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Influential Me

29 Oct

It is no lie to say that my photo is included in the latest issue of Fast Company magazine, the one with Lance Armstrong on the cover, on page 138, in a section about Social Media’s New Stars.

(Yes, that’s how it’s referred to on the cover.)

Inside, an article is called “The New Influentials,” and it’s all about the “unexpected players” who “exert outsize impact and power online.” As the magazine asks, “Who is the most influential person online?”

Well, according to Fast Company, I’m one of them.

That much is all true. Continue reading

Happy Birthday, EW!

27 Feb

In the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, which hit newsstands and my mailbox yesterday, Managing Editor Jess Cagle notes in his editor’s letter that the magazine celebrated its 20th birthday this month.

It’s a significant milestone, and even though my only connection to the magazine is as a reader, I still feel like celebrating.

In fact, I’ve been an EW reader since that very first issue in February 1990, and have read every single issue mostly cover-to-cover (all 1,092 of them).

During these 20 years, I’ve spent some summers away from home, and I changed my address or bought duplicate copies during those times so I could stay in the loop and wouldn’t miss anything. At one point, about 10 years ago, when I was in my hoarding days, I had actually saved every issue of the magazine, and the day my parents asked me to get rid of them (i.e.: to throw them out) because they were selling their house and couldn’t lift the heavy boxes, was a real bummer. Continue reading

One Degree Closer?

7 Jun

I was reading the new issue of Entertainment Weekly this weekend, and in a Q&A with actress Kyra Sedgwick, who is, of course, married to Kevin Bacon, I saw this exchange:

Do you pay attention to your press?
My husband is a Google Alert guy. He has one on himself and me. I’m like, Dude, I don’t want to know what people are saying.

So I just wanted to test that out. If you’re reading this, Kevin or Kyra … Hi there! How’s it going?

I Feel the Need … the Need to Read

14 Jan

It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been at my new job for a week and a half now. It feels like longer, and I mean that in the best possible way. Really. But of all the things I expected to miss, not surprisingly, the thing I miss the most is my commute. Which is not to say I’m unhappy with driving a half hour each way versus spending 45 minutes to an hour on the T. In fact, I quite enjoy driving to work, spending my mornings getting some extra time with Matty and the gang, and getting home at night before 6 p.m. No, what I miss is that quality time I had to read all my magazines. Would you believe I’m still trying to make my way through a two-week-old issue of Entertainment Weekly? My new issue of Rolling Stone showed up yesterday and I have no clue when I’m going to read that. God help me when my other magazines show up in the mail.

I know what you’re thinking: It’s a terrible problem for anyone to have. And yes, I’m definitely in mini-crisis mode. What’s made the situation worse is that Monday I decided I would start bringing magazines with me to work so I could read during lunch. Of course, that night, How I Met Your Mother put the kibosh on that plan (see below). So, maybe I just won’t read as much as I used to. Maybe before long I’ll start canceling some of my subscriptions. Or maybe I’ll just have to watch less TV and make more time to read at home. Whatever I do, I guess it’s safe to say I won’t be reading a magazine at work anytime soon. Thanks, Marshall.

Passed Over Again and Again and Again

20 Nov

Great. Another year and another shun. For the umpteenth year in a row (yes, it has been about umpteen years), People magazine has passed me over for the title of Sexiest Man Alive. Last year I could take solace in the fact that I had been named Time‘s Person of the Year just a few months earlier. This year, no such luck. Why? Well, today I found out that not only was I not sexy enough for People but that I also was not stylish enough to be called one of the 25 Most Stylish Bostonians by the Boston Globe. And even worse, I also found out that I didn’t even rate a slot in the 2009 calendar of Nice Jewish Guys. Jeeeeeeez. That one hurts most of all. I mean, not only am I nice and Jewish, but I’m also a guy! What do I have to do to get some love around here?

Out of Town Goes Out of Town

19 Nov

Well, this sucks. When you think of Harvard Square, chances are good you think of Out-of-Town News, that iconic newsstand located right in the heart of the square. For more than 50 years, it’s been right there at the top of the escalator after getting off the T. With the store closing later this month, the Square loses not just a landmark but also more of its character. It’s true, I’m not a big fan of Cambridge, and I like Harvard Square a lot less now than I did when I was in college, but I know a loss when I see it. I never took that newsstand for granted and can remember (though not in any specific terms) countless times when I stood there browsing the new issues, often buying them too. I’ll miss Out-of-Town News — much more than the nearby Crate & Barrel, which is also closing — and I’m sure I’m not alone in that sentiment.

No, Thank You?

