Now Cough

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Slice o'Fascism

From the AP --
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered government and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replace foreign words that have crept into the language, such as ''pizzas'' which will now be known as ''elastic loaves,'' state media reported Saturday.

The presidential decree, issued earlier this week, orders all governmental agencies, newspapers and publications to use words deemed more appropriate by the official language watchdog, the Farhangestan Zaban e Farsi, or Persian Academy, the Irna official news agency reported.

The academy has introduced more than 2,000 words as alternatives for some of the foreign words that have become commonly used in Iran, mostly from Western languages. The government is less sensitive about Arabic words, because the Quran is written in Arabic.

Among other changes, a ''chat'' will become a ''short talk'' and a ''cabin'' will be renamed a ''small room,'' according to official Web site of the academy.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

On and Off the Road

A blur.

That's the nature of day-on-day travel. My sister in law called me one morning, she on the East Coast and me in LA. To be honest I had no idea what day it was and what city it was. No wonder she laughed.

Bizarre Getting ready for landing in Denver this morning, I caught a glimpse of a bullfight on the in-flight television. What could be more odd? A man slowly butchering a wild animal, the audience not sitting in a Hemingway-esque bull ring but in a metal tube 20,000 feet above the earth, air conditioned, banking over the Western plains where Native Americans had done the exact same thing with buffalo.

Anger In Denver, the most disorganized, chaotic McDonalds in the universe. Five or six lines with 10 people deep. Teenagers overwhlemed. An up-ended, broken cash register sharing space with Happy Meals. An old man finally loses it -- "I wanna talk to the manager!!!" -- in a dispute over a $5 bill. Time stops.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Shooting Stars

'I Love LA Part 2"....

My good friend Pat Ford and I were having lunch on a miserably hot Saturday in downtown LA at this ultra hip eatery/hotel/party place (more later) and who walks in..

Jessica Alba

She of very dubious acting talent but no matter. Cameras were made for her looks. She was not dressed like an LA slut, and she actually kept her shirt on. Looked to me like she was 'doing a meeting' with two guys who were very carefully dressed in casual stylin' duds. I thought her face looked a bit pudgy; she did, after all, bite into the big, honking BURGER. She was wearing some black slacks and form fitting jacket that cost as much as my first car.

Lovely girl.

Friday, July 21, 2006

I Love LA

I was driving down Wilshire Boulevard the other day and passed an abandoned lot ringed by chain link fences. It was the remains of the Ambassador Hotel...THE hangout for the Hollywood crowd in the 30s through the 70s. And it is where Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 after winning the California presidential primary.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

Congressman Pete Hoekstra, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committe, is a bone head. After years of an Iraq War, multiple inspections by neutral parties, he seriously thinks there are WMDs in Iraq. Seriously.

And now he uses the most irresponsible of allegations, and verbal bank shots to link the press with Al Qaeda. Most of us have a chip in our brain that stops us from saying things we know sound stupid or half-baked. Pete opens his mouth and, for all intents, de-pants himself. Proudly:

More frequently than what we would like, we find out that the intelligence community has been penetrated, not necessarily by al Qaeda, but by other nations or organizations," he said.

I don't have any evidence. But from my perspective, when you have information that is leaked that is clearly helpful to our enemy, you cannot discount that possibility," he added.

Worked for Joe McCarthy...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sour Grapes

I just spilled my Merlot.

Areas suitable for growing premium wine grapes could be reduced by 50 percent -- and possibly as much as 81 percent -- by the end of this century, according to a study Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Maybe the US needs more than Al Gore's excellent An Inconvenient Truth to put down their latest vintage and confront global warming. This study might be it:

Grapes used in premium wines need a consistent climate. When temperatures top about 95 degrees they have problems maintaining photosynthesis and the sugars in the grapes can break down, said [Noah Diffenbaugh of the department of earth and atmospheric sciences at Purdue University] in a telephone interview.

All from AP.
Photo from Ryan Greenberg

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Harmonic Convergence?

I have a theory, a weak one, that has to do with fundamental design: when people work on the look and feel of one thing long enough, diverse ideas tend to coalesce over time until the design of any one thing tends to look only one way. I think part of the reason this happens is because function is so critical to good design, and while dramatic and unique design has its place, form and function balance toward an 'acceptable' look. Ease of use is so critical to what 'looks right' that mass design tends to look pretty much the same.

Latest case in point: the homepage screens of AOL and the redesigned page from Yahoo!

Friday, July 07, 2006

As White as (Tony) Snow

From the Washington Post:

Cincinnati Gentlemen, a year-old publication that says it's "Cincinnati's Lifestyle Magazine for Men." A caricature of Snow is on the cover, which says: "From Cincinnati to '1600.' " The headline goes on to say, "He Speaks For The White House; He Talks With Us."

On National Public Radio, which Snow has worked for: "One of the problems with NPR is that there is so much political correctness that if you've got a name that looks like it was made up by Rudyard Kipling , you've got a better chance of getting hired. I'm a white guy named Tony Snow for heaven's sake. That's as white as it goes."