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Friday, November 19, 2004
3:59 PM      

Manhattan Crossing
I recently took a bike ride into Manhattan. On the trip out, I used the tried-and-true Brooklyn Bridge crossing. It's a beautiful boardwalk ride, and I don't mind the climb to the midpoint. Cyclists and pedestrians do a good job of keeping to their respective lanes, and co-exist pretty well.

On the way back, I tried something new: I biked across the Manhattan Bridge. The span is longer, the grade isn't as steep, and the path is concrete-paved. The ride is smooth, except for several textured steel expansion joints. The biggest difference: subway trains run across the Manhattan bridge, so it can be a lot noisier. Still the egress puts me a lot closer to home than the Brooklyn bridge exit, so I expect to take advantage of it often.


Forget Thanksgiving. The Macy's parade used to be the kick-off for the Christmas season, but it seems that a month is too short a retail season. Somewhere around the first of November, I started seeing ads for the Radio City Christmas show. Not long after that, I heard Christmas music playing at Starbucks (they had been playing Ray Charles in heavy rotation before that — perhaps out of recognition, but they also had three of his CDs for sale). Now, there are lots of Christmas ads on TV, and I've received a good number of Christmas catalogs and e-mail promotions hyping Christmas. The tent village in Union Square that is home to dozens of holiday street vendors is already under construction. I think it's working. I've heard people talking about christmas plans already. They seem to have Christmas shopping on their minds.


Showing Her Colors
On the #6 train home last night, a woman sitting across from us was wearing a “Re-Defeat Bush” button. I smiled, and acknowledged my own “No 'W'” pin. She pointed to the blue ribbon she was wearing and said “Blue pride!” What a great idea.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2004
1:28 PM      

Secretary of State Rice.
She's gotta be happy. Hmmm... Cabinet Dubya 2.0 is starting to take shape. I didn't expect so much to shake loose from v. 1.0. Now, how 'bout Rummy?! I suspect that buzzard will keep hovering around.


The Next(?) BIG Thing(s)
Reuters/CNN/Netscape and the Sunday New York Times both ran stories recently about big-booty mannequins. The linked story reads like a reworked press release from the mannequin firm Goldsmith with a phone interview or two mixed in. Goldsmith has “launched a 'Sex' mannequin with 'a larger booty and body' tailored for fashion label Express and for stores carrying lower-end trend clothing...”

Seems the mannequin makers aren't faddists, but visionaries:

“It is a serious sociological trend that is positive for retailers and customers in that the tyranny of the undernourished perfect model is over.”
- Rich Rollison of Lifestyle Forms and Display, designers of the “J.Lo butt form”

A couple of years ago, I started noticing that the female mannequins in some store windows had exceedingly erect nipples. Now, it's pretty commonplace. I wonder if the mannequin makers have such lofty explanations for that phenomenon.

If you've seen the movie “Super Size Me,” you know the country on average is getting a lot bigger, though most won't have J.Lo's curves. Magazines like BBW have come on the scene, exalting big beautiful women, and for several years, chains like Lane Bryant have made big business of selling clothes designed for larger people. If that's the case, then the mannequin makers are simply playing catch-up to a trend, and spinning it pretty.


DONE at Geneva this twelfth day of August 1949, in the English and French languages. The original shall be deposited in the Archives of the Swiss Confederation. The Swiss Federal Council shall transmit certified copies thereof to each of the signatory and acceding States.

Ever read the text of the Geneva Conventions? Here's the part regarding prisoners of war. Here's a complete reference guide.


Death of a Franchise?
At the movies Saturday night, we saw the trailer for “Episode III” of the second Star Wars trilogy. The clip suggested that it may be a better movie than “Episode II” (I guess it would have to be). The audience seemed unmoved.

Everybody knows Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force. Maybe they don't need to witness the seduction — it's not like “Titanic,” where everybody knew the ship sank, but they were willing to go along for the ride anyway. Maybe they've hung up their suspension of disbelief for this story's arc.

I remember how crazy people were when the trailer for “Return of the Jedi” played. Lines wrapped around the block for its opening in Boston. I remember watching crowds running down the aisles of the huge movie theater at 1515 Broadway to grab the best seats for one of the first showings of “The Empire Strikes Back.”

The franchise has gone from a bang to a whisper. Lucas had planned the Star Wars franchise as a trilogy of trilogies. The hat trick is in doubt.


If you haven't seen The Incredibles, go see it. It's not just another Pixar movie. It's a really well-done story, and It's a lot of fun. The animation is straight out of the best that old-school animation had to offer, but rendered with modern technology. The music is straight out of James Bond — that other super hero, who isn't generally referred to as such. The whole thing comes together really well, and there are plenty of fun plot twists. Now, stop reading and go see it!

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