Friday, November 30, 2001

Map Your Attack
One of my biggest frustrations -- OK, two of them -- are not having the most recent bus schedules... and not having them with me. So lo and behold, how happy was I to learn that not only can you access bus schedules on the MBTA's Web site, but that you can also download and print PDF files of the most recent schedules? Pretty happy, I'll have you know. The PDF's print out in a format perfect for folding like a brochure and putting in your pocket. Which is what I did just now for the 91 schedule. Woohoo!
On the Road... to Rhode Island
My friend Tom is moving to Providence soon. He does a blog called Thomas Hopkins Tomato Tome that's worth checking out. Make sure to eye his early experiments in Flash, some of his art, and his photography. Damn, that man's always got something going on.
Ho Ho, It's Mr. Show!
I don't need to say too much more about this, but the first 10 episodes of Bob Odenkirk and David Cross's wonderful HBO program Mr. Show are going to be released on DVD early next year. This is by far the best news I've heard all day.

Thursday, November 29, 2001

Walls That Speak
There's a house in Spencer, Mass., that's bedecked with Dr. Bronner-like slogans and signage. Reminds me of the outspoken, evangelical Christian, and homophobic sign car that's in Somerville. If you have other examples of sign/art cars and houses, please email me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2001

The Poster Police
The Independent Weekly recently ran an article about a Durham, NC, student activist who was targeted by local police because of an anti-Bush poster hanging on her wall. Reportedly, the police were responding to a tip on "anti-American material." Those interested in learning what to do when the police come knocking will be interested in this guide from the National Lawyers Guild.
Taking the Pulse of the New Economy
Just stumbled across a solid blog about new trends in business and technology. The potentially inaccurately named Internet 3.0, etc. features Tom Peters' seven rules for weathering a recession, EBay's customer relations, the death of standard pricing, and other topics. Updated almost daily since July 2001, S.G.'s reports from the front lines of business media might make good daily reading. Sources include Businessweek, Darwin, Slate, and other solid media outlets.
Death of a Diver
Paul Levenson, former president of the L Street Swimming Club, died Monday. He was 84. As prexy of the L Street Swimming Club, Levenson was a member of the L Street Brownies, a group of Boston-area people who dove into Boston Harbor every Jan. 1, following a tradition started in the late 1880s. Searching the Web, there's little official information about the club, but you can read an article from South Boston Online, a piece from the Boston Herald, and a poem from Mark Leigh Gibbons about the event. And if you'd like to have a go yourself next year, bone up on L Street Beach, where the swim happens annually. Newsreel, a seven-member media collective, has also produced a documentary called "Winter Splash."

Monday, November 19, 2001

Bust Goes, Well, Bust
According to the Boston Phoenix, the brilliantly cunning third-wave feminist magazine Bust has closed its covers for the final time with the issue currently on newsstands. New owner Razorfish laid off the staff just after a launch party to announce a new 10-times-a-year schedule, and the magazine's founders are working to buy the magazine back. Meanwhile, online discussion activity continues in Bust's bulletin boards, as well as in an independent site readers started just in case Razorfish pulled the Web plug as well as shutting up the Bust shop and staff. Best wishes to Bust founders Debbie Stoller and Laurie Henzel. I love Bust.

(Thanks to Jen Vilaga for telling me about this.)
Ignore the War V
The Week doesn't actually offer articles online, but the Nov. 23 edition sports a thoughtful look at a recent controversy in the media: Is objectivity un-American? A writer in the Weekly Standard criticizes media workers for not wearing flag pins or acting more patriotic. And in the Washington Post, Michael Kinsley says that the media is damned if they do -- and damned if they don't. Prior to the current military action, conservative critics claimed the press lacked objectivity. Now members of the press are being accused of upholding their objectivity. Depends on which way the wind blows, I suppose. But if more journalists were honest about their biases, opinions, and subjectivity, we'd avoid this hubbub in the first place. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. And stand behind it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Magazine Me II
I haven't seen Seed magazine yet, but an article in today's Globe might encourage me to brave the Boston cold to head to a nearby newsstand this afternoon. Can't track down any Web references to the new magazine, but it seems to be a science fashion magazine riffing off periodicals such as Mondo 2000, 21C, New Scientist, and others. Word is that AOL Time Warner is calling Seed a "science couture" magazine, and the Globe story is ripe with descriptions of Harper's Bazaar-like photography spreads.

In an interesting turn of events, Felice Frankel, the magazine's arts editor, is a scientific photographer at MIT. As artist in residence at MIT's electric engineering and computer science department, Felice has penned a personal manifesto on new ways of seeing science, and she's contributing to a symposium this June on "envisioning and communicating science and technology."
Ignore the War IV
Today's Boston Globe features an article on a conservative academic group that's taking 40 college professors to task for not being patriotic enough. A recent report from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni -- headed by Dick Cheney's wife -- says that university faculty and staff members have been the "weak link" in America's response to the Sept. 11 tragedies and subsequent military action.

The report reminds me of McCarthyism, and with the shallow increase of patriotism turned jingoism, I say "Right on!" to the college professors named in the report. If we don't continue to question the United States' complicity in foreign activities that aren't in our country's -- or individual citizens' -- best interests, how long will America remain the land of the free and the home of the brave? As mentioned in a previous Media Diet report, being against the war doesn't necessarily mean being against America.

On the hand, being against free speech in academia -- one of the few segments of American society that's supposedly built on questioning and analyzing -- might very well be.