THE CAT CAME BACK…

Good news: our cat Riley has returned all on his own! He lost his collar and he apparently smells a bit, but he’s seemingly okay. What a relief.

Just before the premiere of the second season of Mad Men last week, there was a promotion for the show in Times Square in NYC that featured business cards of Sterling Cooper being handed out (once again, my mutual blog crush, the Lippsisters, save the day… you ladies are great!).

Here’s the card:

Oh man. I want one of those cards so very, very bad.

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THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE

It’s been kind of a tough day. Our cat Riley ran outside last night and we can’t find him today. We’re hoping he’ll find his way back. Already have flyers up, food outside for him. It’s raining now, so hopefully he’s got the sense to make his way back before he gets soaked.

Anyway, here’s a link to a piece in the Observer about interns working at a newspaper that has to be considered a canary in the coalmine-esque piece about the state of print journalism. It’s not optimistic at all, I’ll say that.

One can only hope print media can eventually make the turnaround. Esquire’s got a very cool concept coming for its September issue – an e-ink, interactive, battery-powered cover that will last for 90 days on a single power source. Pretty interesting stuff, can’t wait to see it.

ROLLINS TELLS IT AS IT IS

In lieu of the fact the Olympics are still a few weeks away and there’s not much else to say about Bell’s slashing of jobs (Gosh, can’t imagine why Bell, the company that wrote the book on bad customer service, would dare be in a bad economic spot nowadays, *snicker*), I decided to post a video from one of my heroes, the great Henry Rollins.

Totally worth it. He speaks the truth in such wonderful, R-rated ways.

THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS…AND THE CJR

Aside from Doctor Who, Rome and Battlestar Galactica, I rarely get charged up over a new season of television watching. But oh baby, Mad Men: Season Two is just three days away.

Slowly, AMC’s been leaking photos of the new season online, and the good folks at Basket of Kisses have been an indispensable resource in daily Mad Men news fixes.

But this article in Salon today is possibly the most exciting news yet. It’s kind of spoiler-ish, but at the same time, it’s got a few bombshells in it about the new season.

Again, thanks to Basket of Kisses for all your hard work online!

COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW: The CJR has posted a series of comments from recently downsized journalists about what it feels like to be put on the street, as it were, in this increasingly bleak future of journalism we’re experiencing (well, at least in cash-money-hungry North America). Some of the posts have a tinge of Grumpy Old Man in them, but the comments are still valuable.

I wish I wasn’t negative about journalism’s future. But with stories like this, this and this coming out at an increasing rate and the U.S. economy in such a dramatic, potentially long-term contraction, it’s hard not to worry about whether there’s real hope for profit-focused newspapers, television news and radio.

DO YOU FIT?

“You must fit in.”

God I hate that turn of phrase. Hate it, hate it, hate it. It’s like telling someone to think a certain way, act a certain way, do whatever is accepted by the mainstream because you’re going to be alone otherwise. It’s just such a profoundly limited worldview. It’s futility squared.

Someone told me that phrase today. It’s as if that person was searching for my collective panel of buttons and pushed the nuclear option. I was flabbergasted at it. It’s so ridiculous and asinine to ask that of me – GREG HUGHES, a guy that’s never known what it feels like to truly belong – that I wanted to laugh and puke at the same time.

Talking about conformity and the ability of the average person to “fit it” as it were is, normally, something you’d espouse philosophical when you’re a teenager. Ah yes, those glorious years of being a teenager. I can recall those days vividly, thanks to my photographic memory – a fact I’m increasingly finding myself on opposite extremes of whenever I consider their benefit or hazard to my sense of self. I don’t like remembering certain things. High school’s mostly of that vintage. So are nights at The Toucan, indie bands that barely register beyond some wannabe-hipster’s image of themselves and a few people over the years that taught me a thing or two about the fluidity of trust (i.e. the Modern Rule of Trust – not only is trust earned, not given freely, but you better believe it can be taken away as fast as a Twitter post).

