Technology

sketchfest.jpgThis past weekend I was in San Francisco for The 8th Annual Sketchfest. This was a two week long Comedy Festival with comic performers ranging from Stand-up, One Person Shows, Improv Groups, Sketch Companies and then there were shows that sort of defied description. Some of those were the ones I took part in. 

I was lucky enough to see a few shows besides our own.  I saw The Lampshades; the best fake lounge act I’ve seen in a long time.  The physical work they do is sublime and hilarious. I took a peek at 2-Headed Dog, but they were doing a sketch that had three men running around in their underpants and little else. They were dancing in a manner that had their peculiar distributions of body fat jiggle in a way that caused me to run out of the theatre.  I’m not saying I’m the Venus DeMilo, but I don’t choose to subject anyone to the sight of my sorry flesh sac.

The Theme Park Improv Show had Scott Adsit from 30 Rock and Oscar Nunez from The Office. They were outstanding, but what was really impressive was two of the performers in the troupe were the event promoters. You just never figure people that talented would have it together enough to pull something like this off. They did some of the best improv I’ve seen in a long time.

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charlene01.jpgMy husband’s last name is Einbinder.  We’ve always assumed the German translation (one binder) meant that it was the moniker for the trade of bookbinding. It’s a rare name. In fact the only other person we’ve ever met with any connection to that name is the movie director Mike Binder. One day, years ago, at the Pumpkin Patch in our neighborhood, we struck up a conversation with him.  Blank Man, a movie he directed, was absolutely the funniest movie that year.  It still holds up.  David Allen Grier kills in it.  Of course, he always kills. It turned out that Mike’s last name was shortened from Einbinder.  Since then, when we see him places, we exchange that twinkle of recognition of our ‘kinship’.

Recently I decided my copy of The Joy of Cooking deserved better than duct tape holding it together.  Months ago I’d read an article in Daily Candy about Charlene Matthews who practiced the lost art of bookbinding. I put it in my email archives under “of interest”. I’m actually getting things done on my list of long avoided tasks and this was one of them.  What an adventure. 

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Johnny CarsonLast month, I received a call from Johnny Carson, a man for whom I was once privileged to work. There was no doubt that it was Johnny because as my iPhone trilled its canned, bluesy theme, the screen lit up with the contact photo I had once assigned him, a characteristic pose I found on a postcard in the Paley Center Gift Shop. He's at his Tonight Show desk, probably early 1980's, wide-lapelled, his forefinger pistol-pointing to his temple in mock suicide. A call from Mr. C was not an everyday event, and even more rare since his death seven years ago. As it turned out, the King of Late Night wasn't phoning from beyond with a riff on Mitt Romney's car elevator -- in fact, as you may have guessed, he wasn't calling at all. It was his nephew Jeff, who now runs the store at Carson productions, one of the phone numbers I'd long ago entered for his uncle.

Which brings me, name-droppingly, and in a roundabout way, to a habit I have -- if repeated inaction can be classified a habit -- of not deleting the dead. Nothing is as certain as death and taxes -- except on my iPhone 4S where the Reaper takes a permanent holiday.

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mdbluecrab.jpg I live in Los Angeles where you can get pretty much anything you want, except for one thing I covet: Chesapeake Bay steamed crabs. I grew up in Baltimore and I miss the crab feasts of my youth.  So, every year my thoughtful husband has a bushel Fed-x’ed out to Santa Monica in either May, June, July or August (because crabs are good only in months lacking an “r” ). And we invite nostalgic ex-pats and brave newcomers into our West Coast yard to indulge in the pagan ritual that is so cherished back in Maryland, officially The Land of Pleasant Living. 

However, if things continue the way they’re going, unfortunately even those still dwelling in the Land of Pleasant Living will be left with a raving craving. Last year, Maryland had the lowest blue crab harvest since 1945. There are only about 120 million crabs in the bay and apparently that may not be enough for a sustainable population. Overfishing, pollution, and yes, global warming are the causes.  There seems no end to George W. Bush’s pillage. So it is all the more fitting and important that I sing in praise of the joyful, toothsome oceanic bacchanalias of my childhood.

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ipadminiThe Mini has arrived and it's a big leap forward.

Having used some of the other 7-inch tablets on the market I wasn't really excited when I heard Apple had decided to crowd the market with their version.

Thankfully I ordered one anyway and I'm very impressed by what theyve accomplished. Ever since the very first iPhone, Ive been underwhelmed by Apples annoucement presentations, but overwhelmed when I finally got each new device in my hand.

It is so light that you don't even think you are holding anything. This makes it so much easier to be the around-the-house iPad. Laying outside typing an article like I'm doing now, surfing the web, or reading in bed are perfect activities for this new device.

For daily work I'd still stick with my 9-inch iPad but I can see where this will fit perfectly in my life.

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