With great anticipation, Alan and I and a few friends checked in at Ye Olde Tap Room, a venerable east-side Detroit bar — across a narrow alley from Grosse Pointe — on Saturday night for their annual celebration of the repeal of Prohibition. The advertised special was five-cent draft beer; the fine print was with purchase of commemorative mug; the even finer print was and the beer is Stroh’s. We opted to go with the pay-full-price-for-something-else plan, and I bet you would have, too.
Guests were encouraged to wear costumes from the roaring ’20s, and many did. Of course the ’20s had been over for some time when Prohibition was repealed, so I’m not sure the true period attire would have been flapper dresses and Tommy guns, but who the hell cares? The place was packed. A fun night, during which I had precisely four ounces too much beer, and abandoned my last round. I used to be able to pound down the lagers like a champ, but they catch up with me quickly nowadays, not in drunkenness but in sheer stomach-filling quantity. All those bubbles. All that sloshing.
This particular bar has a history vis-a-vis Prohibition; for a while it was a speakeasy itself, or “blind pig,” as they’re known around here. I’ve been to one after-hours joint in my life, in Columbus; the scene was very much like the roadhouse scene in “Animal House.” I woke up in bed, fully clothed, between two men, also fully clothed, both of them gay, one of whom was holding a toilet seat like a teddy bear. My last memory was of him wearing it like a necklace; he liked the color. It matched his sweater.
Never again. Now, three is effectively my limit, with some wiggle room depending on the food served. But I don’t begrudge anyone their fun.
What a weekend, even without the excursions. The weather is finally catching up to the calendar, and it’s time to get to work outdoors. Did my first mow of the season, a strange experience on Mother’s Day weekend, to be cutting grass under still-blooming forsythia, but there you are.
My iPad is now in Clinton Township — I’ve watched its progress from China via FedEx tracking — so now it’s time to think a little harder about how I’m going to use it. I read this David Carr story about the dawn of the magazines-on-tablet era with some interest. Especially this part:
Anybody in publishing will tell you that the prices they can charge advertisers for print (and now tablet) subscribers are far above the commodity pricing that rules on Web-based content. As more and more magazines end up in people’s laps, backlighted and without a mailing label, it’s a huge win for magazines, right?
Not so fast, said Robin Steinberg, executive vice president and director of publishing investment and activation for MediaVest. She helps giants like Kraft and Wal-Mart make ad-buying decisions. Ms. Steinberg sent a pre-emptive letter to publishers on April 29 suggesting that she and her clients would not simply go along with the assumption that a digital subscriber should count the same as a paper one.
Although she is on the Audit Bureau board and voted in favor of the changes, Ms. Steinberg made it clear that she wanted her clients to have the flexibility to opt in and out of digital editions. In a tart reminder that these are the early days of the process, she wrote that for media buyers, it was “critical that we determine how copies are qualified and counted when served either traditionally or digitally.”
In other words, same ol’ same ol’. The eyeballs that dollar up are the ones looking at dead trees. Remind me again why we all raced to the web? The rest, well, who can say if they even exist? What’s more:
Getting the kind of data that will satisfy skeptical buyers like Ms. Steinberg will be no small thing. Apple, the clear leader in tablet publishing, has been and will continue to be hesitant about sharing consumer behavior on its device. And no one knows enough about the habits of app readers to say conclusively how engaged they are while browsing through a digital magazine.
So that’s the new metric? I have to be engaged while I browse a digital edition, whatever that means? A while back I made a vow to allow more splash-page ads to run on media sites, rather than clicking them away automatically. I look at it as a small price to pay for free content. Lord knows what the new era will mean.
I’m already a New Yorker subscriber, so I’ll get the iPad edition free. I’ll keep you posted.
A quick skip to bloggage, then:
The anti-abortion crowd frequently plays dirty in its propaganda, although you could point out that that’s sort of the point of propaganda, period. And I know they say the same thing about us. But there’s something so disgusting in this piece, in which the director of one of those “post-abortion” ministries looks at a particular set of facts — the meltdown of a young Steven Tyler, the poor man’s Mick Jagger — and attributes all of it to the fact Tyler’s barely legal girlfriend had an abortion at 16. It’s in his interest to do so, of course; he makes his cheddar convincing women that an elective abortion is roughly comparable to five years in a concentration camp, in terms of how it affects your psyche. But it was nearly impossible to read without fogging the room with the steam coming out of my ears. Mary Elizabeth Williams takes it apart in Salon, so I don’t have to.
Because I don’t want to depart on a bummer note, however, it’s worth reading this short piece, a TED talk by a passenger on Chesley Sullenberger’s miracle landing in the Hudson River. Heartening without being sappy. Take three minutes of your time.
Manic, crazy Monday! I’m gone.