I didn’t go to TEDxDetroit this year, after attending the one two years ago. It was, shall we say, a mixed bag. Upside: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Downside? Hard to say. Maybe the woman who’d opened a fitness studio where they did aerobics to Bollywood movie-soundtrack music. That’s it? That’s the “idea worth spreading?” You can do aerobics to the “Slumdog Millionaire” score? Ohhh-kay.
But in the end, I think it was this:
I guess everyone who owns a smartphone has a love/hate relationship with it, but this was an eye-opener for me. I couldn’t imagine speaking to an audience where two-thirds were staring down at a screen while I was supposedly the object of their attention. And it’s encouraged! You’re supposed to be tweeting it, the official hashtag is announced, and everyone’s tweets fly by on the screen behind the speaker. I guess this is how it’s done now, but it would make me nuts.
Anyway, two people I’ve interviewed recently were speaking at TED this year, and it was held Friday, so I dipped in and out of the live stream. The first person I heard was described as an “awesomeness expert” who would instruct attendees in “how to be awesome.” Everyone had some snarky detail added to their introduction; one, named Charlie, got a Charlie-bit-my-finger joke, delivered in a British accent. I couldn’t help but notice how many “social media experts” work for firms that appear to have been named by a child — Tiny Fish Partners, or Sleeping Dog Design. (No wonder “Mad Men” is such a hit. Adults! Wow!)
As it turned out, both guys I tuned in for were good, and both told large chunks of stories they told me, so there you have it: If you were reading Bridge, you knew all this stuff weeks ago.
And that was the weekend, although it also featured scallops, and that was very good. Pan-seared with lemon sauce, creamed spinach and oven-roasted potatoes, and “Sleepwalk With Me” afterward on the TV box. Roger gave it 3.5 stars, his readers, 3. I’m with the readers, but it was nice to see Lauren Ambrose again. The story is autobiographical, with the star, Mike Birbiglia, telling a story from his own life. Birbiglia is an average-guy shlump and Ambrose is a ginger-haired goddess, so it was strange to see him onscreen, falling out of love with a woman who so outclasses him in the looks department, but there you are. Hollywood has been asking us for years to swallow the idea that the hot young starlet of the moment wants to fuck, oh, Jack Nicholson, to use but one example out of zillions.
That’s one thing I loved about “About Schmidt,” one of Jack’s more recent films — for the first time since he hit 50, he was given a female partner his own age. She dies in the first 15 minutes, but while it lasted it was shocking.
In case you missed Basset posting this in the comments Friday, this is the Democratic candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee. Yeah, this guy:
And with the election just days away, he has not actually put that sign in a yard. Instead, it resides inside candidate Mark Clayton’s pickup. “VOTE FOR,” the sign says. The rest is hidden by the seats.
“Jesus did not have a campaign staff. And he had the most successful campaign in human history,” Clayton said recently, when asked if all this adds up to a winning run against incumbent Sen. Bob Corker (R). Jesus “didn’t even have pictures or a Web site.”
This may be America’s worst candidate.
Clayton, 36, is a part-time flooring installer, an indulger in conspiracy theories — and for Democrats here, the living personification of rock bottom. In a state that produced Democratic icons including Andrew Jackson and both Al Gores, the party has fallen so far that it can’t even run a good loser.
I’m late getting to this, but last week saw the death of Emanuel Steward, Detroit’s legendary boxing trainer. As I’ve mentioned here about a million times, I’m a latecoming boxing fan, and have come to appreciate “Manny’s” incisive commentary during many Saturday nights spent with HBO. Among his insights, according to the NYT: “You can’t feel quick in black shoes.”
Meanwhile, his sister says she has her “ass-kicking boots on,” and is stripping his gym of everything, including the ring, to “safeguard his legacy.” How leaving his fighters with no place to train does that, I’m not sure.
One more week until the election is upon us. Let’s see what it brings.