Email Standards.

For those of you who care about companies wasting people’s time because they can’t agree about standards, a bright new website has launched promoting email standards. It’s called, simply, the Email Standards Project. Why does it matter? Because a hundred years ago, industries agreed that planes generally need a wing on each side, that cars need four wheels, and that roads should be paved with a line down the middle. This allowed everyone to focus on the activity of transportation rather than the act of transporting. With many thanks to Jeffrey Zeldman, Web standards has us on a path toward Internet browsers supporting basic website functionality and display. Now, a few people want the same for Email browsers and applications so we can focus on the activtiy of communication rather than the act of communication. Let’s go, email yo!

Getting Back.

I don’t know why I think is the one of the most romantic videos ever shot, full of Orientalism, Jewish love, physical tenderness, and plain old endearment. It features David Berman’s Silver Jews singing “I’m Getting Back Into Getting Back Into You” while holding his wife as they walk through Jerusalem’s Arab market.
Oh, and it looks like the same director, Michael Tully is coming out with the Silver Jews movie. Cool.

Tiny Hands.

There are currently two spots airing right now about men with tiny hands. One is for Burger King and it’s okay; it plays on the stereotype of small hands and small members and the revelation of inadequacy among men. The second is more powerful and funnier, if more pretentious, spot for Herringbone; it features the short history of a boy with small hands who grew to be a beloved tailor throughout Europe.
These give hope to the world.

Helvetica Two.

I had one last opportunity on Thursday to see Helvetica, the movie. It was good, in a Helvetica kind of way. Here’s how the film and the typeface are similar:

  • They obviate the need for explicitly delving into history. They stand on their own feet, which, in turn, stand on the heads of invisible giants.
  • They purport to be well-rounded, neutral, and fun-loving. They ask to be seen as straightforward, honest, and open and they present themselves as the definitive and conclusive.
  • They define themselves through requited love. They love to be loved and love you back for loving them and for being in love with loving them.
  • They are fat in the middle and end somewhat squarely.

Postcript: It was great seeing the faces of some of my favorite type luminaries on a big screen.

Candy for Andy.

As I was explaining to my yoga class earlier this evening, I’ve been suffering the consequences of indulging in my daughter’s proclivities for acquiring large amounts of candy on Halloween. I can’t help it. The candy is there and so am I. The two want to meet.
In the bigger picture, I’ve now recognized that my sweet tooth will eventually get the better of me. I’m not going to give up on chocolate or anything. But I realize that buying high-end chocolate (e.g. like Hershey’s Extra Dark, a bar that is unlike anything found in the States yet can be bought in Canada at any regular supermarket) will satisfy my craving without forcing further indulgence and ingestion. I’m sure there’s some science around this.
My own paranoid theory around mass-market candy is that companies (including Hershey, of course) use just enough quality ingredients to sate the palette but the real pleasure is in the sugar itself. This leads to some satisfaction but, ultimately, the body requires a bit more of the goods and, well, there goes 3 bite-sized Snicker bars, 4 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and 3 Wunderbars. Down the hatch.

Jerry Upset.

My friend, D.C., sent this to me. Jerry Seinfeld is so obviously insulted by the King of CNN radio. It’s strange to watch real emotions on television through the prism of time-delayed YouTube.

Disaster Capitalism.

I listened with lots of quietly anxious attention to author Naomi Klein today on Democracy Now. She is a powerful speaker and I’m looking forward to reading her new book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism .
This is from today’s interview with Amy Goodman (and you can listen to the full interview at the first link above):

And we talk about torture so often in this country as being just about getting information. Torture is a tool of state terror. That is what torture is, and that is why it’s prohibited. It is about instilling — it’s a method of instilling terror in an individual, and it’s also a method of spreading terror throughout a whole society, saying we are willing to use these techniques; if you cross us, you will be subject to these techniques. So it is the science of terror. It is literally terrorism. You know, if you have somebody in your control, and your goal is to convince them that they are going to die, and as they gasp for breath their lungs are filled with water, what are you, if not a terrorist?