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January 19, 2005

'What is the best moment of the day?'

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Designboom asked a wide range of people this question, then posted their responses here.

Among those answering: Hella Jongerius, Scott Adams, Shigeru Uchida, Milton Glaser, Naoto Fukasawa, Maurizio Cattelan, Mario Bellini, Dieter Sieger, Helmut Newton, Andrée Putman, Daniel Libeskind, Dominique Perrault, Marc Newson, Alberto Meda, Paolo Deganello, Peter Cook, Peter Eisenman, Jasper Morrison, Karim Rashid, Toyo Ito, David LaChapelle, Franco Maria Ricci, John Maeda, Ingo Maurer, Vladimir Kagan, Renzo Rosso, Dieter Rams, Tom Dixon, Matteo Thun, Aldo Cibic, Marc Sadler, Li Edelkoort, Denis Santachiara.

I found their responses surprising, funny, poignant, and goofy.

Mine?

I guess waking up.

It means I get to have another adventure.

January 19, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

bookofjoe battles 40-to-1 odds

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In last Friday's Financial Times Neil Buckley, reporting on Procter & Gamble's profound culture change in its innovation process, wrote:

    Procter & Gamble now has 40 "technology entrepreneurs" whose job it is to use sophisticated search tools to mine billions of pages on the web, global patent databases and scientific literature. Their role is to find the "needle in the haystack" – important breakthroughs that might benefit the company.

Where up until around 2000 P&G was closed to outside ideas, now it is busily seeking them, aware that if they don't get there first, Wal-Mart will eat their lunch.

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The part of the story that fascinated me, though, was finding out who my competition really is: it's not CoolHunting or PopGadget or their ilk; rather, it's behemoths like P&G, with billions to spend and 40 people who are paid to surf and troll the web using all manner of sophisticated tools.

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How can I hope to play in their league?

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More from the article:

    The consumer goods giant has also joined three internet-based networks of scientists. NineSigma.com connects to about half a million researchers. Then there is the website InnoCentive.com, a spin-off from drug company Eli Lilly, which links 70,000 scientists who also offer solutions to technical problems. Finally, P&G joined Eli Lilly as a founder member of YourEncore.com, a network of retired scientists available for consultancy work.

I mean, look at us here:

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me and my crack research team,

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using the same old Google you have.

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Seems unfair, doesn't it?

Ah well, we'll manage somehow.

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Samuel Beckett's our guiding spirit.

January 19, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Ruth Duckworth, Modernist Sculptor'

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The above-titled show opened last Thursday at the Museum of Art and Design in Manhattan.

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It's the first comprehensive retrospective for this 85-year-old artist,

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featuring approximately 80 works spanning her career.

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Included are many pieces from the artist's private collection, along with stone carvings and maquettes which have never been exhibited.

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Born in Germany in 1919, she left the country in 1936 at age 17, moving to London.

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She remained there until 1964,

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when she took a one-year teaching position at the University of Chicago which ended up lasting 13 years, until 1977,

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when she retired to concentrate on her own work.

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Every work made by Duckworth is entitled "Untitled."

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"I don't like to limit what people will see," she said in an interview with Matthew Gurewitsch of the Wall Street Journal.

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"I like it when they can see different things."

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Much of her work consists of large-scale wall murals and monumental outdoor sculptures;

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photographs of these along with a video biography of the artist are part of the exhibit, which will be up through April 30, moving then to Chicago.

January 19, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Telescope - by Louise Glück

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There is a moment after you move your eye away
when you forget where you are
because you've been living, it seems,
somewhere else, in the silence of the night sky.

You've stopped being here in the world.
You're in a different place,
a place where human life has no meaning.

You're not a creature in a body.
You exist as the stars exist,
participating in their stillness, their immensity.

Then you're in the world again.
At night, on a cold hill,
taking the telescope apart.

You realize afterward
not that the image is false
but the relation is false.

You see again how far away
each thing is from every other thing.

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January 19, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hayao Miyazaki - 'The Auteur of Anime'

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Margaret Talbot obtained an interview with the notoriously press-averse master when she simply showed up at the Ghibli Museum, his Tokyo compound, and waited.

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The resulting piece, published in the January 10 issue of the New Yorker, is worth a trip to the library to read.

The reason I say that is because the New Yorker, sensing demand for this article, simply chose not to put it up online.

They do offer an interview with Talbot, the piece's author.

As if that is somehow gonna substitute.

So short-sighted is the New Yorker, and all who think they must "protect" their intellectual capital: they should have, instead, rushed to put it up online and announced it in big, bold type.

Well, they'll figure it out eventually.

Trouble is, they may not have a magazine left when they do.

But hey, that's not our problem, is it?

From the article:

    He complained, "everything is so thin and shallow and fake."

    Only half in jest, he said that he was hoping for the day when "developers go bankrupt, Japan gets poorer, and wild grasses take over."

    Miyazaki films are as popular in Japan as Disney films are in America. "Spirited Away" is Japan's highest-grossing movie ever.

    Miyazaki-inspired merchandise is nearly as ubiquitous in Japan as Disney stuff is here.

    Miyazaki is a master at conveying emotions as a child would experience them; obliquely, often physically, with a thread of magical thinking that promotes resilience.

    "I don't have much patience for calculating and intellectualizing anymore," he said. "It has to do with the times. Nobody knows anything. Nobody knows what's going to happen. So my conclusion is, don't try to be too smart and wise. Why does anybody feel the way they do? Why is somebody depressed? Or angry? Even if you have a therapist, you're never going to figure it out. You're not going to solve it. Besides, every trauma is an important part of you."

