Three years ago today, I signed up for Twitter, beginning a love affair that now involves 2,368 people directly (952 I follow and my 1,416 charming, smart and gorgeous followers) and thousands more by association. For this, you can either thank or blame the editor who sent me a link to Ana Marie Cox's then brand-new feed and said something to the effect of, "I think you'd be good at this."
I'm certainly not as popular as Ana Marie, but I tend to my Twitter counts like an old man with his tomato plants, and have a very low "block" threshold. Also I can't bear to think about politics, cats or my pants quite that much. So it's all good.
This week also marks six years since I launched this blog, which has slowed somewhat but (like the blog world itself) definitely grown and changed because of Teh Twitter. There's so much more quick-hit posting because of the increase in mobile, plus microblogging/sharing sites like Twitter and Tumblr, and Facebook's ability to easily link from almost everywhere. So while it's meant not spending entire days sitting in front of my computer working on the blog, it's also meant I need to be more disciplined and focused on actually making time to think and write. I'm working on that.
On the one hand, you have the JetBlue flight attendant who made the kind of spectacular exit everyone fantasizes about when he told off the cabin, popped the emergency slide and peaced a 28-year career. Frankly, my favorite part of this isn't that he grabbed a few beer from the beverage cart on his way out the door, but that when the cops showed up to arrest him he was in flagrante delicto:
Slater was later arrested at his home in Belle Harbor by Port Authority
officials. Police sources said that when authorities found Slater he
seemed to be in the midst having sexual relations. (via NBC New York)
You gotta figure he knew he'd be going away for a little while, at least, and wanted to get his ya-yas out one last time. Dammit, that shows just the kind of clear-thinking you want during an in-flight emergency!
On the other hand, you have Jenny the Whiteboard Girl, who exposed a creepy boss's Farmville addiction in a series of photos she emailed to the whole office and whoops! it got on the Internets.
Already, some who know the fed up flight attendant are describing him as just the kind of short-tempered jerk who would eventually snap. Give the guy points for doing the least violent thing, I guess?
As for Jenny, that's the best use of company office supplies since people start stealing rolls of toilet paper to take home. I hope the Expo Marker people are on the phone offering her a job right now. The kid's got moxie.
If he wins, Johnston promises to fulfill his duty as the town's mayor.
And should his candidacy prove successful in Wasilla, Jones said he's got Johnston's sights set next on the Alaska governor's race -- and it's not entirely clear whether he's kidding or not. (And if it again sounds too far-fetched, remember that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura were elected governor in much more populous states.)
Johnston -- who describes himself as "half red-neck, half Hollywood" -- said he hoped the show would correct what he believes are misconceptions about him in the media.
Actually, Levi, you're pretty easy to figure out: You're a famewhore baby-daddy-to-two with a messed up, drug-addled family.
In other words, the perfect candidate!
The Variety piece doesn't say whether Johnston will run as a Republican or not. One can only hope.
In all seriousness, while American politics was the original reality television, I'm bugged by a stunt candidacy as much as I was by the Salahis' White House dinner party incursion.
Stay the fuck away from my government, you tacky fools.
As far as I can tell, for now, the phrase ‘middle class values’ basically means avoiding drug use, opening a bank account and having sex missionary style. I’d like for much greater accuracy and transparency for journalists.
Chris asks the time-honored question, that is, what exactly is this middle class we hear so much about. I'm not sure about the "avoiding drug use" part, though, as we know the middlebrow loves its meds.
Not long ago a Boomer-age reporter asked me whether I thought "some middle class parents" might resent their kids for having a cooler lifestyle than they -- with the cell phones and gadgets and all.
Now, we can count any number of reasons this story goes nowhere, but it did get me thinking about what signifies a middle class existence -- surely having a cell phone isn't the best example, as lower-income people often rely on mobile phones as a primary alternative to landline service.
So what do you think makes a person "middle class"?
... there's growing support for the project from New Jersey farmers, who consider it another market for their fruits and vegetables. They consider turning their wares into wholesome processed foods with an extended shelf life as a new business worth trying, she said.
"When kids are in school, it's not the main harvest time," Holtaway said. "It extends the seasonality by a value added operation."
"It's basically almost like extending the season," state Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher said of the Food to School program. "We have this (produce) glut in the summer when the kids aren't in school. As we move into the school year, (schools) start looking for other sources of food. Anything we can grow in our state that can be turned into something kid friendly and nutritionally appealing is good."
Rutgers and the state Department of Agriculture will fund the program with a $51,000 federal grant. New Jersey is one of 18 states to get the grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the federal government's National School Lunch Program.
Video-game fads come and go like so many fashion trends.
At a time when 1980s retro video games such as Ms. Pac Man are enjoying
an ironic renaissance, Skee-Ball
both celebrates its 100th birthday and careens into its second century
in the most up-to-the-minute way: with an iPhone app version of the
game. The handheld Skee-Ball
- priced right at 99 cents, the cost of a few turns in the arcade -
features enough game detail to tide over aficionados until they can make
it back to their favorite boardwalk arcades next summer.
Invented in Philadelphia by J.D. Estes in 1909, the real-life version of
the game is manufactured by the Skee-Ball Gaming Co., a family-owned enterprise in
Chalfont. It's the classic arcade skill game - one that makes even
pinball machines, invented in the 1930s, look like a Johnny-come-lately -
and is beloved by generations of amusement-seekers.
