink, you must. It is a Great Lakes regional product so you will find it commonly in Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois. Poured over vanilla ice cream it establishes the Boston Cooler. If prepared when the Vernors is cold, it makes the outer layers of the vanilla ice cream icy and therefore crunchy. Just imagine a crunchy, bubbly bite of heaven - that is a Boston Cooler. Why Boston? Detroit has a Boston Boulevard, part of the Boston Boulevard Edison District. I like to believe that is the answer to this blink line. 

"Cough, cough!" Excuse me. When we had the flu as kids, my mother would run out to the store and buy us Vernors. Along with saltines, the high carbonation and high sucrose corn syrup of 19 ingredients soothed the savage beast - an upset stomach. Needless to say, in a family of seven, Vernors frequented our refrigerator door.
Don't get me wrong, other ginger ales have their time and place and can be delicious. I am simply pointing to the preferred experience. There are ginger ales and then there is Vernors. 
Showbiz Spy | Madonna Won't Dwell on the Past

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Blink Line In Memory: 9/11 and Peter Jennings

CNN | NPR | How Aaron Brown Became CNN's Voice Of Sept. 11
Although I wanted to, I hesitated all day to talk about the events of 9/11. I did not know a victim or  family or friend of a victim but carry strong emotions that make it difficult to talk about, especially to a broad internet audience. I would rather focus on inspirations that evolved from the days that followed:

I recall the voice of Peter Jennings, ABC News correspondent, that morning as I sat at my desk unable to see but only able to hear the disaster unfold over our office phone system. I remember his words turned from calm and collected in view of the plane crash to disparate and quiet at the fall of the South tower. In my ears I remembered it that way and never wanted to piece together the visual images I saw later with that exact moment of Peter Jennings voice.

Today, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I watched the ABC coverage of that morning on YouTube. Peter Jennings was relaying information he had just received regarding the TSA's request to land all nation-bound flights while the South tower was falling and when he transitioned to new film footage of the WTC he didn't know what he was looking at [blink line]. As he learned that the entire South tower had crumbled, there was silence, a breath "whoo," and "my god". He then collected his emotions, stuff them into his pocket for later, and continued to report the news as it came. This was different than my pieced-together recollection: the gap of actual audio to video was not a part of my memory, the silence had grown longer over the past ten years, and I had four or five more 'my gods' in my story. However, the moment was just as empty and my stomach dropped in the same way.  

I was in my twenties, fresh out of school when 9/11 occurred. I had never watched the news and had never really thought about my identity as an American. Peter Jennings, was a Canadian American journalist and high school drop out, who began his career with ABC as Americas youngest news anchor in 1965. Although I remember his voice as a child, I did not become a fan until 9/11. He was strong, determined, and a proud American. 

We learned much later that Peter Jennings had developed lung cancer due to smoking; he smoked early in life and admitted in his final sign-off from ABC in April 2005, "... and I was weak and I smoked over 9/11." He died due to complications from lung cancer in August 7, 2005.

The latent bond amongst Americans emerged on 9/11 and still does in its memory. I choose to believe that those who lead in this disastrous moments inspired this emergence. Although George Bush Jr. was cursed for his presidential actions, he was applauded as he approached the stage this morning at the WTC Memorial as was Mayor Guiliani for their strong leadership ten years ago. I imagine that Peter Jennings would receive that same kind of recognition by the American public if he were still here. Little did he know, at 8:00 that morning as he was sipping his coffee and straightening his tie, his contributions to American culture that day would be everlasting.

New York Times |  Where Do We Go From Here?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Double or McDouble: A Burger Blink Line

McDonalds | Double Cheeseburger

What happened? If you're not looking...
Ever since I can remember my treat for an autumn Saturday (when I'm not tailgating for Michigan football) is a McDonalds Double Cheeseburger, small fry and small fountain Coke. Not only is this a delectable combination but affordable too as each of these items is on the Dollar Menu. However, last fall I approached the drive-thru and to my dismay did not see the Double Cheeseburger on the Dollar Menu. "crrr...Welcome to McDonalds. Would you like to try a vanilla shake today? crrr..." (yeah, I know, the crr.... is no longer a reality because of the vast improvement in remote technologies, however, it builds the ambiance of the traditional drive-thru experience and makes for a good story) "Do you sell the Double Cheeseburger anymore?" I urgently said as their was no time to lose. "Yes, but they are now called McDoubles and have one less slice of cheese." I panicked...omg, then... Wait. They were trying to make my guilty pleasure healthier for me. Years of wondering where all that cheese and grease was going was not of importance anymore. Of course I would get the McDouble.