    "I'm hoping I'll live another thirty years [he's 63]. I want to see the sea rise over Tokyo and the NTV tower become an island. I'd like to see Manhattan underwater. I'd like to see when the human population plummets and there are no more high-rises, because nobody's buying them. I'm excited about that. Money and desire—all that is going to collapse, and wild green grasses are going to take over."

    He said he'd visited the office tower of NTV, a Japanese television network, the day before: "I climbed two hundred and six meters up, to where the red lights are to warn the planes. You could see the whole city. And I thought, This place is haunted, doomed. All those buildings. All those cubicles."

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Here's a 2001 interview with Miyazaki.

January 19, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'When they scream like a schoolgirl, that's the beginning of family fun'

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Maybe if you're the Addams family, but not where I come from.

That's a quote from Scott Trowbridge, vice president for design and creative development at Universal Parks and Resorts.

It appeared in a story by Nat Ives, in this past Monday's New York Times, about the new new thing: "Fear Factor Live" attractions at Universal theme parks in Orlando, Florida and Universal Studios in Hollywood.

Here's the article.

    Putting Some Terror in Family Outings

    "Fear Factor" from NBC makes its contestants swallow the unsavory and perform stomach-churning stunts as they chase big cash prizes.

    Now the theme parks of Universal in Orlando, Fla., and Universal Studios in Hollywood are planning "Fear Factor Live" attractions that will ask contestants to swallow the unsavory and perform stomach-churning stunts while vacationing with their families.

    "No, people aren't going to eat live bugs. Are we going to ask people to eat strange things? Yes," said Scott Trowbridge, vice president for design and creative development at Universal Parks and Resorts.

    "Those kind of extreme, over-the-top stunts and challenges we see every week on television - we're going to be able to put ordinary average people into those situations every day."

    The attractions, which are scheduled to open this spring, follow a deal, completed last May, that formed NBC Universal by combining the assets of NBC, part of General Electric, with those of Vivendi Universal.

    NBC Universal, which is 80 percent owned by General Electric and 20 percent owned by Vivendi, has set about making the most of its sweeping entertainment portfolio, which includes television, movies and the Universal theme parks.

    "We always thought of 'Fear Factor' as the ultimate theme-park ride on television," said Jeff Zucker, president of the NBC Universal Entertainment Group.

    "What this shows is the capability of the new company to find unique ways of expanding our creative products across all of our businesses."

    The "Fear Factor" series, which is produced by Endemol USA, has already survived longer than many of its unscripted prime-time peers, even going into syndication last fall.

    " 'Fear Factor' is an incredibly popular show for families to watch together," Mr. Trowbridge said.

    "When they scream like a schoolgirl, that's the beginning of family fun."

January 19, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

bookofjoe's Christmas cards

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As promised, above see each and every card sent to me last month by my wonderful fans - all eight of them.

Actually, one sweet pure person sent two, so overwhelmed was she - but that's OK, I was too.

Yes, from all points of the globe - from Japan, Idaho, Kansas, Jerusalem, Nevada, Los Angeles, and Thailand, wishes and nice thoughts were received.

I just took the pictures seen here: yes, I know it's January 18, and Christmas was over three weeks ago.

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Clearly, you're not familiar with the bookofjoe Christmas tree philosophy.

And what better time, or place, to enlighten you?

Without further ado, then, here is bookofjoe's Christmas tree policy:

    The Christmas tree stays up until Valentine's Day.

Why?

Because that way Christmas lasts nearly two months.

Why the heck not, say I?

Fire, shmire.

Not to worry.

"The lines around my eyes are protected by a copyright law."

I've always liked that line a lot, but never had the opportunity to use it till now.

January 19, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

'If I am out of my mind, it's all right with me'

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Two interesting stories appeared in yesterday's Financial Times, on opposite sides of the same piece of paper: one on page 7, about the rise of Metro International,

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the world's fastest growing newspaper; the other on page 8, about anime and the otaku market.

"Otaku, often translated as geek or maniac, refers to people who are obsessed about something to the point that it effects their social life."

Getting a little close to home there....

"Common subjects of fascination include computers, video games, Japanese manga comics and anime."

How about creating this blog out of whole cloth every day?

Hmm?

Think that's obsessive?

I do.

But hey, we like it.

If it seems like fun, then it is fun.

That's how I see it, anyhow.

Or, as Saul Bellow put it, in the opening sentence of his magnificent novel, "Herzog":

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    If I am out of my mind, it's all right with me, thought Moses Herzog.

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I've always liked that line - gee, I wonder why.

The anime piece noted that children's anime ratings in Japan are falling, but late-night shows have increased in number.

Rie Kamiyama of the Dentsu Institute of Communication said, "The market that is growing is the otaku market, not the children's market. You don't need to spend much on promotion because your audience are otaku."

Which makes my decision - made only after a heated meeting of my board earlier today - to forego, for the time being, any additional spending on promotion and marketing for bookofjoe seem quite reasonable, no?

Let's see, now: how much is $0 + $0?

Oh, wait, that's top-secret, closely-held corporate information - who leaked it?

And now CBS is gonna go and put it on the air?

Don't they ever learn?

The article about the Metro tabloid empire had its nugget buried at the end, in the final paragraph.

It read:

    Traditional titles have a future but only if they take a lesson from pay-TV: exclusive content and quality that cannot be found for free.

So I'm supposed to charge for all the great "exclusive content and quality?"

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No way, José: if free's good enough for Craigslist, it's good enough for bookofjoe.

January 19, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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