May 2008


Interesting interview in the Times business section with the head of Bigelow tea — the reporter focuses on how Bigelow is trying to position itself in new media, and indeed, the company’s Web site is rife with info, including recipes, health news, and a blog. Cindi Bigelow also has a YouTube account, where she tells you how to make tea; but don’t worry, she’s not too uptight — she even notes that the “tea police won’t come to your house if you don’t do it right.”

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If you thought Tyra’s hamsters and their histrionics were entertaining, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

There’s a lot of evidence of the awesomeness of Australia’s Next Top Model, but I think last week’s commercial for a feminine-hygiene product, which involved the model’s hosting a 30-second spot while holding a large stuffed beaver (“I was surprised how many girls didn’t know what a beaver was” … “I thought the link between the product and the beaver was pretty clear”), speaks for itself:

It’s been a rough month. But I think I’m ready to come out of hiding. Reasons for hunkering down are largely beside the point.

And now, a scene.

Platinum Gym: a family-owned sweat palace populated largely by what appear to be bodybuilders of the former Soviet republics. Our heroine is doing pull-ups, wiggling excitedly between sets to an infectious pop number. She is marveling at a lissome lifter when she realizes that he is no longer kicking his leg to his forehead; he is staring at the pull-up bar, then at her, then at the pull-up bar, then furrowing his brow, and then fixing his gaze, again, on her.

Gym dude:

Hey, girl. I, uh, I wanted to say …

She smiles nervously, as is her wont. Just see what happens: It can’t be as bad as the time another regular mumbled through a discourse on the evils of Google Toolbar before asking her for a drink.

GD:

… you’re beautiful. But it’s not just, you’re not just beautiful. It’s that you work at it. You’re here, what—

TJ:

Oh, yeah, I come five or six days a week, blow off some steam.

GD:

Yeah! Blow off some steam! I’m K—-, and you’re?

TJ:

TJ, good to meet you K—-. And thanks, I, um, appreciate it?

He smiles and starts mumbling something again, and she knows that she should be annoyed, that he’s penetrating the little bubble of herself and the time she’s created when she never has to think about her husband or cleaning or making dinner or those damn cats, those fucking cats. But it’s not always about hormones and gonads and the ceaseless beating of flesh on flesh; sometimes it’s just nice, right when you feel farthest from the world and everything you wanted, to be reminded that there are others going through the motions, making the effort, trying to connect when it’s easy enough to make it through the day with no more contact than a rapid-fire coffee order or an exhausted “Excuse me!” yelped in the crush for the rush-hour train. Only connect, only connect.

Trying to work things out. Massive writer’s block. Until then, follow me on Twitter: @tjade.

The Internets are alive with reverence for Zhan Wang’s stainless steel re-creation of San Francisco (above; he’s now exhibiting at the Asian Art Museum), but when I saw it, I immediately thought of Subodh Gupta’s work (below). I’ve always admired Gupta’s use of commonplace utensils in a way that transcends their everyday purpose; would love to see more of what Wang has to offer (it’s particularly interesting, to me at least, that Wang forges his own stainless steel, thus situating his works in a very real place and time; the work above ultimately can be traced back to the Sierra Nevadas).

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

On Oct. 27, 1984, a headline on Page 14A in The Plain Dealer read: “Disgusted judge gives repeat offender 30 years for rape.”

The story followed standard newspaper protocol: In it, the victim was anonymous.

In this version, the victim has a name. I am Joanna Connors, and I am telling the story I kept private for 23 years. I’m doing it for all of the others who have survived sexual assault in silence, ashamed and afraid to tell their stories

Such an interesting story and compelling presentation — and a testament to the continuing power of the stodgy old “mainstream media.”

Loved these sheep sculptures made out of reused parts from old phones; such an unexpected and imaginative creation! I can’t figure out who the artist is, but I’m enamored. (Via Craft.)

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