Curse of Five Things About Media and Technology Right Now

(Part 7 of my ongoing series. Here’s part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, and part 6. This time with hashtags!)

1. Post the news on social media ASAP! So what if it’s wrong? We’ll just delete it or update it! What’s the problem? #journalismtoday

2. “You’re a what? Oh, you mean content creator.” #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

3. I don’t know what I want to see in my next President, but I do know it’s not someone who spends all day on Twitter.

4. This is an interesting piece about phones from The Atlantic, though I disagree slightly with some of the conclusions (it’s not just the design of/how people use smartphones that’s the reason younger people don’t make a lot of calls, it actually is anxiety and laziness/speed/convenience).

5. I don’t think humans were made to experience things at the speed of social media.

Capital M

The other night I watched Bad Words, the movie with Jason Bateman as a 40-year-old who is allowed to enter a national kids spelling bee because of a loophole in the rules. It’s funny and dirty with a couple of good twists in the story, and Bateman does a fine job of directing. It’s quite entertaining.

But it made me think of something that happened four decades ago, when I was in fifth grade. We were on a class outing to a part of my hometown called Stage Fort Park, a large recreation area with lots of green grass and rocks to climb and beaches. There was food and games and other activities, including a spelling bee (they had to mix in some learning with the sunshine and running around). I was pretty damn good at spelling so I entered. I got through a few rounds no problem, and then I got the word “Massachusetts.” I spelled it correctly – M-A-S-S-A-C-H-U-S-E-T-T-S – and my teacher even said “That was really great Bob.”

I think I gave a little smile and maybe even a silent sigh of relief, but then he added “…but you forgot to say CAPITAL M.”

I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach, and I lowered my head in shame and disappointment (D-I-S-A-P-P-O-I-N-T-M-E-N-T). All that work and I was disqualified (D-I-S-Q-U-A-L-I-F-I-E-D) because of what I consider a technicality (T-E-C-H-N-I-C-A-L-I-T-Y). I’m pretty sure I thought of some bad words as I walked away. I don’t remember too many things that happened in my fifth grade class but 40 years later I remember that.

Random thoughts

1. Twitter has gotten rid of their 140-character limit on direct messages. Yeah, I remember when this was called “e-mail.”

2. At the supermarket last week I was pushing my cart down an aisle when I saw an attractive woman in front of me. Just then a guy comes around the corner into the aisle and makes the wolf whistle sound towards her, so she’s obviously his girlfriend or wife. She kinda laughed and shook her head and said “what are you doing?” in that playful way couples do, wondering why he was acting like a goofball. For a split second I thought of saying to her, “oh, he’s doing that for me,” but I stopped myself because I didn’t know them and who knows how they would take it. Just then, he points to me and says to her “oh no, that was for him.” We laughed.

3. I don’t go to the movies as much as I’d like to (I think I’ve been once in the past three years), but I’ll be in line first day to see this:

4. I have a theory that people are dumber/lazier/more irritating during the summer. Discuss.

5. Peg Lynch passed away a few weeks ago in Massachusetts at the age of 98. If you don’t know who she is, she pretty much invented the sitcom. She was an amazing woman who not only starred in her radio and TV shows but also wrote all of them – thousands of scripts – without the help of a staff. One of my heroes. Here’s her official site, run by her daughter, and her NYT obituary.

I didn’t win


I didn’t win a million dollars.

Was it a possibility? Yes! It was for all of us. I entered the Lay’s potato chip contest. Come up with an idea for a new chip flavor and win $1,000,000. The finalists were announced this week and unfortunately none of the five fantastic flavors I came up with made the cut.

The finalists? Southern Biscuits and Gravy, New York Reuben, West Coast Truffle Fries, and Greektown Gyro.

Southern Biscuits and Gravy? Didn’t Lay’s already do a Chicken ‘n Waffles chip?

The finalists get their name on their bag and $50,000, and the one that gets the most votes from the public gets a million or 1% of net sales for the next year. I guess I don’t get any of that. All of my potato chip-related money fantasies are gone.

Currently my flavor is Disappointment, with a hint of Frustration.