Archive for November 14th, 2008

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Sears Layaway

November 14, 2008

This is my favorite spam of recent days. Layaway. Like in the pre-credit days. Amusingly, everything in my house was bought on reverse layaway, where I take the product home with me today and don’t pay anything for it for months or sometimes (in the case of my television) years later.

Layaway is, if I understand it correctly, “give us monthly payments and we’ll hold on to this item for you, and when you’ve paid it off, you can take it home”.

I love that Sears is selling this scheme like it’s a consumer benefit. “Keep Gifts Out of Sight!” You know, with the little cupcake approaching the inquisitive age, hiding her Christmas presents will be a problem. Maybe I will hide them at the toy store until Christmas!!

“Reserve the Best Before It’s Gone!” What era of product scarcity are these ads living in? I’m pretty sure that if the Samsung TV I’m looking at sells out before I buy it, that’s only because a better one has come along that costs less.

What’s next for this relentlessly optimistic harbinger of consumer hard times? A Pawn Shop? “Tired of stuff cluttering up your house?!? Turn that old guitar into HARD CASH!!”

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Time To Go To The Nickel

November 14, 2008

I’ve been interested in a trip to The Nickel, a new diner in downtown L.A. that is run by three interesting women (including a former pastry chef from Thomas “French Laudry” Keller), but two things today pushed me over the edge.  First, Jonathan Gold (the LA Weekly’s pulitzer winning food critic) named The Nickel one of his “99 Essential LA Restaurants”, and second, I saw this article about how The Nickel is now selling bacon donuts.  To quote Jonathan Gold’s review:

Even given the gentrification of downtown, the Nickel appears less like a diner than a movie set, a seemingly unreconstructed ’40s-era greasy spoon that popped up a few steps from what used to be considered the gamiest intersection in town, on a block where artists in natty hats share the sidewalk with homeless guys and dazed European tourists. The Nickel occupies the site of a long-forgotten diner — the remodelers uncovered hand-painted wall menus with prices last current during the Truman administration — but while the restaurant reflects the flavor of the neighborhood, it is more ambitious than that: The BLTs come with arugula; the hash is made with spicy pulled pork instead of canned corned beef; and all the toast, including the cinnamon-dusted Nickel Bag, is made with bread baked in-house. There are fancy dishes of baked eggs over polenta and mushrooms, as well as the usual fried (and vegan scrambles), brioche, as well as pancakes, and alongside the freshly squeezed orange juice is a cucumber-intensive house-made version of V8. The Nickel, which serves only breakfast and lunch for the moment, is a new kind of downtown diner, a Ships for a generation for whom full-sleeve tattoos are the new black — and it’s about time. 524 S. Main St., dwntwn, (213) 623-8301

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Dorkiest news report ever

November 14, 2008

In this report from the UK about a woman divorcing her spouse because he was “online cheating” with another woman in the avatar based “Second Life” community, the following paragraphs were particularly memorable:

The couple met in an internet chatroom in 2003 and married in real life and in a fantasy tropical setting in Second Life.

However, Taylor always had suspicions about Pollard’s online loyalty. At one point she hired a virtual detective to test whether his avatar was cheating on her, after finding him at the computer watching his character having sex with a prostitute.

There’s so much nerdery there, I’m not sure where to start.  I’m willing to acknowledge that couples meet on the internet and those meetings can lead to marriage, but this goes way beyond that.  The couple married twice? Once in real life and once in Second Life?  She hired a “virtual detective”? Such things exist?  He was watching his character have simulated sex with a virtual prostitute?  There are virtual prostitutes?

Is there are shadenfreude-esque word for the mixture of fascination/revulsion/pity/amusement/superiority I’m feeling about this whole article?