Monday, October 22, 2007

Little Bits

If I worked for a consortium of blues musicians, instead of a magazine, I might be given the nickname Bottleneck Niesslein. Because, these days, anything that gets passed my way will get caught in the (relatively) small and (I remind myself) temporary bottleneck of work. I got them overwhelmed-by-professional-obligations blues. My sense of order up done and left me. The deadlines, they treating me mean.

In the meantime (while I let my tired old metaphors take a load off), some nuggets:

--Plumpynut. I predict this is the name that will launch a thousand seventh-grade current event reports.

--I was recently in the Pittsburgh area, and on the road from the airport, the signs struck me as a little passive-aggressive. “Beware of Aggressive Drivers.” “Watch Out for Drunk Drivers.” “DUI: You Can’t Afford It.” Pennsylvania knows that you would never lick the icing off one side of your sister’s birthday cake, but thinks you might have some ideas on how it could have happened.

--An interesting quote from an essay by Newsweek’s Kathleen Deveny. The essay is about correcting stranger’s kids, and here’s yer historial perspective: “Kids were not raised to internalize their own family's particular values, they were expected to share the community's values," says Stephanie Coontz, a professor of history and family studies at Evergreen State College. That began to change in the 1830s as class distinctions grew sharper. "Often it wasn't so much 'our family has different rules' as 'our type has different rules'."

--Via Julianne, this brouhaha over Jessica Seinfeld’s book (Deceptively Delicious) and Missy Chase Lapine’s book (The Sneaky Chef) seems bizarre to me. (The both offer recipes on how to trick children into eating nutrients.) There’s at least three forthcoming books with a concept similar to Practically Perfect. It’s just a weird Zeitgeist-y thing. It happens, and I fully expect the better-connected and dewier-skinned authors to get more press than I did (not that I’m complaining). As David Byrne taught us all, “Somebody somewhere owes us a favor—that’s how things really get done.”

7 comments:

Elrena said...

You gotta love Pennsylvania. Did you see the "Buckle Up: Next Million Miles" signs? Those are my personal favorites.

What I want to know is if, after the next million miles, I am supposed to unbuckle my seatbelt?

I love my state...

laundrylessons said...

I was mesmerized watching the 60 Minutes piece on Plumpynut. But I also think Anderson Cooper is dreamy. I've been saying Plumpynut, plumpynut, plumpynut in my head since Sunday.

Bummed I didn't know you were in Pittsburgh...if it was a book signing I hope everyone took off their passive aggressive hats.

Jennifer said...

That's hilarious, Elrena!

And Kathy, you can bet your bippy I would have let you know if I were up there for a reading. I was actually visiting my grandparents, so unless you were at the Shop 'n' Save...

Julianne said...

I love the variations in road signs from state to state. My favorite comes from my home state of South Carolina: "Let 'em Work. Let 'em Live."

Good luck with your deadlines.

Leslie Truex said...

I have to agree on the Jessica Seinfeld issue... the more famous you are (or your spouse is), the more likely you'll get published and on Oprah. Not fair, but that's life. My tip to Missy Chase Lapine... take advantage of the popularity of hiding veggies, just like all the success gurus took advantage of The Secret... another way old idea brought back again with new packaging.

Tracy said...

In Maine, near the start of the frighteningly underpopulated Maine Turnpike, which ends a bazillion lonely miles later at the Canadian border, there's actually a sign in the middle of nowhere that says, "Have You Checked Your Tires?"

I always expect to drive a few more miles and see, "Did You Turn Off the Oven?" and, even further on, "You're Sure?"

Jody said...

I didn't read either book but when I was a kid my mom sometimes bought these frozen french fries that actually had vegetables inside them. Does anybody else remember these? They had a catchy name but I can't remember it. Needless to say, we never ate the things.