Quote o’ the Day (Nelson Rockefeller/Thomas Aquinas Edition)

In his generally admiring Wall Street Journal review of Richard Norton Smith’s greatly admiring biography of Nelson Rockefeller, On His Own Terms, Robert K. Landers noted this in reference to Rockefeller’s “hidden trait [of] dyslexia”:

His difficulty reading persuaded him that, as he said, “the best way to read a book is to get the author to tell you about it.” When he was governor of New York and trying to fathom the moral complexities of abortion, he saw a reference to Thomas Aquinas in a newspaper editorial and asked a staffer to arrange a meeting with the eminent theologian.


No wonder Pres. Eisenhower said of Rockefeller, “He is too used to borrowing brains instead of using his own.”


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Dead Blogging ‘A Disappearing Number’ at Central Square Theater

Well the Missus and I trundled over to Central Square yesterday to catch the Catalyst Collaborative production of A Disappearing Number and, say, it was . . . swellish.

From their website:

In 1913 a clerk in rural India, Ramanujan, sends a letter to the renowned Cambridge mathematician, G.H. Hardy, containing an extraordinary series of theorems. What ensues is a adn-secondary-imagelegendary, intellectually passionate, seven-year collaboration. Interwoven with the present-day story of Ruth, a British math professor, and her husband, an Indian-American businessman. Drama, comedy, Indian dance and music weave an immersive experience the New York Times called “mesmerizing”, a love-story that combines the clashes of culture, the sensuality of ideas, while illuminating the mystery of mathematics.

Unfortunately, we found the local production slightly less than mesmerizing – too long, too mathematical, and too . . . long. (Two hours, no intermission.)

That said, the performances by Harsh J. Gagoomal (as the physicist/narrator Aninda) and Christine Hamel (as the mathematician Ruth) are terrific, and the staging is ingenious and eye-catching throughout.

So, we say, catch it.

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On Second Thought, To Ello with Them

UnknownFor several weeks now, the hardhoping staff has been yearning for a smile from Ello, the Mean Girl of Social Media.

But . . . nothing.

Then, this (via MediaPost):

Interest in Ello Craters

Well, that didn’t take long. The new social media hotness, Ello, is no longer new or hotness, and is now more a moderately aged “meh,” judging by the number of searches for “Ello” from Google Trends . . .

The Guardian notes that the volume of searches for Ello climbed from nothing before September 23, to reach its first peak on September 26, followed by a small dip before reaching an all-time peak on September 30 — but has now plunged back to just about where it was before September 23.

Were-we-nuts? graf:

Even at its peak interest, Ello received no more than a tenth the volume of searches for “Twitter,” which in turn lags far behind Facebook.

Anyway, we’re over it now.

Goodbye, Ello. We don’t care that we hardly knew ye.

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That’s Just So Mean! (Martha Chokeley Edition)

Massachusetts Attorney General and gubernatorial wannabe Martha Coakley just can’t escape her past (see: 2010 U.S. Senate special election).

Thus – inevitably – this piece by Ben Schreckinger appeared in the latest edition of Politico Magazine.



Martha Chokeley

Is the worst candidate in Massachusetts about to lose again?

You could call her the Bill Buckner of politics, if she even knew who the Red Sox were.

She’s a Democrat who managed to blow a huge statewide lead to a Republican in deep-blue Massachusetts in epic fashion. And now she’s blown it again. Or at least that will be the epitaph on Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s political career come November if Charlie Baker edges her in the governor’s race.

That’s a big if, of course.

But still.


(Copy and photo both.)

Meanwhile, plug “Martha Chokeley” into the Googletron and you get 660 search results, including:

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NYT Slowbituary: David Greenglass, Ratted Out the Rosenbergs

From Page One of today’s New York Times:

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Interesting that Greenglass’s death went unreported for over three months.

Mr. Greenglass died on July 1, a family member confirmed. He was 92. His family did not announce his death; The New York Times learned of it in a call to the nursing home where he had been living under his assumed name.

Even more interesting: Michael and Robert Meeropol, the sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, were just here in Boston last week for a panel discussion at Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center.

And they talked about David Greenglass. But forgot to mention that he was dead.


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Google Thinks You’re a Foogle

At Google’s inception, founders Sergei Brin and Larry Page eschewed advertising, concerned that people would think financial interests might skew the search engine’s results.



Via the Wall Street Journal (print edition headline):

Deceptive Web Ads Draw Flak, Little Action

Federal regulators last year told Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., and Microsoft Corp. to more clearly highlight the ads in their search-engine results, to avoid deceiving consumers.

In response, the three leading U.S. search engines have done little, making it difficult for users to distinguish ads from BN-EZ181_search_J_201410131345192-290x290“natural” search results. Google earlier this year stopped placing colored shading around ads, and now displays a small yellow “Ad” label next to some paid links. The shading of ads on Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing search results is nearly imperceptible; both search engines label ads with a single line of light-gray text.

“Consumers are being tricked,” says Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a consumer-advocacy group whose complaints helped push the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in 2002 to first issue guidelines recommending that search engines clearly delineate listings that are ads.

That’s not happening, according to Rolfe Winkler’s Journal piece.

