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Bother of the Bride: Dieting. Through your nose.

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Bride-(who-wants)-to-be-(thinner), Jessica Schnaider, who spent $1,500 for eight days on a feeding tube to make sure her wedding photos — if not her new body — would look good forever. Credit: Barbara Fernandez for The New York Times

Months of winter forcing you to chow down on ‘comfort food’ making you feel like Violet Beauregarde? You’re in luck: the New York Times was kind enough to shine a spotlight on the latest diet trend sweeping the nation (in this case, a nation made up almost solely of prospective brides looking to shed a couple-twenty pounds): nasogastric tubes, which provide a highly controlled daily dose of calories after being inserted through the nostril, down the esophagus, and into the stomach.

Needless to say, this type of weight loss regimen isn’t for everyone — and in some experts’ opinions, shouldn’t be for anyone. As Time reports:

Dr. David Heber, director of the UCLA Risk Factor Obesity Program, says complications can also include aspiration, infection of the lung, kidney failure and erosion of tissues in the nose and throat. “People are taking an unnecessary medical risk by putting in a [feeding] tube,” he says. “To do it for no reason seems to me overly risky. Without medical supervision, if the protein and electrolyte levels are not monitored, it’s not safe.”

Of course, humans have experimented with destructive ways to maintain their figures since people realized they had figures. The ancient Romans would vomit between courses to make room for the next round. William the Conquerer adopted an all-alcohol diet in 1087 after becoming too fat to ride his horse. Unfortunately, he died that same year after supposedly falling off said horse, which gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “crash diet.” Even Lord Byron had some less-than-appealing practices to keep the poet pounds down:

Existing on biscuits and soda water or potatoes drenched in vinegar, he wore woolly layers to sweat off the pounds and measured himself obsessively. Then he binged on huge meals, finishing off with a necessarily large dose of magnesia.

Of course, if they’d existed in his day, I’m sure Byron would have been one of the first to purchase one of the many variations of the Jiggle-a-Tron 5000 that became popular in the early half of last century, especially considering that its main attraction seemed to be how little physical effort its users actually had to exert in order to reap its supposed benefits.

 

That said, it’s hypocritical to pretend that many of today’s high-tech solutions are any better. Take Japan’s 4 in 1 Pressotherapy Slimming Machine, which promises (in its own delightfully poetic way) that

With perfect combination with magicconversion curve & lymph conduction, fat elimination, breach of fat, magnetic skin tension, integrated with weight loss, body beautification, massage, and exercise, four-in-one body beautification instrument transmits 32 different types of myriametric wave signals to strengthen normal electrochemical process of human nerve endings and generate 32 different moving modes of fat in the body of patients so that the fat in different people will be completed decomposed.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Especially with a feeding tube up my nose.

(Crossposted on Motherboard)

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Rapper’s Re-write: A Handy Pocket Guide to Foreign Translations of Rap Names

Last Friday, keen-eyed Twit-wit, Andrew Bloch, noticed something slightly askew in his copy of Malaysia’s top-selling English-language periodical, The Star: namely, that America’s third richest hip-hop star, 50 Cent, was only worth RM1.50 in local currency.

An innocent mistake by an over-zealous, under-hip copy editor? Well, yes. Nonetheless, the amusing misappropriation started me thinking. There are plenty of current and latter-day MCs whose pseudonymous handles have the potential for inadvertent cross-border translations. How might those folks be referred to in different parts of the world?

Forthwith, a less-than-comprehensive compendium (offered in graphic form, since tables in this template are some ugly-ass Mofos — see end of post):

Hat tip to Benjy Sarlin.

(Crossposted on Motherboard)

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(Actual table version available after the jump.)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Day 5

Robin is OCD, or has OCD, or whatever the preferred nomenclature is for people with obsessive compulsive disorder. At our first book sale, last September in the basement of a church where I do most of my work, she told me as much.

