Archive for May, 2010

Hej Lisbeth Salander

“The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” third in Steig Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, goes on sale today. Since I purchased the first one, “Girl With a Dragon Tatoo,” online through Barnes & Noble, they now send me email offers to reserve copies of the second and third volumes. So, I’m hoping my copy will be in the mail when I get home. [update: alas, it was not. It didn’t arrive until Saturday, four days later.]

Last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine features an article by Charles McGrath titled: “The Afterlife of Stieg Larsson” about how his brother and father are running his estate and have generally locked out Larsson’s partner, Eva Gabrielsson, from any of the profits. But, Gabrielsson has Steig’s laptop with an unfinished fourth book, so I’m sure she’ll make out okay.

But, I really liked Michiko Kakutani’s review “A Punk Pixie’s Ominous Past“, in Sunday’s Book Review. Here’s Kakutani’s pithy two-sentance description of Lisbeth:

Lisbeth Salander, Stieg Larsson’s fierce pixie of a heroine, is one of the most original characters in a thriller to come along in a while — a gamin, Audrey Hepburn look-alike but with tattoos and piercings, the take-no-prisoners attitude of Lara Croft and the cool, unsentimental intellect of Mr. Spock. She is the vulnerable victim turned vigilante; a willfully antisocial girl, once labeled mentally incompetent by the state’s social services system, who has proved herself to be as incandescently proficient as any video game warrior.

And, as a marketer myself, I’m thoroughly enjoying the marketing tactics being used to promote the book. Check out http://stieglarsson.net/ for a movie trailer-like intro to the book. And, go to http://www.facebook.com/salander1 to friend Lisbeth (as of this writing she has 895 friends). On her page, she has an audio compilation of Swedish music, including music by ABBA, Ace of Base and Jens Lekman. Also, there’s a Salander look-a-like contest where you can win a $250 gift certificate to Ikea.

Frederick R. Weisman Museum

I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1994, a year after the new Weisman Museum was built. In fact, I walked back and forth across the Washington Ave bridge and watch it go up day by day. This was three years before his Guggenheim  structure in Bilbao, Spain created the “Bilbao Effect” where cities would hire starchitects to build buildings that would draw tourists. And, well before the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles built in 2004. But, you can see them all in the humble Weisman Museum perched on the Mississippi and captured so beautifully by MKB Photography below:


30 Years of Pac Man

When I was a kid, I delivered the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch, morning edition and afternoon edition. After going door to door to collect the subscriptions, I would immediately go to Rosie’s on Old Hudson Road and blow all of my tips on Pac Man and Galaga. Thanks to Google, I found out that today is the 30th anniversary of Pac Man. So, you go to Google.com and either click “Insert Coin” or wait 10 seconds and it will start automatically.

Pac Man used to come in a 6 foot plywood box that sat on the floor. Now, it comes right in your search engine. Crazy!

Some Dreams Are Bad Dreams

Prohibition is all the rage these days. Terry Gross interviewed Daniel Okrent who recently published Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. Then, Ken Burns is working on a documentary about prohibition that will come out sometime next year. Then, last week, Rachel Maddow gave the commencement address at Smith College (click here for the video) and told the story of Carry Nation, whom God spoke to and told her to go and destroy saloons. Maddow’s cautioned Smith’s graduates “don’t be like Carry Nation”…”some dreams are bad dreams.”

The story of prohibition is an interesting one. American’s actually voted to give up their right to drink alcohol for 13 years (1920-1933). During that time organized crime thrived, thugs became celebrities,  and, ironically, liquor consumption actually increased. By one estimate, for every bar that closed, 16 speakeasies opened in its place. Prohibition turned law-abiding citizens into criminals, and empowered corrupt government officials to break the law and profit from it. It was a complete failure.

Ultimately prohibition was repealed in the midst of the Depression basically to raise much needed tax revenue. Maybe we fix our current budget woes by legalizing (and taxing) marijuana?

But, how was the 18th Amendment ever passed in the first place? And, what can we learn from it today? Okrent explains it this way:

Somebody said at the time of Prohibition that the difference between the pro-Prohibition and the anti-Prohibition groups in the years leading up to the passage of the 21st Amendment was that the pro-Prohibition people were out there marching and organizing and voting and the anti-Prohibition people were too busy drinking to do any of those things, I think that’s a joke of sorts, but not entirely. That is to say, we don’t fight to keep things the way they are; we fight to change things. And I think we’re seeing that again today. We’re seeing groups that want to change the way we live our lives in America and very few who are defending existing means of government.

Ponder that message with Maddow’s conclusion to her commencement address:

Do not for yourself today, but for yourself to be proud of at the end of your life. Do not for the fame, but for the glory – learn the difference. Do not just for your own life, but for the life of your nation, that is still, for all its challenges and its flaws, is in many ways the best hope on earth. A country that needs you and the best you have to offer and your best judgment.

Door Covers for Your Man Cave

I never understood the appeal of Fathead wall graphics. A full-size image of Lebron James in your living room, really?

But the fellas at style-your-garage.com in Munich Germany are on to something. For about $100 for a door or $229+shipping for a garage door you can pimp your door. Check them out at http://www.style-your-garage.com/

My boys would love this one:

Every small bungalow in Minneapolis should have an elevator:


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