The First Rule Of Empire Club

“Don’t ask Nick Denton, publisher of Gawker Media and its growing list of popular Web logs, about his empire…
…If his reluctance to be interviewed is theater, it is deft theater.”
– Excerpted from Nick’s eleventh NYT profile.
A Blog Revolution? Get a Grip [nyt, via memefirst, were the NYT’s ‘deft theater’ might be called The George Lucas School Of Boy, Do We Know How This Story’ll Turn Out Acting]

But what are a thousand words worth?

It turns out I’ve got about 1,000 words a day, maybe 2,000 if I’m just doing stream of consciousness.
Anyway, as you can guess from the last few days’ posts [sic], that wordstream has been gobbled up by another project. Now that’s it’s to bed, they’re backing up in my head while I’m at the Outer Banks. So you just wait until Saturday morning, when you’ll find me curled up on your doorstep, like an unwanted drunk.
In the mean time, please go register for a bunch of classes at The New School.

Les Parapluies de Staten Island

Since all the pros are weighing in on it, let me say that Laura Shin’s umbrella review in Slate is wack. What purports to be a The New York Review of Umbrellas’s ignores some key aspects of New York City’s indigenous umbrella culture, and in ways that make me think it’s unconsciously geared to visitors, not residents, of the city.
This daytripper’s bias manifests itself in the criteria: saying smaller=better makes no more sense for umbrellas than bigger=better does for SUV’s. Unless you’re planning on carrying it folded up much of the time because, like the folks you see uptown with Century 21 bags, you don’t have an apartment or an office to stash stuff in.
Also, even in these Friends-friendly days, “plays well with others” is not a trait held in high esteem on New York City streets, especially not for umbrellas. For a lot of highly self-interested New Yorkers, bigger is better, even if it’s not, and getting your eye poked out is your problem, mac. [Note to Malcolm Gladwell: got another SUV story for you.]
Sure, there’s the Chinatown umbrella, but Manhattan’s other indigenous species–the Doorman Umbrella–is completely ignored. Maybe the writer lives in a walkup. These black giants are the Lincoln Town Car of umbrellas, more than you really need to do the job, and better if you have someone else doing it for you.
Lately there’s been a proliferation of Patented Umbrellas, which have those collapsible drinking cup-like sheaths on the tip. This is wrong. Convenient, surely, but wrong.
The Hotel Umbrella is an increasingly rare breed. These usually logo’ed Doormen Umbrellas are briefly loaned to guests at better hotels. [They’re getting rarer because some new better hotels now prefer to sell their guests an umbrella.] Someone once took my large black umbrella from the bucket at a shop, and left me with a nearly identical model courtesy of The Carlyle Hotel. Thanks.
The Firm Umbrella, the Golf Umbrella, and the Firm Golf Umbrella are usually seen in midtown, and truth be told, they’re probably being carried by some banker who moved to Rye when his second kid was born. In addition to being selfishly large for the street, these usually have the added benefit of being free (or at least it felt that way when you signed for it at the pro shop).
I recently lost my favorite umbrella, which had served me well for over six years. At the height of Niketown-hatin’ 1998, and figuring that they’d probably invest a lot in the R&D, I bought a big black Nike Golf umbrella. Yes, it had swooshes on it, but it was a small price to pay; the thing was light, strong, huge, and it never once blew out on me.
When someone stole it from a pizza restaurant a few months ago, I tried to replace it, but they sure don’t make’em like they used to. I ventured back into Niketown (what a dump), nothin’. The $15 model at the outlet you pass on 95 in Maryland was engineered to protect Nike’s margins, not my (or anyone else’s) head.
I know return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
Un-brellas [slate, via kottke and TMN]

Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:

“12 WHEREAS, the Preston High School administration and staff, particularly
13 the cafeteria staff, have enjoyed notoriety and worldwide attention; and
14 WHEREAS, tater tots figure prominently in this film thus promoting Idaho’s
15 most famous export; and
16 WHEREAS, the friendship between Napoleon and Pedro has furthered
17 multiethnic relationships;”

It passed unanimously, btw.
previously: Napoleon Dynamite: Oh. My. Heck.

If I Ran The Circus, by Nick Denton

Jason Cala-who? Nick’s raising, er, lowering, er, his sights and going after Drudge. His secret weapon: the awesome pithiness of his Choire Sicha-lator, now transformed into an automatic NY Post Headline Generator.
Actually, the first day’s batch of heds sounds like Larry Levy’s first studio meeting in The Player, where he has someone read out a random story from the paper and he turns it into a one-line movie pitch on the spot:

Grossman: How about ‘Mudslide kills 60 in slums of Chile’?
Levy: That’s good. Triumph over tragedy. Sounds like a John Boorman picture. You slap a happy ending on it, the script’ll write itself.
Here, Bonnie, you give it a shot.
Bonnie: Gee, I don’t know, Larry–
Levy: Come on.
Bonnie: OK, ‘Further bond losses push Dow down 7.15.’… I see Connery as Bond…

Sploid [via, dude, where DIDN’T you see this yesterday?]