“I just, I go down there, and everything’s out of order and all over the place!” she said, visibly exasperated. Robin is short, wiry, and birdlike. She has a white mid-sixties Beatles’ haircut, thick rimmed shields for glasses, and she never looks you in the eye when she talks. She walks with a pronounced limp, but I’ve never asked her about it because I don’t want to come across as rude.

“We didn’t have time to organize it,” I explained at the time. This was last September, Indian Summer, a sunny Saturday afternoon, and I was telling Robin the truth. The day of the sale it was Marc and me, a chapel filled with chairs , my dungeon on the other side of the church basement stacked to the ceilings with books, and eight hours to set the whole thing up for opening night. We did not concern ourselves with putting all of the Harry Potters with the other Harry Potters. We concerned ourselves with hauling ass.

Robin was having none of it. “Listen, when I go to a book sale I don’t want to be looking all over the place trying to find what I want. That’s just crazy! I’m OCD, and I swear,” she said, shaking her head, “I just want to go around organizing everything! It’s like a madhouse down there!” At the time, I took her complaints to be a minor annoyance on an otherwise beautiful late summer day. But my boss, manning the cash register, had heard it all downstairs before me, and she had signed Robin on as a volunteer for our next book sale.

These days, Robin devotes her time to the kids’ room. She spends hours upon hours putting, say, the Full House collection of Mary-Kate and Ashley stories in chronological order. She has an R.L. Stine section, a parenting section, a boardbook section arranged according to the genus and species of the title animal. Which is to say, it is under control in the kids’ room, because Robin is on top of that shit. When we had a group of twenty Raytheon HR volunteers come in to physically put all of the boxed books on the shelves… when Robin came in the day after that, with everything misplaced and disorganized and crazy — but, crucially now, on the shelves – well, she just about fainted. And then she spent the next three days in that little 8×12 box, putting everything in its right place for the sale.

Today I put a rock between the back door and the doorjamb, not just because it’s nice out, but because Robin can’t handle stairs well and the rear entrance only has one little step. She’s due to arrive at noon, and I’ve been clearing out bins all morning, boxing things up for her to fiddle with. She doesn’t ask for much. None of the volunteers do. When my boss and I sat down with them for the first time and asked them what they might like to make their volunteer time a bit more pleasant, they were only so extravagant as to request a radio. I haven’t heard them listen to it once.

“Hey, Robin,” I greet her as she walks in. “How are ya?”

“I’m good, Tom. How are you?”

“Oh, you know. Books, books, books.”

She laughs, awkward.

“I’ve got three or four boxes waiting for you in the other room, and I’ll have another one for you before I take off for the day,” I tell her.

“Great. I guess I’ll get right to it, then,” Robin says.

When I bring the last box in for her a little while later, I notice that “The Te of Piglet,” companion/follow-up to “The Tao of Pooh,” is sitting on a table beside her purse. “This is actually an adult book,” I say.

“Oh, I know,” Robin says, trails off, and turns a bit red. I realize that she’s planning to take it home with her, and that she probably feels like she’s just been caught stealing. Let me put it to you like this: if you come to my bookstore and alphabetize books for free for fifteen hours a week, you can have a “Te of Piglet” whenever you please.

“You should check it out, I’ve heard good things,” I say. “‘The Tao of Pooh’ is supposed to be good, too.” I head to the door and wave. “Have a good weekend, Robin. Thanks for all your help.”

0

For the reading

Meant to post this about a week ago, but what’r ya gonna do? The piece we were all waiting for narrating the creative and charismatic tension between Jay and Kanye through the Watch the Throne tour as a redemption story.

