View blog reactions Waiting for Speedway Fowler: April 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007


Doc Searles First Law of Life

"The More You Know, The Worse You Look."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


This Week in Milford

I just discovered this amazing, hysterically funny blog. This Week in Milford. The blog's motto is "Writing about what's going on in Gil Thorpe's world because... well, you don't want to do it, right?"

This Week in Milford is for the Gil Thorpe obsessives out there.. and yes, they DO exist.

I always knew Gil was one of the most straight-laced strips out there, but what I didn't know is that the strip was, for a time, written by Jerry Jenkins, co-author of the "Left Behind" fundamentalist apocalypse adventure series... and that, during Jenkins tenure, the strip came under fire for story lines that were perceived by some as anti-Catholic. A pretty interesting controversy for one of the most lovably boring comics to ever see the printed page!

Gil Thorpe is written by a different team these days, and it's readership is dwindling - as are the comics in general. Enjoy it while you can.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


New England Surge Home Debut

Took the kids to the New England Surge game at the Centrum. It's sort of Triple-A level Arena football. It was a lot of fun. Definitely worth ten bucks, and the team is locally-owned, so I think it's important to support them. The Surge won, 61-6.


The View Outside My Window This Morning

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Fun With Listerine

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Dunkin Donuts Hash Browns

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Call for Comments?

One of the hallmarks of the new media is its interactivity. We post a story, people tell us what they think of that story. Or people post links related to that story that they think might be of interest. Or people comment on others' comments. It's a fascinating process. On the best new media sites, and I'm thinking of the top communal news aggregators here, each story becomes a running conversation, with participants riffing on various threads that emerge in the analysis of the story. At its best, this is an exhilarating process, the equivalent of a cross-country work-out for the brain. You see perspectives you hadn't previously considered. You are challenged to defend your viewpoint. You see one-liners that will be stolen later that day by late-night joke writers. It's almost always a fun ride.

Almost always.

But not every time. The nation has become so polarized, politically and culturally, that flamewars erupt almost immediately these days. Just mentioning the President is usually enough to start one. That may be just a sign of the times. Right now there is a lot more heat than light in the national discourse. I suppose it's to be expected that, after decades of dominating the airwaves, the polarizing tone of talk radio has crept into the other venues.

And there's another aspect to the comments queue that's troubling, an extremism that runs deeper than the poltics of the day. It's a really deep vein of bigotry, xenophobia and startling hatred that has been exposed by the new technology. Yahoo recently shut down their news comments feature because the tone had gotten so out of hand. A number of other newspapers have been forced to do the same, rather than indulge in censorship of any sort by weeding out objectionable comments. These people are out there, and their presence seems exaggerated on the internet. Just hang out in a Yahoo chatroom for a few minutes and you'd be left with the impression that the Know-Nothings and the 5-Percenters and the Klan are major factors in society these days. It's disconcerting and almost heartbreaking.

What's the reason? The sentiments expressed by these extremists seem to come from another time. But the folks hanging out in chatrooms and posting in comments queues aren't at the far end of the age demographic. Many were early adopters, who started throwing their opinions around in the days of Usenet. Many behaviorists say the anonymity offered by the internet provides a shot of courage to marginal personalities who would never exhibit similar tendencies in public. And of course, some of it is kids being obnoxious kids... but not all of it.

Whatever the reason, the result can be a minefield. It's tempting to respond to the more outrageous trolls and get bogged down in the resulting diversion. Usually, serious users will ignore the problem, but as the Yahoo example shows, this can have the opposite effect, with the deletion of the comments option entirely. Some of the aggregator sites use a type of user-policing, where readers can vote to hide problem comments, but that can go overboard and result in a chilling effect.

I'm not sure there's an immediate answer, but I do know that the new media has us talking to each other like never before, and that such a wide-open national dialogue can't help but raise the over-all level of sophistication among users. But it will take time...

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Crazy Corn!

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Dunkin Donuts Screws Up

I know.

Hard to believe.

Not possible.

Things couldn't be going any better for the coffee behemoth these days. 99% of New Englanders are addicted to their brew, and not only has Krispy Kreme's incursion into their territory failed miserably, DD has now turned the tables on their confederate counterparts, opening new outlets down south to tremendous success.
Still, if you pay close attention, you get the impression that all is not well in Dunkinland. Take their panini sandwiches. Please. The paninis debuted with much fanfare two years ago, then promptly sank without a trace. DD says the word "panini" was too shi-shi for their blue collar crowd, but the real truth is more likely that DD didn't realize that normal people don't eat Hot Pockets, that Hot Pockets, no matter how they are dressed up, are, in fact, nasty.
DD's maple cheddar breakfast sandwich is good for the first two bites, before you get that slightly sour aftertaste and realize the whole concoction is actually pretty gross and that Tim Horton's sausage biscuit breakfast sandwich is 10 times better. (Of course, only folks in Rhode Island and Connecticut, where Tim Horton's is embarking on their excellent American adventure, have been able to try their products.)

I'll give Dunkin's props for their donuts. Honeydew used to make better (and much bigger) donuts, but not anymore.
Now the coffee king is trying something new.

Hash browns.

And boy are they awful.

They are loaded - LOADED - with grease, and taste like something that's been sitting under the heat lamp oversight at the worst Greek diner you've ever been to. The hash browns come in a little coffee-cup-style container so you can eat them as you drive, but if they ever catch on the accident rate will go through the roof from drivers' greased-up fingers slipping off the steering wheel.
Here's a better idea for DD: cretons and toast, served only from November to March. Hey guys, do it before Tim Horton's thinks of it.

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