And so it was on the real last day of the 2009 summer season - the
Sunday of Columbus Day weekend for you shoobies - that Jack Morey came
to Mariner's Arcade in Wildwood with a bucket of quarters and a full
repertoire of Skee-Ball
techniques. To Morey, 48, one of the two brothers who own and operate
amusement piers along the Wildwoods oceanfront, Skee-Ball is part of what makes the boardwalk the
"It's like something from the penny arcade days; it's a nice change from
all the electronic games," he said, nodding toward the long rows of
blinking video games that take up the bulk of the arcade. Morey settled
into a well-practiced crouch akin to a bocce stance, then rolled a so-so
270 while bragging about a personal-best score of 560. Morey said he
scored that one during a Skee-Ball
tournament in 2008 that was part of a meeting of the International
Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, which Morey's Piers
hosted in Wildwood.
This year's IAAPA convention, in Las Vegas next month, will celebrate Skee-Ball's 100th birthday
with its new throwback version based on the oldest Skee-Ball alley in the company's possession, a solid-oak
design from the 1930s, said Eilleen [cq] Graham, the company's director of
marketing. Graham's father, chief executive officer Joseph W. Sladek,
bought the company in 1985, meaning that Graham literally grew up on Skee-Ball, joining her two
brothers as they all worked their way through various roles in the
The game, too, has grown and changed in its lifetime. The first Skee-Ball alleys were 36 feet
long, but the length had been trimmed to 14 feet by the time the first
tournament was held in an Atlantic City boardwalk arcade in 1932. In
1981, the lanes had been pared down to the now-standard 10 feet. The
original hand-crank ball returns were gone by
the time the electronic version debuted in 1974, and over the years the
old-timey wooden balls - exactly 3 1/8 inches in diameter and made of
compressed sawdust from cutting the wood for the lanes - have been
replaced with plastic, Graham said.
"The plastic balls are OK, but they really don't make the same sound,"
Graham said. "Unfortunately, [the wooden balls] are really hard to come
by these days - the company we used to use to make the balls shut down. "
Still, Skee-Ball forges
ahead, employing about 35 people who make, market, and service a catalog
of arcade and amusement games. And while it seems to go hand-in-hand
with summer weekends at the Jersey Shore, about 100,000 Skee-Ball lanes are currently operating in arcades, bars,
and amusement centers worldwide, Graham said.
The iPhone version of the game, developed by Brooklyn-based Freeverse
Inc., was released Sept. 22 and has since been near the top of the list
of most popular paid downloads. It was important that the digital
version somehow capture the spirit of the actual game in order for Skee-Ball Gaming Co. to
license its brand, Graham said.
"It's really an odd mix because you have so many people who are
interested in the retro feel of the Skee-Ball game, but then on the other hand you have all
this technology going on, and it's just amazing that it's transcended
the generations," she said.
Reviewers and gamer blogs have raved about the handheld game's rich,
authentic sound - the clacking noise the balls make as they roll down
into the chute is spot-on - and the ability to direct the ball toward the higher-point targets by tilting the
iPhone. The game also scores with detailed graphic touches like the
familiar prize tickets and appropriately cheesy items for which to
redeem them, such as plastic vampire teeth and a paper finger trap.
Four-year-old Mike Brodecki scored one of those finger traps, a green
one, playing Skee-Ball
earlier this summer. By Columbus Day weekend, his game was sharp enough
that the preschooler rolled a 310, qualifying for the last Skee-Ball tournament of the
season. Mike had traveled from Burlington County with his family for one
last day on the boardwalk.
That ability to bring players of all ages and skill levels - pop-pops
and granddaughters, cousins and coworkers - together for a few minutes
of fun is why game lovers always return. It's a scene that Mitch
Szymanski, 91, has watched play out for decades from his perch in a
booth overlooking the swirling crowds that fill the arcade. The retired
Pennsylvania Railroad employee, originally from West Philadelphia, has
been announcing the Skee-Ball
special here (an extra 300 points if you roll a 280 or more) for so
long, he's now just known as "Mr. Skee-Ball. "
"It's the oldest game on the boardwalk; it's the only game on the
boardwalk!" he calls into a microphone, beckoning players to the
arcade's wall of 17 Skee-Ball
Off-mike, Szymanski confesses: "I'm no good at playing it, though. But
my grandson is. "
Perhaps he might try the iPhone version? In the meantime, Mike Brodecki,
a child of the 21st century, was thoroughly uninterested in the digital
game and ran off to find his mom-mom, his Skee-Ball mentor. Morey gave it a try, though, flicking
his finger across the screen and racking up several tickets. He shook
It got me thinking about what it'd be like if I dated Kanye West and the kinds of conversations we'd have. I'd bet that he'd send me the most insane text messages. Seeing as I have an MFA in crazy texts, it wasn't too hard to imagine this scenario.
The thing about Kanye West's tweets is that you find yourself answering him back, trying -- as Anna does in her imagined txt two-way with Kan -- to make some rhetorical sense of the diamond fronts and cherub imagery.
While I feel a great personal responsibility to take a strong stand against the creation of any more Bear-related band names (seriously, cut that shit out), I can't get enough of this. Rinse and repeat.