The Up series should be in the core 9th-grade humanities curriculum. Even if it meant bumping, like, Lord of the Flies (which I loved), I’d still think so. It’s fucking LIFE! Wish I’d seen it at 14. (What it is is it’s a documentary series that has been revisiting the same cross-class group of individuals from age 7, every 7 years, and ongoing– the next one’s 56-Up — testing the “give me the child until he is seven and I will show you the man” iea). Here’s an interview with one of the subjects (the one who kindof jumped class to became a scientists at UW@Madison) (ty, Kottke!). Teaser:

While committed to the project, he says confessing all in front of the camera has never been easy. “It’s always very disturbing. It’s the fact that they don’t show you the way you want to be shown – but that’s not the main thing. They ask you some really disturbing questions. They stick a camera under your nose and ask – ‘Why did you choose your wife?’ – and then it’s shown to gazillions of people. I’ve learnt that the stupider the thing I say, the more likely it is to get in. You’re asked to discuss every intimate part of your life. You feel like you’re just a specimen pinned on the board. It’s totally dehumanising.”

This excerpt from a speech to J-Street by former Palestinian politician and non-violent activist Mustafa Barghouti about nails the problem of the West Bank for Israel:

What is apartheid? Apartheid is a system where you have two laws, two different laws, for two people living in the same area. If you don’t like the word apartheid, give me an alternative to a situation where a Palestinian citizen is allowed to use no more than 50 cubic meters of water per capital year, while an Israeli illegal settler from the West Bank is allowed to use 2400. How would you classify a situation where the Israeli gdp per capita is about $30,000 while a Palestinian’s gdp per capita is less than $1400?

Yet we are obliged to pay the same prices for products as Israelis do. More than that: We are obliged to pay double the price for electricity and water that Israelis do though they make 30 times more than we do.

Segregation of roads is another issue. This is the last place on earth, actually the first place on earth where people have been segregated with roads. I’m talking about roads in the West Bank, major roads are exclusive to Israeli settlers or army or Israeli citizens.

I cannot describe to you to the level of violation of human rights.. we’ve left to see Israeli army using dogs against our nonviolent settlers in the most vicious way. Which reminds us of what happened during the Segregation system here in the United States.

So the problem is very clear. Of course it is either two states or one state. But the reality is, What we are witnessing today with the passage of time is that people will be [left] with one or two alternatives. Either it’s a segregation apartheid system, or one democratic state system,. This is the choice we will all face unless some kind of a miracle happens and I don’t know what that miracle is.

Psychology may be about to debase its credibility as a scientific discipline. Some dude at the University of Virginia’s about to try to replicate every study published in three major psychology journals back in 2008. The popcorn’s in the microwave. Opening salvo:

“Ultimately it’s a waste of everyone’s time if I can’t replicate the effects,” he says. “Otherwise, what are we working on?

I feel like everyone’s been <3ing this TNC post on the opposition to racism as a rhetorical pose versus as an actual value (DeLong, Sullivan, LG&M among others), and it’s for good reason. Read it. And at least watch James Baldwin’s section of the video that kicks it off (starts at about 13 minutes in, and runs about 20, if I remember). Right now it seems to me to be the most powerful speech I’ve ever heard.

This NYT piece about the real-time socio-cultural dynamics resulting from the commodification of African tribal practices is provocative in what’s probably a good way. Even if not, it’s interesting and the writing is vivid. Teaser:

In the West we have a particular definition of authenticity and a mania for it as a standard for art, especially art that we envision as elemental, unmodern, unspoiled. We gauge genuineness in terms of age, rarity, uniqueness, history of use, motives for creation. But in Africa, as often as not, authentic is simply what works, socially and spiritually: for example, the way each Dogon tourist dance keeps a larger dance, and Dogon identity, alive.

What accounts for the more ambiguous outcomes of decriminalizing prostitution versus the unambiguously positive outcomes of decriminalizing drugs? In the case of prostitution, the legitimated commodity can suddenly demand expensive rights, supported by the power of the state, driving up the price of doing business compared to the still illegitimate competing commodities trafficked in illegally from abroad. At the same time, if you can decouple the sale from the identifiable-as-legit-or-not body of the prostitute (using the Internet), you’re a lot safer as a trafficker in the decriminalized jurisdiction — police investigators are disempowered as they need to procure some substantive reason that a given operation isn’t legit in an information void. This makes the decriminalized market an attractive hub for illegal traffickers with whose wears the legit, empowered, and fairly-paid prostitutes have to compete and often can’t. Here’s an NYT discussion of the topic.

