Posts tagged “comfort”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] Honey buns sweeten life for Florida prisoners [St. Petersburg Times] – [Hollywood had convinced us that cigarettes – dangerous, tough, addictive – were the currency in prison. This article suggests a cultural shift with doughy sweet comfort food taking the place of jalihouse smokes] Inmates in the Florida prison system buy 270,000 honey buns a month. Across the state, they sell more than tobacco, envelopes and cans of Coke. And they're just as popular among Tampa Bay's county jails. In Pasco's Land O'Lakes Detention Center, they're outsold only by freeze-dried coffee and ramen noodles. Not only that, these honey buns — so puffy! — have taken on lives of their own among the criminal class: as currency for trades, as bribes for favors, as relievers for stress and substitutes for addiction. They've become birthday cakes, hooch wines, last meals — even ingredients in a massive tax fraud.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] The time-warp room and other medical breakthroughs [CultureBy – Grant McCracken] – [A fascinating example but as usual it's Grant's gentle pokes in his analysis that offer the most value in this post] Coombe End Court, a retirement center in Marlborough, Wiltshire has a "time-warp" room. It’s outfitted with a gramophone, manual typewriters, a telephone made of Bakelite, and furniture from the 1950s. That this "reminiscence room" is loved by residents is not surprising. Who doesn’t like to see the return of an "old friend" from the object world? What captured the attention of the gerontological community (and the magnificent website Retronaut) was that this room as lead to a "dramatic" drop in the need for the anti-psychotic drugs given those who suffer from Alzheimer’s.

What Shoes Say

While doing a very straightforward image search for “shoes” the other day, I was presented with these two, side by side. They represent extreme cultural points: one of ultra-consumption (high fashion on the red-carpet), one of unconsumption based in necessity (re-purposed PET bottles). Both pair are ergonomically undesirable, one intentionally. The materials are strikingly similar, the gestures expressed by the feet as different as the footwear design is visually.

I wonder what this juxtaposition brings to mind for others?

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • 'Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed' inventor dies at 92 – The inventor of the "Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed," which brought weary travelers 15 minutes of "tingling relaxation and ease" for a quarter in hotel rooms across America during its heyday as a pop culture icon in the 1960s and '70s, has died.
  • Vending machines for Gold? – While it's just a plan at this point, it seems that the idea is more about disruption and promotion than simply "vending."
  • Let’s Embrace Open-Mindedness – My article published at Johnny Holland, considering the challenges in living up to the standard we set for ourselves. And there's a story about cheese, too!
  • Why some cultural products and styles die out faster than others – To investigate how cultural tastes change over time, Berger and Le Mens analyzed thousands of baby names from the past 100 years in France and the US. (Because there is less of an influence of technology or advertising on name choice, baby names provide a way to study how adoption depends on primarily internal factors.) The researchers found a consistent symmetry in the rise and fall of individual names; in other words, the longer it took for a name to become popular, the longer it took for the name to fade out of popularity, and thus the more staying power it had compared to names that quickly rose and fell. The effect was robust, occurring in both countries and across various time windows.

    According to the results, the quicker a cultural item rockets to popularity, the quicker it dies. This pattern occurs because people believe that items that are adopted quickly will become fads, leading them to avoid these items, thus causing these items to die out.

    (via Lone Gunman)

Challenge: Keep our minds open

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Johnny Holland has published my latest article, Let’s Embrace Open-Mindedness.

A few months earlier, however, I gazed at the edge of my comfort zone and decided not to cross: walking through Santa Monica we came upon the Independent Spirit Awards ceremony. Crowds of people were gathered, waiting for a glimpse of the stars. We found the serious autograph hounds who were there with portable plastic bins stuffed with headshots for signing (and reselling on eBay). It was a definite subculture: people filled each other in about the unspoken rules: what happens when a celeb approaches, when to use your Sharpie, how to hand it to them, and so on. I was fascinated but my obvious outsider/passerby status felt like a barrier. And then I saw a woman covered in tattoos, where each tattoo was a signature. I realized her particular shtick was to get autographs and then go directly to the tattoo parlor to have that autograph made permanent (the ultimate version of “I’ll never wash this hand again!”). I watched her and the group for a while, and thought about whether or not I would ask her for a picture. There was something slightly wild about her and I couldn’t figure out how to make the request. Sure, in the cold light of these pixels, it’s easy to think “What’s the worst that could happen?” but in the moment itself we may deal with it less rationally. I was actively taking pictures during my trip and I really wanted a picture of this woman but I was never able to do it. As with the cheese, I did step outside the experience for a moment, look at where I wanted to go, and decide whether I was able to cross that gulf. Here, I couldn’t.

Japan pictures – part 2 of 3

I’ve uploaded nearly 1300 of my Japan pictures to Flickr. For reasons I’m sure you’ll understand, I haven’t added titles or tags or descriptions proactively, but please add comments or questions on flickr and I’ll gladly offer a story or explanation.

Meanwhile, I’m including some of my faves here, as well as part 1 and part 3.

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