Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Got my November Wired yesterday, the one with the high tech ear of corn on the cover, if you can call it that. A striking, eye-popping black and yellow motif, one of my favorite color combos.

I was introduced to Wired on May 24, 1994 when I took a one day class called "Internet: Introduction to the Global Information Resource." The instructor recommended the mag, noting it was the best way to see what was happening in the fast-growing wired world. He said it was what the geeks were reading. Upon obtaining a copy, I especially recall the sense of wonder that every page contained, and by this I mean the visual impact... from the layout to the ads beginning on page one. This was something different. Newly emerging creative forces were being unleashed.

Today the ads are still fairly engaging, and to their credit, the editors have kept the look and content engaging as well. While paging thru over lunch yesterday a number of short pieces caught my eye. Here are ten items to chew on.

1. The ads. Maybe I’m just a sucker for good ad copy. I mean, I really enjoy a clever turn of phrase or a witty idea. The Subaru headline: Who cares if you’re there yet? There were some other decent car ads, and an unbelievable number of ads for expensive watches, which says something about who they believe their readers are. Anyone need an Infantry Vintage Chrono, Breitling or Omega?

Speaking of the Chrono, there were a couple ads for the new James Bond flick coming out in November. This is the new Bond, whose debut featured possibly the most dramatic on-foot chase scene in film history, and whose torture late in the film was the most memorably gut-wrenching and terrifying thing I'd ever seen. (I get the chills thinking about it.) Oh, the tie in to the watch of course is that Bond is endorsing it on the back cover. Inside the mag, the bad guy endorses another model. What's that all about?

2. Time Zone Enlightenment. Here’s three things I did not know about time zones which you can find in this issue. A. Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings Time, but the Navajo do, though the Hopi there do not. Weird huh? B. Venezuela is off by 30 minutes. President Hugo Chavez decided to turn the clocks back thirty minutes. Sort of like Superman making time go backwards, maybe? C. All of China is on Beijing time. Do you think Californians would like to be on New York time? If that’s what China wants to do, I guess it’s their call. Maybe the whole world should be on London time.

3. Page 36 has a breakdown of the ingredients of Ben-Gay under the title “Eases Pain, Disgusts Moths.” Hmmm. The article goes into detail on each ingredient, but you can do your own research. I’ll just outline these goodies for you. Camphor, Menthol, Methyl Salicylate, Carbomer 940, Polysorbate 80, Edetate Disodium, Lanolin, and Potassium Hydroxide. Yummm. Got a headache? Good thing you mom didn’t make you drink this stuff.

4. On page 42 Chris Hardwick goes on a rant against the way high tech advances in the bowling industry have resulted in higher bowling scores, and it just ain’t fair. He calls it “Technology’s Gutterball,” but is he throwing strikes here? I sort of liked that 194 I bowled last time I was home.

5. The Ten Best iPhone Apps We Wish Existed…. Here are two: The Yo, Mama, for example, automatically send your mom a loving text message right before she calls to ask why you never call. And the Meta-4 crafts metaphors and similes faster than a $2.99 Indian buffet passing through your digestive tract.

6. The Unblinking Eye (page 50) details the advances Big Brother is making in terms of public surveillance. The town of Liberty, Kansas, for example, spent $5,000 to install a camera in the town park. Population 95. Maybe there is more to this story? Perhaps they’ve experienced a rash of purse snatchings recently…

7. Page 62 has an article on how to do donuts… after dropping your kids off at school. First, you need a rear wheel drive car. Guess that counts me out. The same page has an column on how to speed read, in case you’ve ever wondered.

8. An ad for the Rio in Las Vegas has an eye-catching photo and inviting copy. It’s curious to me because I’ve always cast the Rio as a bit “different”… Isn’t it the Rio where all these men do a show dressed as famous women. Or am I thinking of one of the other casinos I've not yet been to. I’ll be in Vegas in less than two weeks, but most of my hours are booked already with meetings and dinners, and possibly an engagement to do some stand up comedy at Pounders. And after dinner Tuesday the 4th, maybe find a place to watch the election results. I wonder if they bet on elections out there.

9. Scott Brown on Facebook, Steven Levy on interacting with the digital world, Roger Hibbert on Laptops (I hate the aspect ration on my new HP laptop from the office), and lengthy features on the Godfather of Bangalore, and the Future of Food, this month’s cover story. Who’s eating what? And what lies ahead? A quote from the intro: “The good news: Our capacity for innovation is as limitless as our appetites.”

10. Paul Boutin’s opening salvo on page 27 is aimed at blogging. Titled, “Kill Your Blog,” Boutin says blogging is useless and pointless, the wave is over. If you do not have a blog, don’t waste your time. “The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook or Twitter,” he writes. Well, guess what, Paul? No one reads yoru Twitter tweets either. But getting published in Wired must feel pretty good because at least there you have an audience. That’s more than I’ve got here.

IN THE MEANTIME, have a great day. And y’all come back now, ya hear?


Denise said...

Dear Ed,

I am a faithful reader of your blog, although I rarely comment. I really enjoy your postings, especially the nostalgic ones like the one on Zappa and Morrison. So my point is you probably have more readers than you think. Besides, the notion that blogs are finished is just one guy's opinion who happened to get some exposure . . .

Sincerely, Denise

Michael Fitzgerald said...

ironic that he would opine that blogging is dead in a magazine, which is supposed to be killed by blogging. And whose editor-in-chief has used his blog to develop and publish two books.

ENNYMAN said...

Denise: Thanks....
I will keep the nostalgia going. That is certainly a thread in my blogging...

Yes, strange, isn't it? Web 2.0 is evolving ... and will not be going away any time soon. Decca Records once declined to sign the Beatles because they believed "the guitar is going out of fashion."


ENNYMAN said...
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