Still, I think it’s a progressive step in a system in flux. Thoughts?

That’s all I got for now.

Happy friday, everyone!

Here’s another comic from the archives you may not find funny:

PS – Maybe the Red Sox just aren’t very good? (H-t Matt Eckel)

1

All Your Indie Rock Sensibilities Are Belong to Montreal

I think this result can probably be attributed to the little Montreal music renaissance the city had when I was a student there, when dead-tree outlets like the NYTimes and Rolling Stone decided that the Mo-town of the Great White North was rock and roll’s latest, greatest hope. I wouldn’t be surprised, that is, if limiting the data set from the period between 2003 (right around when Montreal began to garner international attention) and the present skewed the outcome a bit.

These guys studied the Last.fm data for 200 cities around the world dating back to 2003. This is compiled from some 60 billion pieces of data that Last.fm collects from its users

[...]

They then use recently developed statistical techniques to decide which cities lead others. They then construct  a network in which a link pointing from one city to another indicates that one follows the other.

The results are interesting. They show that certain cities appear to lead others for various genres of music. For example, Montreal seems to lead North American in indie music listening habits and the leader for hip hop is Atlanta. In Europe, Paris leads for indie music whereas Oslo leads for music as a whole.

So listen up, has-beens: where were you when you first heard Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade? Cause I was in the front row at the Corona Theatre, watching them share a top-billing.

Eat it, hipsters. You just got owned. Take your skinny jeans back to the women’s section at the thrift store. I’ll be with the cool kids.

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Day 4

I get to the main office/occasional-impromptu-bookstore around half past one. Rose is in the back room, consolidating tattered mass market paper backs into those cardboard trays beer sometimes comes in. You know the ones. The book sale we hosted last weekend kind of went bananas, and the three rooms we’ve taken over on the first floor, to flood with shelves and boxes and tables full of books, are a mess. Rose is a volunteer, probably in her 70′s, five foot nothing, round but nimble — an avid walker. I don’t really need her to be sorting through mass market paperbacks. I’d just as soon throw them all away — there’s certainly no dearth of them. But she’s restoring a semblance of order to the place, which is appreciated. And when I get to the point where I do need her to do something, she’ll do it. I couldn’t really ask for much more from a volunteer.

Rose once called me on a Friday night at around eight o’clock, just around dinnertime. I was in New York City for the weekend. I was, if you can believe it, eating dinner because, as mentioned, it was just around dinnertime. I was, moreover, eating a dinner that my, um, “friend” had prepared for me — the very first meal she had ever cooked for me, as a matter of fact. So, of course: phone number I don’t recognize from an area code in Massachusetts while I’m on a date? I better answer that call!

“Hi, Tom, it’s Rose.”

Rose, Rose… who on earth is Rose? Ohhh. Rose. ”Um, hi… Rose? What’s, uhm, up?” Waving to pretty lady across table, This will only be a second, promise.

“Well, I was thinking, I can get you all the leftover books from the library sale in Marblehead. Do you have a minute? You aren’t eating dinner or anything, are you?”

“No, yeah, no, it’s fine. I ju–”

“Well, what we could do is…”

It was only a couple minutes later, when Rose said something about how we could discuss her plan to get books “tomorrow” since I was “going to be at work” (she was thinking about stopping by the office to help set up the book sale, anyway, and why not kill two birds with one stone, right?), that I realized she probably didn’t really keep track of her weekdays all that well.

“I’m actually in New York City this weekend, Rose.” I made sure to emphasize how very weekend it was. “I probably won’t be back at work until Tuesday. But we can definitely talk about it then.”

