Posts from February 2003

Gasp mask

gasmaskfamily.jpgGasp mask
: I’ve continued my hunt for gas masks (below) and have found Google’s Froogle to be quite helpful. Yes, you can shop for anything online. But it’s all very confusing: Do you want the Israeli model or the Korean model? Hmmm. Maybe Tom Ridge should tell us.

Or Foogle points us to a handy reference: Beyond Pepper Spray: The Complete Guide to the Chemical Agents, Delivery Systems, and Protective Masks. “This book could not have come at a better time,” says the blurb.

Here’s another problem: Editor and Publisher, the newspaper trade pub, reports that journalists sent to war are finding that their gas masks won’t fit if they wear glasses. So if I get a mask, I may breath, but I’ll be blind.

And Tom Ridge made it all look so easy.

The wrong World Trade Center

liebeskind5.jpgThe wrong World Trade Center
: Here is why I do not like the winning Libeskind design for the new World Trade Center:

Libeskind gives emphasis to and invests meaning in the pit, the bathtub, the concrete slurry walls that held in the foundation of the center. That is the focus of his memorial.

But the World Trade Center and September 11th and its aftermath are not about looking down. The World Trade Center sang to the sky. The people who lived there lived far above the ground. Their perspective was the horizon, the world. There was no pit after the building was built and until the building and the victims were dug out of it. The pit is what is left over after the life left. That is not the appropriate memorial.

Digging into the earth to create a memorial has been done, and quite eloquently, at the Vietnam memorial. To do it again is to make a gash in the earth into a cliche. And the victims of both the World Trade Center and Vietnam do not deserve to be remembered with an easy cliche.

Libeskind looks down to hell when he should be looking up to heaven.

In addition, his buildings are chaotic and chaos is exactly what should not be remembered and memorialized from that place and that day. Chaos is all I remember: bodies and buildings and flames all falling with no sense and no order, bringing fright, leaving white ash that looks like the white disorder of Libeskind’s structures. No, this design should bring order, grace, dignity, and sense back to this place. Libeskind does not.

Finally, the tower is there only to be a tower, with no purpose other than to show off. It screams vulnerability to me. I want to throw my hands over the crotch of Manhattan and protect it as I shout, “Leave us alone. Not again, damnit, not again.”

The design is inappropriate to the site and the memory. It was picked by politicians, not by the people. I will say it again: We will regret this choice.

Bennett vs. the world

Bennett vs. the world
: And I’m siding with Bennett.

Joi Ito gets surprisingly pissy about Bennett just because he doesn’t happen to think that Ito’s Emergent Democracy essay is brilliant. A [former] denizen of the Well defends Ito against Bennett. And Ito “turns on the Bennett filter.”

Hey, opinions are exactly what make democracy great. Opinions are precisely what emerge from a democracy.

And Bennett has strong opinions, strongly stated. That’s why I like him. Don’t always agree. Don’t have to. Still like him. Like I like French cheese.

Like I said, he has very strong opinions. Take today’s on the death of Mister Rogers:

Thank God. Now we can raise a generation of children who don’t believe each and every one is “special” even if they never do anything special. Fred Rogers’ legacy is narcissism, nothing more and nothing less.

Harsh, yes. But wrong?

I also like Bennett because he takes on The Well for being a bunch of Marin-geek-snots. I never liked The Well or their cooler-than-thou attitude. The Well isn’t community. It’s gated community. And Bennett and I are not alone in this opinion. Read the almost-as-testy Textism on The Well — on the real reason that Salon deserves to die:

If there

Technorati wish

Technorati wish
: I love my Technorati link cosmos and use it daily to find out who’s linking to me and what they say. I also use the Technorati Top 100 but I have one wish:

They should filter out the obvious business links all blogs make — to Blogger, Movable Type, Geocities, Google, Userland, Popdex, and Technorati itself. What I care about is what real blogs by real people are saying and gaining heat and these utilitarian links take up too many slots in the top 100.

(Plus, I’d make that top 100 more often if they were evicted.)

: While I’m nitpicking…. I still think Daypop’s Word Bursts are quite cool; I love any new measuring cup for buzz.

But today’s bursts of alleged buzz are pretty funny.

It picks up legit buzz — e.g., on “Libeskind.”

But it also picks up mere coincidences or word usage: “WABI” as a radio-station call and a religious sect; “demeaning,” “confusingly,” and “beaver” (don’t ask). These will probably be filtered out as Technorati searches more and more blogs and the more unusual words (and proper names) stand out.

Still, just as Google News sometimes needs real editors to know what’s newsworthy so does the world still need real hacks from People or the NY Post or Gawker to discern the real buzz in the cultural cosmos. Whew.

Mecca, Mecca, no Coke, Mecca

Mecca, Mecca, no Coke, Mecca
: Ad Age has some distasteful quotes from the head of Mecca Cola, the anti-American drink, using war as a marketing ploy:

Mecca-Cola, a soft drink which launched in France last November, scored a recent public relations coup by dubbing itself sponsor of the 1 million-strong peace march in London on Feb. 15. Marchers were handed 36,000 bottles of the cola and 10,000 t-shirts with the Mecca-Cola logo and the message “Stop the War” and “Not in my Name.”

In a stunt visible to those watching the demonstration on TV in London, a vehicle topped with a 20-foot-high Mecca-Cola can pulled a trailer with an outdoor board saying “All human beings are born free and equal … and should think before they drink.”

The stunt earned Mecca-Cola this reference in London’s Sunday Times: “The drink now seen as politically preferable to Pepsi or Coke.”

“I might come to advertising in a year or two, but right now Mr. Bush is making our advertising with all his aggression and his war logic,” said Tawfik Mathlouthi, Mecca-Cola’s founder.


Searching for profit

Searching for profit
: Media Savvy rings the warning bell for Overture:

Despite the fact that Overture’s net profit margin has dropped from 20% to 5% and their quarterly net income has dropped from $30 million to $5 million, they’re on a buying spree. Overture spent $400 million to buy a couple of search companies, one failed and and one for people too cool to google.

Hmmm. It’s an Idealab company, does that give you any hints about its spending DNA? The result of this shakeout could be that Overture buys everybody but Google and Google is the one left standing.


: The AP reports that the Liebeskind design for the World Trade Center has been chosen. A mistake we will regret for generations to come.

The new flag of old Europe


The new flag of old Europe
: White with a left-of-center yellow streak. [via Olde Country]