April 18, 2010

Sin-Taxes and George Hamilton

The new health-care reform bill is responsible for some new, so-called "sin taxes." Read about the uproar this is causing in this article about taxing tanning salon services:


Me? I'm as pale as they get. And I embrace my pastiness -- practically shout it out from the rooftop. But what gets me about our over-reaching government is this little nugget I read:

The Food and Drug Administration is considering new tanning rules that may include banning people with pale skin.

In my opinion, tanning is stupid.  But what right does the FDA have to exclude a certain segment of the population, the pale segment, from getting our inner George Hamilton on?

April 12, 2010

The Internet Makes Us All Smarter? Oh, Really.

I just saw a commercial for AT&T. They claim that access to the Internet makes us smarter. And then it goes on to ask, "What happens when everyone has it?" 

     1.   I have recently learned that the term “idiot box” now refers to the computer. It was once used exclusively to describe the television;

     2.   AT&T is my wireless service provider. They also used to provide my landline telephone service, and kept sending me information about U-verse and high-speed DSL. The only problem is that despite living less than 10 minutes from a major metropolitan area, DSL and U-verse aren’t available in my neighborhood. AT&T doesn’t provide these services to my location.

The irony of the above-referenced commercial isn’t lost on me.

April 1, 2010

A Global Book Group?

Lately, there's been some buzz in the literary blog-o-sphere about this idea called, "One Book, One Twitter." It's sort of a global book group for the Twitter community proposed by Jeff Howe of Crowdsourcing.  Here's the plan in a nutshell: a gazillion people all read the same book simultaneously and tweet about it.  It's a lot like the one book-one city thing except on a broader scale.

I'm not sure how I feel about this, though. 

On the one hand I love books, reading and all things literature-related.  Reading is fundamental, you know.

But is Twitter the best forum for a book group?  By its very nature, Twitter restricts posts to around 140 characters.  What kind of meaningful exchange can you really have on the relevancy of 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 in only 140 characters?

And do we really need to have someone tell us what to read?  Isn't that what Oprah is for?

I suspect that the people who finally elect to participate in this literary social experiment are the same people who already belong to an online book community like Goodreads or Shelfari or Librarything, and so Jeff Howe won't really be accomplishing anything groundbreaking.  But I'm wondering what other people think about it.