“Oh, is today Friday already? Well, how about that, you’re right.”.

In the end the two of us did end up making the NYC-dinner-date-interrupting trip to Marblehead to salvage thirty boxes of unwanted books. I chauffeured in the company dump truck. “When you said you had a truck, you really meant it,” Rose said as she opened the door. I have rarely feared more for a person’s life than watching Rose try to climb into the passenger seat that day. It was like watching a grape trying to do the monkey bars. My plan was that if she let go of the oh-shit handle and started to fall, I’d grab her arm and hold her up. It’s only now that I realize I probably just would have dislocated her shoulder if that’d happened. Or, like, ripped the entire arm right off. You can pluck a stem from a grape pretty easily, after all.

So today, when I’ve finally finished sifting through a giant blue laundry hamper full of books and magazines books and three ring binders and books and video tapes and CDs and books, I ask Rose if she can give the mass-markets a rest and put all the non-fiction books I’ve boxed up onto the appropriate shelves in the non-fiction room. “I’ll wheel them in on the dolly and put the boxes on the tables. Can you just go through them and plop the books down where they belong?” (The volunteers have established a weird genre-bending, pseudo-Dewey decimal shelving system for the non-fiction room. I let them roll with it because it’s less work for me, and because it seems to make them happy. It’s all about the illusion of control, I guess.)

“Sure, yep. I can do that,” Rose says. And that’s exactly what we do.

0

GBRO’S DREAMBOY

2

Ditch the Electrical Umbilical

My wife and I ordered a new corner TV cabinet a few weeks back to replace the particleboard Walmart number we’d purchased after moving in together five years ago. Eager to ditch the college-quality eyesore, I began disconnecting components as soon as the new cabinet arrived and we managed to maneuver its wider-than-remembered bulk through the front door and into the kitchen.

Five minutes and one minor electrical shock later, I was greeted by this rather horrifying sight:

For those of you keeping track at home, this is apparently the sort of electro-intestinal carnage that one can expect from a years-long Royal Rumble starring, in no particular order, one high-definition television, one Nintendo Wii, one Blu-ray player, one satellite receiver, one Apple TV, one sound bar, one cable modem, one wireless router, and one high-definition signal switcher — that last device being necessary to manage the feeds from the aforementioned Blu-ray player, satellite receiver, and Apple TV in light of the single, solitaryHDMI input on our (relatively) old Westinghouse.

My first instinct upon witnessing this modern-day Cobble’s Knot was to hit up Maniac Mageeon the celly and then curl up in the fetal position while he worked his way through it with only the promise of a large cheese pizza for payment. After learning from my school-teacher wife that the book was not, in fact, based on a real person however, I eventually hunkered down to untangle the Gordian gnarl myself, wondering all the while when technology would finally free us from a tethered entertainment existence once and for all.

The most obvious candidate for wired obsolescence, of course, is the Blu-ray player (which would already require one less cord if I hadn’t cheaped out and purchased the ethernet-only version instead of the wireless one to access online content). In my opinion, there’s a better-than-even chance that Blu-ray discs will prove the last physical audio/video medium to gain widespread adoption, as more and more of us turn to Internet-enabled streaming media to meet our Hollywood hankerings.

Unfortunately, aside from pre-recorded movies offered by your cable or satellite provider, conventional bandwidth wisdom dictates that broadcast television is probably still a few years away from being able to pipe true 1080p resolution (at 60 fps — not 24 fps) directly into your living room — to say nothing of Ultra HD programming, which DIRECTV has just recently announced it is working on and which Japan intends to transition to by 2020 (the year — not the TV show).

Of course, once you ditch Blu-ray, cable/satellite doesn’t need to be far behind. As streaming content libraries at Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Google, and future competitors continue to grow, the concept of paying for dozens of channels that you never actually watch will become almost quaint. And while we’re consolidating, why not build TVs with wireless routers right in them? They’re already a prominently and centrally displayed piece of equipment, so Internet signals to your other connected devices shouldn’t suffer.

