February 4, 2007

Sunday morning, over hard

A friend posted the first comment on digiphile this morning. Thanks! After writing back, I realized my response would make a perfect armature for a post.

My weekend has been very up and down. I saw Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" at the Huntingdon Theater on Friday and then went to Betty's Wok and Noodle, both of which were really wonderful experiences. I need to see more live theatre.

Saturday, I slept gloriously late and then worked up a sweat chipping the ice glaze off the steps, cars, sidewalks, end of the driveway and everywhere else it coated. I even managed to take the greyhound for a run in the arboretum afterwards, losing my wind 3/4 of the way up Peters Hill. I'm still getting back to decent shape, but I was glad to get some sun and break a sweat. Today, I accomplished that rarest of Sunday morning deeds, reading the NYT Sunday edition cover to cover. I have to admit, I skimmed some sections a bit (Sunday Styles?) but the feat stands. I never manage to do that anymore, though doing so brings me the warm and fuzzy glow of feeling informed, if only through the Grey Lady's lens.

Tons of great articles to note from today's paper, including:

  • "Sharp Bits," about how restaurant blogging is changing the industry. Great work, though it would have been funnier entitled "Sharp Bytes."
    This so doesn't below in the Styles section, though to be fair as section cover story it gets great play on the section devoured by status watchers dying to read the wedding announcements.
  • "Taking Books Far and Wide, on the Road Less Traveled By" about the important role of a bookmobile in the rural Southwest of the US, providing a kind of mobile library to isolated resident.
  • "You've Seen the E-mail, Now Buy the Art," which details how emailed JPEGs have let to art shows that sell out ahead of time in 3 minutes, not three hours, along with worthy questions about what this means for the future of art, speculation and shows in a digital age.
  • "Wireless Internet for All, Without the Towers," Randall Stross's latest essay on "Digital Domains." I hadn't read about Meraki before, which "contains a WiFi router-on-a-chip, combined with the same microprocessor and same memory that formed the heart a Silicon Graphics workstation 10 years ago" that allows the creation of a low-cost, ground-level P2P wireless mesh networks an alternative to muniWiFi or WiMax. Neat.
  • Finally, "In Elder Care, Signing on Becomes a Way to Drop By" covers the iCare, a product that represent a growing trend towards the inversion of the Big Mother concept, allowing family members to use digital technology to keep an eye on elderly parents. This trend can't be overemphasized, as we're well on our way to watching each other constantly with cheap webcams, portable GPS technology, remote biolevels sensors and browser-based monitoring systems. A brave new world, indeed.

In all of this, I'm reminded of the central role that great newspapers still play in our world. Bloggers, by and large, comment, link, critique and fact check like no other collective consciousness in history but have yet to produce anything like the smorgasboard of exceptional journalism I read today or linked to above. The Old Grey Lady may have her faults (WMD, Judith Miller and Jason Blair come to mind) but she's as relevant as ever, as long as this kind of writing makes its way onto her pages.

My foodie juices are about to get aflowin as I head over to Cambridge to prepare for a culinary bonanza with a friend. He's been brining his pork loin for days; I'm ready to prepare some authentic MD backfin lump crab balls (albeit with Thai crab, but whatever - I can't afford $45/pound) with a cilantro aioli (my grandmum would not approve), braised BBQ country style ribs and a shot at creme brulee, which I've finally got a decent blowtorch for...should fun, along with that whole "football" and advertising extravaganza thing...

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