Was it different? I am not a picky person in food so I really didn't notice until... My sister's guilty pleasure is the same, replace the small Coke with a Large Diet Coke. I told her about my experience and how the Double Cheeseburger was no longer. She told me that it was "just not true" and that Double Cheesburgers "do exist." McDonalds has both but the McDouble is the only one on the Dollar Menu.

hhhhaaaaaaaaaaa (this is supposed to sound like the voices of angelic choirs from above and an angelic glow should be radiating from this double cheeseburger)

Quickly I escaped the conversation and travelled to the nearest McDonalds. Sure enough, she was right. When I tasted it, it was a totally different experience than that of the McDouble. Cheesier, greasier, squishier, and great for the mornings after a hard Friday night party.

As I get older, I find that it is critical to indulge in my guilty pleasures less and find healthy options to replace them. So, the McDouble is not quite the Double Cheeseburger. My heart thanks me and so does my wallet. Some also might argue that eating at McDonalds has become the healthier choice over other fast food options and that "Super Size Me" has become a thing of the past. I'm not ashamed of my visits to McDonalds because it is so darn good. Pitch into culture America!!!

McDonalds | McDouble

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kickin' It Old-Style...Emergence of America's Favorites

Style | | Word on the Street: Cubs reunite with Old Style
After rumors that a new, more refined beer or microbrew might replace the 61 year partnership of Old-Style and Wrigley, the  Cubs and Pabst Brewing Co. announced a two-year deal. Old Style and Old Style Light will remain at Wrigley Field. Fan's wouldn't have it any other way.  PBR has never produced a cider.

Cider is fermented apple juice and an alternative to beer. Special 'cider apples' with high sugar levels to favor a fermentation process are used instead of the common eating apple. Cider apple groups include: Sweets, Sharps, Bittersweets, and Bittersharps and are named based on their tannin and acidity levels.

Heirloom apple varieties named Sheepnose, American Mother, Lady Sweet and Nickajack are emerging from decades and centuries ago. These varieties have memorable flavor. Steve Wood grew only McIntosh and Cortlands but didn't make money so he bulldozed his orchards and started growing old-style apples.
Washington Post | Old-style apples from yore making a comeback in US orchards

Sunday, September 4, 2011

College Football and Google: A Slow-er Burn to an End

Fox Sports | Slow Burn 

Lisa Horne of Fox Sports used 'Slow Burn' to describe the first week in college football which included upsets, reality checks, and feel good stories. The term 'Slow Burn' is not random as sports media and the coaches to whom they wrote about this week have remarked that they are sitting in the proverbial "hot seat." Rick Neuhisel, coach of the UCLA was singled out. In this case, his "hot seat" is possessing a less than optimal record. Slooowww Burn. UCLA fans are restless. Mark Richt, coach of the University of Georgia Bulldogs, is in the "hot seat" as his record is good but his peers in Southeastern conference have won national titles in the last five years. He's surrounded. Yesterday, fans at the University of Michigan are glad Rich Rodriguez burned in his "hot seat" in 2011, as a first win with Brady Hoke against Western Michigan looks promising.

Google was originally established by Page and Brin as a search service called Backrub. Google, the most popular search engine on the web was finally named as a play on the number 1 with 100 zeros behind it. As a company, Google is known for atypical practice. For example, in 2009 instead of lawn mowers which pollute the air and use fuel, Google rented (hired) 200 goats to eat their brush. The grass must be maintained to reduce fire hazard in that region. The herd took a week to eat it and fertilize at the same time and Google practiced eco-friendly fire safety.

Bloomberg Happy Birthday Google: Making Sense of the Web for 13 Years

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lost Iphone Prototype, Chris Brown's Diamond Watch: Steal or Return

Gizmodo I Apple loses another unreleased iPhone (exclusive)

Last year, an iPhone 4 prototype was found in a german bar in Redwood City, California and bought by gadget blog, Gizmodo, who paid $5,000 cash. 
This year's the iPhone 5 prototype was taken from a San Francisco's Cava 22 (mexican restaurant and bar), may have been sold on Craigslist for $200 and was traced by Apple to a single-family home in San Francisco.