And if you can figure out a way to build a portal into the TV for third-party video game manufacturers, perhaps a single peripheral is all you’ll need to integrate their controllers as well, while the games themselves are delivered directly through your all-in-on uber-monitor. Actually, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the real Apple TV rumored to be debuting this fall incorporated multiple elements of my cord-free free-thinking.

[Googles…] Well, speak of the devil! (who, I might remind you, did convince Adam to partake of a certain doctor-repelling fruit once upon a time). According to Macworld UK two days ago, “Apple is working on a television set with voice-control and a touch-screen remote, which will come with Apple’s very own game console.” Well, applejacks! Now if they can only figure out how to power the whole thing via a giant Powermat, we’ll really be in business.

(crossposted on Motherboard)

2

Day 3

I pull into the parking lot of Marc’s condominium complex at quarter past five, turn the car off in front of the handicapped ramp, and phone him. I let the phone ring two times and hang up. This is our system. When the phone only rings twice, he knows I’m downstairs waiting for him. I see him through the double doors in his little lobby —  a cane, weathered ball cap, untucked, unkempt shirt, full white beard. As he gets closer I can make out the slightly curled upper lip, and his twitchy left eye. I unlock the door. He gets inside the car.

“Here,” he says, “I brought you something.” He hands me a 50th Anniversary edition DVD box set of some old sci-fi series I’ve never heard of, and two CDs by musicians I’ve never heard of either. “I’m telling ya, there’s always something on that bench,” Marc says, referring to the bench inside the lobby where, apparently, there is always something. “It’s a great place to pick up free books and stuff. People move out and they just leave it there.” Marc smiles at me: proof.

“Trisha Yearwood?” I say, glancing at the titles and starting my car.

“Oh, Trisha Yearwood. The country singer. I used to like her.”

I’m taking Marc grocery shopping because Marc can’t drive anymore. He fell into a diabetic coma a few months ago, and collapsed on the floor of his little condo. Marc is a lifetime bachelor who mostly keeps to himself: he laid there on his floor alone and unconscious for six days before anyone finally found him. His blood sugar was in “you should be dead” territory. It’s pretty amazing that he’s not.

Before all of that mess, he finagled his way into my life by way of my current career in books. He met my boss at a farmer’s market, told her that he used to own a bookstore in Cambridge, and said that he would love to talk to us about our book business. She agreed.

When Marc and I first met, it was at a tête-à-tête with my boss and our executive director. My first impression of him was that he was insane. But despite vague pronouncements about how, “What you should be doing is turning this [holding a book] into this [pulling a dollar bill out of his pocket],” I could tell that deep down he knew what he was talking about. I liked him. I thought he could be an asset. My executive director disagreed.

“So, what the hell was that all about?” he said after Marc had left. And it’s true: Marc’s a chatterbox and he occasionally takes a very, very long time to get around to making a point; but he’s also a guy who ran a bookstore in Harvard Square for most of his life. He knows the business, inside and out. He knows Robert Pinsky, for Christ’s sake, he went drinking with John Updike. Frank Bidart still owes him money from back in the days when he still collected books. (Bidart’s since gotten into collecting CDs, Marc tells me, showing his age.)

Marc was the guy who would stumble into my basement office once or twice a week to shoot the breeze or drop off boxes and boxes and boxes of books. I’d hear his familiar slow shuffle down the ramp to my loading area — these waltz-like, deliberate steps, pretending so badly to be reluctant — from around the corner at my desk. Then into view comes Marc. “I brought you something,” he’d say, leading me up to his van with a dolly to cart 1500 free books into the basement. He must have done this two dozen times.

He maintained that he hated books — he literally said this every second or third time I talked to him — but he didn’t hide his hypocrisy very well. Few addicts do. Marc is an old man who spent his whole life with books. Of course he hated them. Of course he couldn’t give them up.

