September 27, 2005
Apropos of Nothing

In the meantime, I have been singing and conducting to the new Sigur Ros album (clandestinely, of course, lest the police be called). It has lots of bells, sort of like Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run," without the saxophones. Or the singing, either, really. So it's nothing like Bruce Springsteen, it just has bells. Check it here.

Posted at 06:58 PM
September 26, 2005
Corn Monday

When I was in school, my friends the East Coast expats used to joke that prior to coming to the Midwest, they thought we were nothing but vast expanses of corn.

When it's corn on the cob time, the response is always: If only.

Here are some of the last ears of the year, courtesy of my farmers' market. Middle West, represent!

I have been playing with Technorati trying to broaden my Internet purview. Surprisingly few people are writing about corn, at least not in classic Midwest style (though polenta is a surprisingly popular topic). Here are a few fun links, though:

Fair enthusiasts will enjoy the great mule pictures from a community fair (check out the baby mule).

A new blog promising to detail the ins and outs of the "eco-friendly lifestyle" kicks things off with a post on grocery shopping. Did you know corn is typically low in pesticide? So they say, anyway. Pass the butter!

Posted at 10:02 PM
September 25, 2005
Boom = Bust

Anyone have some extra spare time? Our condo, like many in our neighborhood, I suspect, is long on needs and short on volunteers. It's one thing that our building is overstocked with white-collar professionals and understocked with, say, people who know how to use a wrench (although if we get attacked by a bunch of marauders with writs, we'll be just fine). It's far more discouraging that the mention of serving on the condo board makes our neighbors break out in a rash and disappear. (E., I will add, served on the board for four years and I have been the sole member of the gardening committee since 2002, so we are doing our bit.)

Not much has been written about this problem, although a lawyer in New Jersey has this to say:

If, because of apathy, complete satisfaction or otherwise, only one owner volunteers to serve on a condominium's board, then that board becomes a board of one (1) and that one (1) trustee will, in effect, make all decisions. This is generally why even in small condominiums, more than one person is ready, willing and able to serve in this capacity.

Anyone interested in a power trip? Anyone? Anyone?

Related links:

List of resources for community associations.

Housing Counsel column in Washington Post.

Posted at 04:47 PM
September 18, 2005
Just Bite Down

Giving gas for tooth extraction is all very humane in its way, but the time for anaesthetics is when the patient first decides that he must go to the dentist. From then on, until the first excavation is started, should be shrouded in oblivion.
--Robert Benchley, "The Tooth, the Whole Tooth, and Nothing But the Tooth"

The other day I went to the dentist. Since this was my first time at this particular dentist's office, they took X-rays. I expected this, but I did not expect them to take 18 of them. Snuggled in my lead apron, I had lots of time to wonder about the genesis of the bitewing x-ray and why, after all of these years, no one has come up with a way to make this process more comfortable. It is no fun forcing those things into your mouth, and the mouth-shredding potential of the inevitably oversized, sharp-edged, inflexible film holders, or whatever they are, is mind-boggling. (And don't even get me started about these things. There's nothing fun about them, no matter how happy that model in that picture looks). Seems like there should be a greater hue and cry about this, or at least an offer of pain reliever. The literature of dental radiography doesn't offer much insight, but here are some useful links:

Article about the differences between dental phobia and dental anxiety.
Questionnaire about dental anxiety
Site about dental phobia
Dental fear central

Last week's visit, sadly, will not be my last, owing to circumstances beyond my control. See you in the chair!

Posted at 05:07 PM
September 14, 2005
Impossible Things

In Impossible City, the Impossible Pop Star sings, and you and I believe in Impossible things...

Pop kids world wide are saddened by the demise of My Favorite, a Brit-sounding synthpop band from Long Island who rocked the indie circuit from 1999 until...well, today. Their leader has posted a heartfelt farewell online. Like the band's music, the piece is somewhat overwritten and pretentious, but it also works. I'll listen to Love at Absolute Zero tomorrow in memory.

Their last appearance, apparently, was on "The Bold and the Beautiful" in August:
It was a hilarious, yet strangely affecting thing for me to watch; the ghost of a teenage bride swirling about on stage. The audience clapping like we were giving some kind of metaphysical encore. The one line of dialogue: "Maybe there will be a miracle today." In fiction, we get happy endings. In life we ask only for second chances. For a band that truly was a soap opera, well the good lord's sense of humor, and empathy, never ceases to amaze.

Posted at 09:19 PM
September 13, 2005
I'm With the Brand

Stunned to read tonight that the school I graduated from (and worked for, some years ago) has embarked on developing a new "branding" campaign. The branding part is not surprising, but the price tag--$350,000, paid to a Chicago firm--certainly is.

I am saddened by this because one reason I moved away was how difficult it was to move or advance as a professional employee of this institution. Far too many well-educated people with years of experience were competing for far too few jobs that paid far too little. FAQ aside, I'm having a hard time believing they couldn't find enough competent communications staff statewide to do this. And maybe I've been too long now in nonprofit-land, but the $300K price tag sounds far too expensive to me.

Finally, a moment of silence for the beleagured staff who will eventually have to implement--and live with--the results of this new initiative.

Posted at 09:50 PM
September 07, 2005
Observer Links

Haven't had much to say lately. Mostly I've been compulsively following hurricane aftermath coverage (to the point where E. has had to call a moratorium on my CNN exposure this weekend). During the day I still break that rule, so here are a few links from the New York Observer:

After years of putting its tail between its legs, the media is feeling a little prouder of itself. With reason, I think. The Story of the Hurricane: After a Period of Self-Suppression, the Horrific Story Spurs the Press

But the folks at are really doing their jobs, and more: Newhouses Right Times-Picayune As It Bails Water

The story contains many startling statistics:
At the outset of the disaster, The Times-Picayune Web site,, posted missing-person accounts that told of nightmare conditions in a city adrift. As of Sept. 5, the Missing Persons Database contained 22,592 people and averaged close to 30 million viewers.

22,000? The mind reels. Here's hoping they're found.

On a lighter note, here are 10 tips for beating the end-of-summer blues.

These stories will eventually disappear behind a paid-access wall (the site doesn't spell out when this will happen), so get 'em while you can.

Posted at 07:14 PM
September 05, 2005
Only 110 Days Till Christmas

This looks like fun...

With its 40th anniversary looming in 2006, Sire Records will be celebrated this fall with a four-disc boxed set. Due Sept. 13 via Sire/Rhino, "Just Say Sire: The Sire Records Story" rounds up 61 tracks on three audio CDs and another 20 music videos on a DVD.

Alas for proofreaders who can't spell "Echo and the BunnEymen" or "Ca PLAN Pour Moi" (it's "plane")!

Posted at 11:38 AM