27 Jul

I got my latest issue of Esquire in the mail yesterday, and it came with one of those wraps around it. Since it was about three weeks after the time when I usually get my issue, I figured this was a notice telling me to pay up or else my subscription will end. Nope. “Dear Valued Reader, I appreciate you being a reader of Esquire,” the letter began. It continued, telling me that I will get guaranteed savings and unlimited delivery — and oh, I don’t have to do anything right now to ensure that. This notice was just for my records.

Alright, fine. Thanks, Esquire. But if I’m such a valued reader, why couldn’t you have sent me my issue on time and sent this non-urgent notice separately? The biggest value of being a subscriber — other than the convenience of having the issue delivered to my mailbox, and the lower price I pay for all the issues — is having the issue delivered, if not before, then at the same time the issue hits the newsstand. Esquire, please don’t be like Rolling Stone, which usually comes about a week after the issue hits newsstands (and that magazine is bi-weekly!). Just get me my issue on time and I’ll continue to be a happy subscriber. Thanks.

X Marks the Spot

11 Jul

I’ve always been kind of fascinated by reading about myself. Or rather, articles and books that discuss my generation or groups I’m a part of. So that’s why I chose Jeff Gordinier’s X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft But Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking as my latest book to read. I’ve now finished it (hooray!) and wanted to weigh in.

In the book, Gordinier posits that Generation X, the generation that’s often perceived as misunderstood, hard to categorize, and largely ignored, has the unfortunate luck of being sandwiched between the self-centered Baby Boomers and the self-centered Millennials. And because it’s often pigeon-holed as being forgotten, the accomplishments of Gen X are often overlooked. To wit: members of Gen X created YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, and Craigslist. Zines, a Gen X creation, were the progenitor of blogs. Netscape changed the face of Web browsing. Jon Stewart, Barack Obama, Kurt Cobain, and Dave Eggers are all members of Gen X. In essence, we, the members of Generation X, have a lot to be proud of.

So why are we always overlooked? Gordinier’s major thesis is that it’s because Boomers and Millenials keep hogging the spotlight, either by comparing their accomplishments to ours (Boomers) or by adopting and assuming ownership of our creations (Millenials). “The boomers never came up with anything that approaches the hugeness of Google,” he writes. “John Lennon got bitch-slapped for saying the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, but Google … gives God a run for His money.” Gordinier, also an editor-at-large at Details magazine, adds that we are a generation that doesn’t want or crave attention, and we’re happy to make change happen quietly, almost under the radar, if it brings us personal satisfaction. Getting attention isn’t the goal, like it is for so many Millenials (Paris Hilton takes a pretty big — albeit expected — hit for that), and that only serves to make our accomplishments that much more significant. And that’s also probably why you may not have heard of the Poetry Bus, for example, which gets almost as much space in the book as Nirvana and Lauryn Hill.

Amid the pop culture and political references and recaps of case studies we’ve heard before, Gordinier makes a moderately effective call to action, and says we’re nearing the time when Gen X can reclaim its rightful place in the world. “The Bush crowd will be gone soon, and then we can pounce,” he writes.

I’m not sure the book is as compelling as I’d hoped it’d be, but it’s a pretty easy read and it oftentimes reaffirms the belief that Generation X is not a bunch of slackers. I wish the book was more rallying cry or manifesto like it is at the very end, but there’s something to be said for learning from others’ example. Sure, I may not have changed the world like some people have, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be proud to be associated (in the most minimal of connections) with the people Gordinier includes. And hey, like the author encourages, maybe my time is coming. Stay tuned.

(And if you want to hear more about this book, here’s a video of Gordinier explaining what it’s all about.)

Still My Favorite, Week After Week

23 Jun

Entertainment Weekly is out this week with its 1,000th issue.

It’s a double issue, so it’s really the 999th and 1,000th, but the point is, EW has put out that many issues.

And what I think is pretty cool is that I’ve read every single one of them just about cover to cover.

Until last year, I didn’t read many books, but I certainly did read magazines, and since its first issue in 1990, EW has been my bible. Continue reading

"King" of Broadway

8 May

The announcement today that Whoppi Goldberg will host the Tony Awards this year reminded me that I never put up a link to my story about likely nominee Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and star of the Broadway show In the Heights.

Lin-Manuel, who is only 28, started writing his show when he was a sophomore at Wesleyan and never expected to act in it.

But his collaborators found that no one knew the show’s freestyle raps as well as he did, and thus, somewhere along the way to Broadway, Lin-Manuel became the star.

The rest, as they say, is history. Continue reading

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