Chris Brown, 21, has a sorted past as he took a full frontal nude picture of himself with an Iphone back in March and was leaked by an ex-girlfriend. Chris tossed his white oyster face and diamond-encrusted bezel to a "safe place" while dancing to a medley of old rap songs at the Video Music Awards on Sunday but missed the target. An honest person in the audience returned the watch to Chris's bodyguard.  If you don't know Chris, perhaps you know his radio hit "She Ain't You".
TMZ I Fan Returns $22,000 Rolex At MTV Awards

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lady Gaga's The Edge of Glory Reminiscent of the 80's

The saxophone in Gaga's Edge of Glory is reminiscent of St. Elmo's Fire.

Clarence Clemons in The Edge of Glory

Rob Lowe as Billy Hicks in St. Elmos Fire

Clarence Clemons (aka The Big Man) spent the 80's as the saxophone player in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. You may also know him from such television shows as Different Strokes, My Wife and Kids, and The Simpsons. Clarence passed away in June ironically after the release of The Edge of Glory.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Whistling: A Natural Instrument and The New Trend for Pop Music

Four songs in Billboards Hot 100 for the week of September 3, 2011 use whistling as a compositional strategy for melody.

4. Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera
7. Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People
9. Good Life by One Republic
10. I Wanna Go (To Camp by Bravo) by Britney Spears

Whistling is known to improve health as it strengthens lungs and massages organs.

Whistling and Proper Breathing Improves Health?

Angry People = Miserable Lungs

Is this why these songs are so fun? When hear them, do they make you want to whistle along? Does this make you feel good? Do the artists use natural or synthesized whistles in their songs?

Britney's whistle is a sample. It was also used in a 3OH!3 song featuring Katy Perry Starstrukk. It has now also become a widespread ringtone.

Pumped up Kicks whistle is legit. It is infectious and will make you damn healthy as it is hard to stop whistling the tune.

In conjunction with the American talent show The Voice, Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera performed this song live on the show as the release. The whistle drives the melody. The song is reminiscent of the 1978 Rolling Stones #1 song "Miss You" where the melody is driven by a unique 'woo hoo' composition and not a whistle. The whistle in Moves Like Jagger sounds natural until the end when it skids out.

Ryan Tedder of One Republic says, "We have this REALLY super simple whistle. I hadn't heard a whistle in a song in forever and that's all I kept hearing on the song so I just whistled this melody into the mic and it really is the hook — it's the catchiest part of the song.

If you like to know more about whistling songs, check out this blog:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Compuware Arena Drive-In Theater, Plymouth, MI

What to do with large parking lots in suburbia, especially when they function only part of the year?

Richard Hollingshead Jr., creator of the drive-in began testing the idea in his driveway in New Jersey in 1932 where the screen was nailed to a tree and the projector sat on the roof of his car. The first drive-in was established in Pennsauken, NJ in 1933. The concept peaked in US in the 1950s and 1960s where over 4,000 drive-ins were established and declined due to the economics of the real estate in the 70s and 80s.

Michigan Drive-Ins Documented

Kudos to Compuware Arena whose large parking lot for the Ontario Hockey League Plymouth Whalers Hockey Team arena double-functions as a drive-in movie theater all summer long since 2004....and the screen only occupies two parking spaces!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pumped Up Kicks - Foster The People

Pumped Up Kicks was released in September 2010 but has only recently received a lot of attention on contemporary pop stations. Foster The People is a Los Angeles based indie rock band.

According to Wikipedia, NPR credits their rise to fame to "Hype Machine whose structure has been described as an "amalgamation of Pandora Radio and Pitchfork Media". It aggregates the most recently posted songs from a selection of music blogs (about 1,500) and lists them on the website's main page."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ok Go and the Muppets: Theme Song Trailer Release August 23

Ok Go and The Muppets collaborate on The Muppets.

The Muppet Show, created by Jim Henson in 1954-55 which started as a television show and aired prime-time Saturdays at 7:30-8 pm on CBS was an opportunity for various entertainment artists to gain exposure and perform on family television.

Elton John, Yellow Brick Road

Other artists who collaborated with the Muppets:
Johnny Cash, Julie Andrews, Paul Williams, Steve Martin, Phyllis Diller,  Bob Hope, Liberace, Paul Simon, Sylvester Stallone, Alice Cooper, Harry Belfonte and more.