Anyway, I was reading Norman Mailer’s seminal essay The White Negro the other day. It’s a pretty amazing read, save for the momentary lapse into paragraphs that sound and look like they were written on a bad, choppy, broken-down typewriter. But no matter – it’s still one hell of a good read.

Mailer makes a point at the beginning that’s surprisingly apt for the time we live in. In the course of the recent century, we’re facing a cultural milieu that demands conformity for the simple sake of responding to fear. Fear, as we all know, is a powerful weapon to use against the democratic wishes of the people. American governments have been using it against their own citizens since time immemorium. Conformity for the sake of conformity is really nature’s way of assuring our thoughts never get heard and the meek inherit the Earth.

So why fit in? Why, so I can give into the simple impulses of fear of non-acceptance? What, I’ve been, along with a large number of people I know, what you could call an outsider. Fuck, I can hardly remember a time when I was innocent and naive enough to believe being yourself was the ticket to social integration. I gave up a long time ago trying to fit in with any real sense of effort or calculation. I’m just being me, take it or lump it.

Part of my mindset, really, isn’t about the simple act of rebellion for no apparent reason other than just to be different. I do conform to a lot of social norms and cultural pursuits best described as “normal” – sci-fi, seeing the consumerist porn that was Sex and the City: The Movie, wearing GAP khakis designed with maximum efficiency and as little creative impulses as possible. It is what it is, I suppose.

It’s amazing, however, how a lack of fear about the world and the people in it really does liberate yourself to not caring about comforming to the conscious and unconscious wishes of a molified society like ours. So many people have become so afraid of so many things because we’ve allowed bullshit to dominate our modes of debate in all-pervasive forms. We’ve taken the spice out of the sauce. We’re using idiotic trinkets to distract us from creativity, freedom and true happiness. The philosophy of futility has completely usurped our conventional imaginative power. Vanila-fueled mayhem through the lenses of brown-coloured glasses.

ANOTHER REASON TO LOATHE TV NEWS

I generally find most TV news (with the exception of the BBC World News and the CBC News) pretty stupid and banal (watch even five minutes of City”News” on CityTV and you’ll understand what I mean). TV news journalism these days, especially at the local level, is full of non-stories, trivialities and crime-ridden junk.

But this segment is brilliant, halirious schadenfreude at its finest. Serves this KTLA reporter right for being such a bona-fide moron and asking what has to be the dumbest question ever.

SOME RANDOM MONDAY MUSINGS

Greetings – hope everyone had a nice weekend.

So I have an iPhone. And yes, I love it. I love it in a kind of way that must be organized into “Pre-iPhone” and the “iPhone” Era. It’s positively life-changing. It’s gorgeous and easy-to-use. I’m officially Apple-For-Life now. And I got it for $40. I had an hardware upgrade credit and a manufacturer’s rebate. Ironically, having an iPhone will cost less under my new plan than when I was using a Razr phone. Weird, no?

BEIJING OLYMPICS: Do you ever wonder how much words matter as opposed to action? Of course actions always speak louder. And for this reason, it’s funny how the Beijing Olympics Organizing Committee, which promised back in 2001 to “significantly” clean up its human rights record and terrible environmental impact before the Games started. Well, it’s seven years later, and not a damn thing has happened when it comes to press freedom in China or the country’s abysmal human rights record. Seriously, does anything matter to the International Olympic Committee other than dollars? Wasn’t the whole point of giving the Games to China about opening up the country to new, proto-democratic reforms?

HYPE WILLIAMS: You may find this funny, but I’m a big fan of Hype Williams’ videos. Hype Williams is a genius in every sense of the word when it comes to his visionary approach to directing hip-hop videos. He’s got a new video out by Lloyd featuring Lil Wayne that honestly could have been made in the 22nd century. It’s stunning to look at. Check it out.

Lloyd Featuring Lil Wayne – All Around The World