Apparently, The Selfish Giant Lives on Fifth Avenue

And the only place it’s spring is in the corner of the garden where there was a Whole (Foods), and all the children started drinking Jamba Juices for breakfast.
Google’s satellite image map of Manhattan is stitched together from two passes, taken in different seasons, but at nearly the same time of the morning. The buildings’ shadows are at slightly different angles on the east and west sides, but they’re so damn long, they render the whole map pretty useless.
Google Map of Manhattan [via kottke]
“The Selfish Giant,” by Oscar Wilde []

On Finding The Level Of The Room

“Customers who bought this DVD also bought:

  • DVDs from The 21 Jump Street Series.
  • Full House – The Complete First Season DVD (Rate it)
  • DVDs from The Home Improvement Series.
  • Who’s the Boss? – The Complete First Season DVD ~ Tony Danza (Rate it)”
    Meanwhile Kottke‘s not impressed: “Doogie Howser, M.D. Season One, quite possibly the most worthless DVD release ever” [For some reason, though, I can’t picture Steven Bochco and David E. Kelly as Long Tail.]

  • 10 lbs of HBS in a 5 lb bag

    So you mean this whole “HBS rejects applicants who ‘hacked’ into admissions site” hubbub is about people seeing what happens if they truncate the URL for their account?
    I guess they’ve got a brand image to protect as the home of the utterly and irrationally technology-ignorant executive of tomorrow. IT people–hell, people who know how to change their default browser settings–everywhere are shaking their heads.
    Business schools redefine hacking to “stuff that a 7-year-old could do” [phil greenspun]

    Nice, Minnesota

    Several years ago, at the opening dinner of a sculptor friend’s debut 2-person show, I found myself playing the oh-so-sophisticated New York collector at a giant round table in a Chinese restaurant for a mix of folks, including the other artist’s parents.
    I offhandedly pronounced Minneapolis to be the most Canadian of American cities: not just because of the freakin’ weather, but because of public radio. First, there’s Garrison Keillor, and besides, everyone–including every immigrant taxi driver I met–listened to public radio.
    Well, the other artist’s mother said, we’re from Minneapolis. Apparently, calling a Minnesotan Canadian is almost as bad as calling a Quebecker Canadian, except the Minnesotans are too nice to say anything; they just keep it all inside. And of course, they’re so hardy, they didn’t need a jacket for the chill that blew over the table. My recovery attempt–“I meant Canadian in a good way. As It Happens is one of my favorite CBC shows!”–was unwelcome, and the table split into two conversational crescents for the rest of the night.
    Anyway, I was reminded of this this morning when Rex pointed out that “Live in Canada” is one of Minneapolissers Minneapolitans’ most popular goals. [of course, since in the two days since he posted it, it’s dropped from #11 to #18, so they must still be very self-conscious about it.]
    [update: and they’re quick to correct. I didn’t really think it was Minneapolisser, but I figured–rightly–that someone’d clue me in real fast. Thanks, Jason.]

    Read What I Read, Not What I Write

    Poss. alt. title: reads the NYT to you.

  • The Short Film, an Art Deserving a Longer Life [nyt]: After watching the Oscar nominees, Margo Jefferson finds short films to be highly concentrated joys. Even the worst short is better than a film, she says, because it’ll be over sooner. [Related? Or the exception that proves the rule?: Amazon is hosting a short film competition in association with Tribeca Film Festival. To win, your <7 min. short film must be rated highest by random Amazon surfer/shoppers. Good luck with that.]
  • Is a Cinema Studies Degree the New M.B.A.? [nyt]: English majors don’t teach English, either. Is this ascendance of media literacy substantively different from the classic ideal of a liberal education? For the corollary, though, I think people entering something as economically irrational as moviemaking should take business classes. Of course, an MBA would think that.
  • The Making of Gunner Palace: Maybe basic training is the new MBA? I’ve been stoked waiting for Gunner Palace since Tucker first emailed about it last summer. Congratulations and good luck. [via kottke]
  • Editing god Walter Murch explores the power and meaning of sound on Murch never stops to amaze and inspire me. Clear, insightful, and never condescending in his explanations of his work. [previously: Murch on] [via Lawrence Wechsler at Design Observer]
  • Enough About ‘Gates’ as Art; Let’s Talk About That Price Tag [nyt]: By all means. The MBA in me wants to get back into the “Apprentice of Nothing” T-shirt business. [previously: The Gates Bill; on the Christos’ Maybach]