My Best of 2010 (Things Read, Viewed, Heard…)

Better late than never, a list of things I enjoyed in 2010. In the interest of time and space, these are just the things that really stood out (in a good way), with little commentary… Books I read a number of books this year, but these are the few that especially moved me… Fiction Let The Great World Spin (Collum McCann) – Especially the virtuosic passage in the middle, wherein the highwire artist trains for […] Read More

On Happy Meals and the Nanny State

The latest highly-publicized, hotly-ridiculed move by my adopted city of San Francisco was to ban the Happy Meal. And so once again we have lobbed a softball to conservatives and libertarians across the nation, who relish any opportunity to point west and say, “See? See the nanny state? See those people who are too dumb, or too lazy, to [in this case] decide for themselves what their kids should and shouldn’t eat?” My libertarian-leaning friends […] Read More

The 3 Cs of Mobile Engagement

Two years after Pinch Media released their iTunes App Store Secrets report, I still see this iconic curve on a regular basis: It doesn’t matter whether it’s a game or a productivity app, free or paid, the typical mobile app is dumped like a cheerleader after prom night. Most are all but abandoned within a month or two, which means they’re either ill-conceived, poorly designed, or both. It’s especially sad when you consider how hard […] Read More

Have You Ever Killed a Person With Your Car?

The ongoing BP / Deepwater Horizon oil disaster is a sickening object lesson in the evils of oil. Of course it’s just the latest in an ugly line of spills that have occurred over the years. BP itself has a long track record of safety and environmental violations. I still have vivid tv memories of sludge-coated birds and other wildlife affected by the Exxon Valdez. The impact of oil accidents on nature and wildlife has been […] Read More

Three Financial Industry Reforms We Should Demand

The House recently passed a major financial reform bill, and the Senate will vote on it as soon as there’s enough Republican support to push it through. By most accounts, the Republicans are mostly on board, which is probably why we’re not hearing a whole lot about it from the media. There’s not enough conflict and hysteria to make it television fodder. 18 months ago we were told we were teetering at a precipice. We […] Read More

Losing My Religion

I was a good Bryn Athyn boy once. Many people reading this will have no idea what that means, but briefly, Bryn Athyn is a suburb of Philadelphia. It is (or was – I haven’t lived there in decades) very much a bubble, a pleasant Christian community centered around a church that is officially called The New Church but more colloquially the Swedenborgian Church. Many families in Bryn Athyn have lived there for generations. I […] Read More

Our Missed Opportunity

Things are ugly right now. After the healthcare bill passed, we all heard how a few so-called tea baggers hurled racial slurs and other insults at Democratic lawmakers, broke windows of party offices and engaged in other such foolery. Yesterday, I saw Mitt Romney’s new book on display in Borders. It’s called “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness” – an obvious swipe at Obama liberals for acting as if the United States is something […] Read More

Two Futures

I feel like the media constantly bombards us with two completely opposite visions of the future: In future #1 I can talk to my home appliances and have virtual sex with supermodels while my hydrogen-powered biodegradable car drives me to work. In future #2 I’m learning to make fire and trying to defend my survival garden against roving bands of marauders. I don’t know which one we’re headed for, but I’m stockpiling canned food.

Coming Soon to Google Street View: The Inside of Your House

Today I walked down to Cafe Dolci to grab a banh mi (I always order  a combo of grilled pork and paté incidentally), and there was a guy inside the place taking pictures. Cafe Dolci is busy at lunchtime and only has room inside for one person, so while the photographer and his tripod monopolized the place for a few minutes, a gathering throng of customers milled around outside. At one point, one of them […] Read More