Breadth Over Depth

Ack packet via : Very interesting piece on the effect internet research is having on students, how it encourages breadth over depth, how people are taking in more information but thinking about it less. Very true how everyone thinks “Everything is on the Internet now,” when librarians estimate that only about 15% of what’s in library books is also available online. Funny how this kind of analysis all of a sudden seems more relevant, on the brink of fatherhood.


In 94, just after birdhouse started up, I had this idea that I wanted to start scanning garbage that floated into our yard in Boston – photos, candy wrappers, personal notes, shopping lists, whatever. I never did get around to it. Fortunately someone did — Amy pointed out FOUND magazine today and it’s amazing, if you like things on the dada side – accidental art, strange and sometimes profound and almost always poignant in an eerie kind of way.

Really enjoying the soundtrack to I Am Sam – Beatles covers by modern groups. You hear surprisingly few Beatles covers because… I guess because they’re hard to cover. But most of these tracks are very good.

Why Americans Don’t Watch Soccer

As Joel Stein neatly summarizes at,

“There are just two things about the World Cup that prevent Americans from caring: it involves soccer and the rest of the world. We could get over the soccer part eventually — after all, it’s kind of like the soccer we make our suburban children play, only without the goal scoring. But the global part just isn’t going to happen. When I hear that Tunisia is playing Belgium for the crucial Group H runner-up spot, all I want is a map. The only way Americans are going to learn another country’s name is if it attacks us.”



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I need some! Please make me an offer. Please send a (separate email) Email me at:

Liberace’s Lover

In response to my piece Understanding Liberace: Grooving with the Fey Heckler, CNN writes:

We are delighted that Scott Thorson, who claims to be Liberace’s lover, is going to appear on Larry King Live this Wednesday. We would like the promote the interview extensively. I am in charge of promoting it via the Internet and ask for your help.

Would it be possible to promote on your website Scott Thorson, Liberace’s lover, on Larry King Live? This would be done by putting on your web site something as simple as “Watch Scott Thorson discuss being Liberace’s lover for the full hour on CNN’s Larry King Live on Wednesday, June 12th, 2002 at 9 p.m. EST. For more information, please visit

All the best,

Eleanor Spektor

Global Currency

Attention globalization fans (you know who you are): The Global Country of World Peace has released its own currency, called the Raam. One Raam = around US $10. According to the Maharishi, the appearance of the Raam marks the onset of a harmonious, peaceful world. One love, one heart, one wallet. Yay!

See also: The Popup Ad Campaign From Hell : “It’s the latest in Web marketing innovation: Hijacked Web surfers, exploited Web browser vulnerabilities and malicious spyware all wrapped up together.”

Wasabi Peas Verdict

After lunch, purchased one pouch of Royal Orchids Wasabi Coated Green Peas — “A Happy Present from the Earth.” Recent controversy in LiveJournal indicates that people either view wasabi peas as some form of hell-spawn or as a simple tasty treat.

After failing to open the packet via the provided tear-off mechanism, resorted to scissors. Inserted one green and beige wasabi pea into mouth and sucked. First, brief impression was of sweetness. This sensation lasted approximately one second but was quickly supplanted with the familiar “blinding sheet of pain racing up the front of my face” sting of wasabi. However, unlike wasabi paste sting, the sting of the pea was extremely short lived. After crunching into the pea, its own nutty, bready flavor combined with both the sweetness and the wasabi. The combined flavor experience was very pleasant.

I have now eaten several dozen of the suckers, and will likely consume the entire bag by 3:00 if someone doesn’t stop by to share them with me, and if I don’t start bleeding from the gums (whichever comes first).

Verdict: Wonderfully intriguing mixed flavor experience, recommended either as a zesty snack or as a plucky conversation starter.

Chrissy Caviar

This is one of the more interesting art projects I’ve seen in a while – mock marketing of human eggs as consumer item – human caviar – as commentary on reproductive pressure on women in their late 30s. Provoked a pretty good discussion between Amy and I. Read article before forming opinions.

Seeing Bill Clinton

Went to see Bill Clinton speak today. The J-School sponsored the event, but it was held in Zellerbach Hall. Cool to see Gray Davis, Orville Schell, and Bubba all onstage at once. Very inspiring. Listening to him really made me aware of how quickly we synopsize our feelings about leaders into a few summary thoughts. “Democrat. Two terms. Mixed track record. Kinda liked him, kinda not. Reputation tarnished by scandal.” It also made me aware of how our impressions of leaders are almost entirely governed by the sound bites and snippets the media choose to publish. But listening to him speak in complete thoughts, and without having to be on the campaign trail and sell himself, was fascinating. Lives of politicians are so complex, the issues so huge, the problems so multidimensional. The country was left with the impression of a kind of bumbler, and many people forgot just how intelligent he is. But his wit is so quick, his grasp of the big picture so vast.

His main talking point was globalization, and he had a lot to say on that. One of the most interesting things he pointed out was how we took the long view towards Japan and Germany, and poured resources into those countries to help shape the world for the future. If we had just won WWII and left it at that, our relationship to Germany and Japan today would be very different than it is. So what about Afghanistan? It’s not enough to bomb it further into oblivion, and it’s not enough to eliminate Al Qaeda (efforts he supports completely). Taking the long view, we have to pour resources into the Middle East to foster freedom of thought, education, etc. That kind of thing costs us peanuts, and has a huge pay-off for the future. But how much are we talking about that now?

He also made an unusual point about exhaustion. All of our senators and congresspeople, and in fact all the leaders of the world, live under such heavy workloads and under so much continual stress that the world is basically run by walking zombies. Scary thought.

I had felt non-committal about going to this thing, but was really glad I did.

Also got to hang out before the event with the founder and editor of Wired Digital. Had a very interesting conversation about what kind of media is successful today. Now that everything is so specialized – people have 100 TV channels and infinite web sites to choose from – the really successful publications are super specialized and all about lifestyle. Yoga magazine has a huge circ and is fat with ads. U.S. News and World Report is sinking out of view. Slashdot (tech specialized) is doing great, but Plastic (general topics) is struggling. Etc. etc. Interesting.