Then one day, I suppose, Marc stopped showing up to my basement office, and that was fine, because Marc can come and go as he pleases. And then one day it became a month, by which time I’d already called our only mutual contact asking about him. He also hadn’t heard from Marc and was a bit concerned. I Googled obituaries. My bosses and I discussed sending the police to his condo to check on him. But we didn’t. I sent him a letter, telling him I hoped everything was okay. It was returned unopened.

During this time, Marc was in a coma on his living room floor, then in a hospital, and then in a rehabilitation center. He was told he might never walk again, so he walked miles and miles of laps around the hallways in the rehab facility. He was told he wouldn’t be able to eat real food again, so he worked with a speech therapist and on his own until he could. He was told he’d have to inject himself with insulin every day for the rest of his life. His doctors are now considering switching him over to a pill instead of shots.

There is the unfortunate matter of the catheter, though, and, if you’ll excuse the pun, Marc’s still pretty pissed off about that whole damn mess. We’re walking around in the grocery store. I’m putting O’Doul’s into my shopping basket.

“I wonder, if you can’t drink alcohol, if you can have O’Doul’s instead,” I say, to no one in particular.

“Nah,” Marc says. “I don’t want to drink anything that makes me have to go pee.” He squints his eyes, kicks his head left, and raises his eyebrows: You know what I mean?

“Still, you should try to stay hydrated,” I reply.

1

Don’t be a Dick…unless you’ve got his watch

Dick_tracy_large

On January 13, 1946, Chester Gould gave Dick Tracy a two-way wrist radio and adolescent boys across the country became transfixed with the idea of miniature portable communication devices. In 1964, Gould upgraded Tracy’s radio to a two-way wrist TV, and our collective pubescent unconscious immediately began conjuring all sorts of filthy possibilities that continue to haunt our dreams to this day.

Early efforts to duplicate Tracy’s most iconic gadget were, how to put this… less than sophisticated.

Even employing Groucho Marx as a spokesmodel failed to satisfy our cravings for wrist-worn awesomeness.

Now fast forward to last Thursday for thedebut of Sony’s new ‘SmartWatch’, which is designed to work in tandem with your Android phone to provide you with more — ahem —timely access to the various and vital tweets, emails, status updates, phone calls, etc. that would otherwise force you to paw your phone out of your too-tight thrift store jeans every time your pocket buzzed.

Facing competition from Kickstarter darlingsPebble and inPulse and having just revised its losses for the previous financial year to $6.4 billion (yeah, that’s right — “billion”), Sony, the former consumer electronics giant, is undoubtedly praying for the SmartWatch to become as iconic as Tracy’s own well-known band of techno-bling — or, better yet, anything made by Apple in the last ten years.

However, whether or not the SmartWatch is a hit on its own merits, Sony certainly could have taken a bite out of Apple’s recipe book when it comes to advertising. As of today, there is absolutely no information about the SmartWatch on Sony’s homepage, forcing potential customers to glean second-hand information from sketchy-ass blogs.

Moreover, even typing “SmartWatch” into the main search bar yields zilch at the moment. It’s only when you click on the Sony Store and then search for “SmartWatch” that the product appears. Can you imagine visiting Apple.com at any given moment and not seeing a drool-worthy photo of the latest iPad or iPhone right on the front page?

On the plus side, Pottermore — the Harry Potter uber-site created and overseen by Just Kidding Rowling herself — opened last weekend, and since it’s apparently being run in partnership with top Sony brass like CEO Charlie Redmayne, CTO Julian Thomas, and COO Tom Turcan, maybe the boy wizard has enough tricks up his over-sized sleeves to turn the floundering federation’s fortunes around again. Don’t bet your last raven’s claw on it though. Vanquishing He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named was probably a hell of a lot easier than yanking Sony out of the scrap heap.

(crossposted on Motherboard)

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