Nuts-to-you grafs:

The shading behind ads on Bing and Yahoo is so light that it is difficult for search-engine users to notice, says Public Citizen’s Mr. Weissman.

He and others say Google’s yellow “Ad” label is a better disclosure.

“That’s not saying much, because Google is still trying to deceive consumers,” says Jakob Nielsen of Nielsen Norman Group, a consultancy that focuses on how people interact with websites.

Read the whole Journal piece. If it doesn’t piss you off, you deserve what you get.

Originally posted at Sneak Adtack.

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Correction o’ the Day (Shaquille O’Neal Edition)

From Monday’s New York Times Correction Central:


A picture caption on Thursday with an article about the Shaq Summit, a daylong seminar about Shaquille O’Neal’s business ventures, misidentified the woman shown watching a presentation with O’Neal. She is Laticia Rolle, his current girlfriend — not Nicole Alexander, a former girlfriend. And the article described incorrectly one of the products he endorses. It is a medicated powder, not a medicated power.

The piece in question:

Looming Even Larger Off the Court

Shaquille O’Neal Has His Hands Full as a Pitchman


ATLANTA — Shaquille O’Neal arrived at Turner Studios on a recent weekday morning wearing a tailored suit, size 60XL, and carrying a leather briefcase. He sat at a table at the front of the room, cracked open his laptop and prepared for a daylong seminar on a subject that was uniquely familiar to him: Shaquille O’Neal.

The occasion was the third annual Shaq Summit, a gathering of representatives from O’Neal’s many business ventures — a group that included the president of Zales (O’Neal has a men’s jewelry line) and executives from Arizona Beverages (O’Neal has a new fruit punch). One by one, they presented their campaigns and their products, and they detailed how O’Neal, the former N.B.A. star, figured into their plans.

“We’d like to see if we can create a little synergy under the Shaq umbrella,” O’Neal said.

So, to recap: That’s the back of Laticia Rolle’s head in the photo above, not Nicole Alexander’s. We have no idea where her head is, but of course we hope it’s in a good place.

Meanwhile, we’re glad the whole Girlfriend of Shaq thing is officially sorted.

But, damn – Medicated Power would be a great breakout session at the next Shaq Summit, wouldn’t it?

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To Ello With Us, Part 2

As the hardwishing staff noted last week, we – along with countless other schlubs – petitioned the Prom Queen of Social Media for an invitation to join her posse.

What we got back was this pat on the head.




So we waited. And waited. And finally got this tease-tease-me message several days ago.


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Uh-huh. Well here’s our message back to Ello.



Why don’t you.


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Let Timmy Smoke ‘Em! (2014 NLCS Edition)

The hardworking staff has long been a fan of San Francisco Giants twirler Tim Lincecum (see here). And although we’re just now starting to pay serious attention to baseball’s postseason, we’ve had half an eye out for Lincecum up to now, and seen a whole lot of nothing.

So, as is our wont, we investigated a bit. And here’s what we we found (via SFGate).

Tim Lincecum handling loss of spotlight with aplomb

ST. LOUIS — Sports can be so humbling.

One instant, you’re the most important player on a team. And then, suddenly, you’re not.

How athletes handle that fall in status is one of the fascinating things to watch in sports. Their humbling happens publicly, in 920x680the spotlight’s unforgiving glare. Some pout. Rage against the fates. Blame managers, media, teammates.

And others handle their demotion with grace. Sometimes the toughest moments reveal the strongest character.

We’ve seen it in the Bay Area. Alex Smith handled the loss of his starting job with the 49ers with more poise than most of us could imagine mustering. In 2010, Barry Zito was left off the postseason roster, worked tirelessly to be ready in case he was needed, and was redeemed in 2012.

This year, it’s Tim Lincecum’s turn. In five postseason games, he hasn’t been used. One of the most popular Giants in history, one who personified the team’s championship run, has become an afterthought.

But an afterthought with class: “I’ve got to do my best to be a good teammate . . . What these guys have been able to do is pretty special. Not to be a part of it didn’t really take any skin off my back. Because everyone did something good, something special and we won. That’s the ultimate goal.”

Here’s hoping Timmy gets to smoke some batters again – when it counts – before this is all over.

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Hot New Website Says to Ello with Us

As many of you splendid readers undoubtedly know, the social media flavor of the week is Ello, the vaunted anti-Facebook.

From Yahoo! Tech:

‘Anti-Facebook’ Social Network Ello Gets Viral Surge


In a matter of days, the new social network Ello, described as the “anti-Facebook” for its stand on privacy and advertising, has become perhaps the hottest ticket on the Internet.

Created last year as a “private” social network, Ello (www.ello.co) recently opened its doors on an invitation-only basis.

So the hardworking staff asked for one.

And here’s what we got back:


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In other words, take a number, numbnuts.

Meanwhile, The Manifesto:

Your social network is owned by advertisers.

Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.

We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.

We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce and manipulate — but a place to connect, create and celebrate life.

You are not a product.

We’re also not invited to join Ello yet. But so far we’re not taking it personally, due to this:

Because of the limited supply and strong demand, the invitations have been selling on eBay at prices up to $500. Some reports said Ello is getting up to 35,000 requests per hour as a result of a viral surge in the past week.

Full disclosure: We don’t have $500. But we will keep you posted.

For free.

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