Dec 31, 2007

Odds & Ends

A few random (useless?) observations on this, the final day of 2007:

Mystery Quarters: In roaming through unfamiliar neighborhoods during this holiday season, I noticed that no one puts their name on their mailbox any more. This, combined with the fact that new homes are typically constructed as far back from the public road as possible, lends us to think that modern Americanus Everyman feels less and less a part of the community; perfectly comfortable sliding into anonymity.

Good Portal, Bad Portal: Two local newspapers have re-launched their web sites, with varying degrees of success. The Saratogian (yes, a favorite whipping target here) has a screwed up site that is still (after three weeks) taking about 95 seconds to open. Once it does, it becomes apparent that it was a wasted minute and a half. The Gazette, on the other hand, has launched their new site, which reflects their new policy of offering a more substantial amount of content online, free of charge, than in the past. Their product is, in fact, both timely and efficient.

Deep snow, deep pockets
: Anyone notice how outrageously priced lift tickets have become? Only if you're a skiier, of course. Case in point: go take a peek at nearby West Mountain's rates. Whereas in the past, a nighttime lift ticket could be had for the spare change in your pocket, it now requires a bank loan. Notice also that most mountains are on the 4-hour/8-hour routine.

Rachael here, Rachael there: It seems like Dunkin Donuts branches are popping up all over the place. New standalone shops as well as mini-shops inside of convenience stores. That Rachael sure is a hustler.

Jared is Da Man: On the other hand, notice how just about every Quizmo's sub franchise has a For Sale sign on it? Two years ago, everyone was predicting these guys were going to put Subway out of business. It ain't happening.

Is it me, or? Anyone else notice how the questions on Jeopardy seem to be getting eassier? Another sign of the dummy'ing down of our society.

Sinking Fast: The Yahoo portal seems to be deteriorating into an old school, old media, broadcast-style piece of garbage. Proof: go take a look at it at any randomn time, and you'll see that it's loaded up with pop-culture kitsch. Britney this, Angelina that. Top Ten things to do to make him/her notice you at work. Holiday decorating tips. I thought the web was supposed to offer something different to this push-down approach, where the big corporate players tell us music to listen to, what movies to watch, what clothes to wear, what ideas to talk about? In Yahoo's case, all that is off the table and it's just business as usual.

That's about all I got today.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"In roaming through unfamiliar neighborhoods during this holiday season, I noticed that no one puts their name on their mailbox any more."

Last summer my wife and I took and evenings stroll around several blocks in our Westside neighborhood. It was a beautiful evening. The time was probably 7:30 pm or so. We must have walked past a couple of hundred homes. Most had very nice porches decorated with beautiful flowers.

It was weird because nobody was sitting on their porches. It was a desolate walk. I guess nowadays everyone sits alone in front of their TV or computer enjoying their air-conditioned surroundings.

There was one exception: it was some type of group home. They all said hello as we walked by.

How life has changed