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In fact, as hockey season winds down, it’s poised to step into the void created by hockey’s TV absence. I’m expecting an ESPN-2 morning-after wrap-up of concerts around the country. Especially now that summer festival season is getting ready to kick off. (“Billionaire Aspen, Colo. Smack-Down In The Tent! Ted Turner says he’s only sorry he left Levin enough room to curl up and cry in the corner…”).

David Halberstam reported from courtside and from Vietnam, and he wrote long books that will stand for decades or more as a testament to whatever. When he needed them the most, words did not fail him. Not, at least, according to the story told by New York Times denizens, recounted by Timothy Crouse in 1972 and then recounted again by Calvin Trillin in 1993. When obnoxious, pre-rotund Johnny Apple made some stupid comment to the recently-returned-from-war Halberstam, he found poetry in three great words, which we should all use whenever the mood strikes us, as a glorious homage to a great man. Less than a half-year after Apple’s death, today’s ludicrous news brings the astoundingly stupid death of David Halberstam, in a car accident of all goddam things, in Menlo Park of all goddam places.
Somewhere, wherever these types of people end up going after this part, there’s a fat dead Johnny Apple saying something stupid to a new arrival, and the only comfort I can take right now is that I know what that new arrival is going to say to him.

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/03/PID_010637/Podtech_dems.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/home/technology/2470/why-the-dems-will-lose&totalTime=172000&breadcrumb=3F34K2L1]

I don’t know if Edwards has a real shot, but he does look like central casting’s a-list POTUS, at least for a movie that only features the president as a secondary character. Maybe a romantic comedy about the president’s daughter, or a romantic comedy about the president’s aging mother (a possible star vehicle for one of our talented aging American actresses? Goldie? She’d be perfect. For god’s sake, though, not Diane Keaton. Please. Enough with Diane Keaton.)

Thoughts?

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/01/PID_001860/Podtech_Intel010907.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/home/technology/1923/intel-multiplies-social-medias-power-at-ces&totalTime=120000&breadcrumb=3F34K2L1]

Because you’ve always wondered how Intel could make it look like people could dance.

An interesting pair of articles bookended this past weekend, and both addressed a point about behavior. There was this one, on March 16, which took a few shots at Socrates from the perspective of zealous but unenlightened (or in-process enlightening) undergrads, and the other took a look at what to do if you’re being treated like some of those students might have been treated, but by your superior at work. One thought I might share is that in both cases – as students of Socrates and as employees of an insecurity-driven bully – one is essentially powerless. The student feedback on Socrates won’t have much of an impact on a professor already despised by the Gender Studies department, so we might presume that Socrates is happy in his isolated state of pariah-hood. And in the corollary article, the Times points out that you might try confronting your boss directly about his or her tendency to shout you down and destroy your sense of self-worth. But direct confrontation could lead, as even Socrates ultimately found out, to termination.
Therefore, embrace powerlessness.

Tired of the usual shapes? Had enough of circles, squares, rectangles, and megalopoli? (Yes, that is a shape. It was added last year. Nobody was using it as a word, so it got pulled for a new shape.)

I’m proposing a call for new shapes. How about “Squircle,” or “Rectircle?” Anything that ends with “ircle” could be a promising new shape.

It’s been long enough with the same boring shapes. Let’s get some new ones.

I’m taking a few moments out of a very pleasurable experience on hold with a few US Airways representatives to share my experience, which you’ll be very happy to know about.

Brussels is conveniently located in the heart of Europe. It’s a gateway to the Swiss Alps and it’s home to lots of guilty pleasures, like beer. Athens is a warm, Mediterranean city. US Airways is going to fly to Athens starting sometime or other, and the woman in the recording sounds genuinely pleased about that!

The nice thing for me is that I have been listening to this tape loop for 26 minutes. The recording scared me at first, when it said I would only be on hold for two minutes. “So short!” I exclaimed, in my head. Well, I had nothing to worry about.

US Airways is there to make sure that my relaxation is not cut short. They were so eager to have me relax listening to their recording that, even after I spoke briefly to a person after about 24 minutes of holding, I was re-placed on hold, told again that I had only two minutes to go until a representative helped me, and it’s been, well, it’s been more than that already, but I’m not complaining! It sure is nice to have a friend like this woman tell me the same things over and over.

This is a great tape loop to be stuck in. I really like it. But I also loved how at-home the customer representative I did speak with made me feel. She literally made me feel like I was in HER home! How did she do this, you ask? She set the you’re-not-talking-to-some-corporate-representative tone by picking up the phone with a perfectly disarming “Hello?”

I loved it! Let’s dispense with all of this bureaucracy where I have to say “Thank you for calling,” or “Thank you for waiting” or anything like that. We’re all adults here. We don’t know each other, so why should we pretend? We shouldn’t! So? What’s it to ya? Hello?

It was a great conversation, and I was only too thrilled when it ended less than a minute later, and I was placed safely back on hold. Very classy airline.

That’s how you run an airline. None of this “bill of rights” crap like you see at JetBlue.

UPDATE:

I’m still on hold, thankfully! I was going to say it keeps getting better, but it doesn’t change at all…. But if you’re cynical, you might think that things are generally always getting worse. So if you find something this constant, this unchanging, this solid and reliable and seemingly permanent, that’s comparatively positive. Staying on hold with US Airways is like being part of something that’s getting better, just by staying the same! Anyway, my 41 minutes on hold so far are one thing, but i found someone who’s spent even longer on the phone, and that person has a great story to tell, too! If you have the time, you should read that. It’s inspiring.

Well done, US Airways!

Ronald Reagan was president of the Screen Actor’s Guild, but he never won an Oscar. The current Governor of California has had a thriving career as a moviestar, but he hasn’t won an Oscar. Former Vice President Al Gore, whose most famous acting credits include the role of “pathetic overacting candidate” in the live-for-tv series, “Presidential Candidates Debate,” in 2000, and a widely-hailed appearance on Saturday Night Live the night before announcing he wouldn’t seek the highest office again in 2004, is on track to become the unlikely first just-about-President to win an Oscar.

Gore speculation has been brilliant this year, so far. We turn, as always, to our film critics, for good political punditry. The smartest word came this year from the oracle of the Chronicle (or “Orachron”), Mick LaSalle. He says a grosse Gore is a non-candidate, but a sveltitician is a potential threat for the Barackary Oclintons.

Actually, he said at first that Gore showing up to the Oscars at all would mean a no-go on the 2000 victor’s 2008 candidacy, but then conceded that just showing up wasn’t the thing. Showing up fat, however…

An AP story says an Oscar for Al could send some juice into the nascent and undeclared candidacy.

And then there’s Rolling Stone. I’m with them, actually. This guy is looking better and better. At least until Gary Hart gets back out there.

That was not a joke, by the way. Gary Hart. Write that down.

You might have gotten to see this:
[podtech content= http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/02/PID_010339/Podtech_79th_Oscar.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net&totalTime=185000&breadcrumb=3F34K2L1%5D

But it isn’t. So you didn’t. Until just now, or a minute from now, whenever you give in to the power of the little triangle in the circle, calling out to you to press it.

Press it.