Monday, February 23, 2009

Curious about Benjamin Button?

OK. So the Brad Pitt-Cate Blanchett pic didn't sweep the Oscars. It was still an amazing movie. I spent most of the nearly three-hour film wondering: How did they do that?

Now, I know. And you can, too. Spend 18 minutes watching Ed Ulbrich, the digital-effects guru from Digital Domain, explain the magic.

Thanks, TED, for all your "ideas worth spreading."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A smile I can do without

Yes, times are tough, but is a bargain always a bargain? I recently went to the Greater Philadelphia Home Show. It was packed. Maybe the free admission and free parking had something to do with the crowds lining up around the building. Once inside, it seemed the vendors were getting good interest in their products and services. All was about what I expected…until I turned the corner on the last aisle. There I saw several dental chairs filled with people getting their teeth whitened. At the Home Show. In public. As the masses milled around.

Once home, I did a quick Internet search and found that this is an up-and-coming “business” opportunity. You don’t need to be a dentist; instead, you’re a dealer. Taking your reclining chairs and LED light activators on-site for quickie whitenings at conventions, bridal showers, garden shows—just about anywhere.

I’m still in a state of shock and awe. My teeth hurt just thinking of the possible complications.

I’ve gotten used to seeing chair massage and spine assessments at public events, but dental procedures? What’s next—laser eye surgery in food courts? Hair transplants for balding golfers at the first tee?

Is there no modesty? Must everything be shared and on public display?

One news release I found claims “Teeth whitening has potential for unlimited income.” And you can “Be your own boss.”

That may be true, but I prefer to trust my smile—and any other healthcare matter—to the professionals. The ones with the proper initials after their name. In the privacy and comfort of their medical offices.

ADDENDUM: Shortly after posting this piece, I saw a commercial for the CBS Cares Colonoscopy Sweepstakes. Really. With the online promotional materials claiming: "When the colonoscopy is about to begin, you'll be given drugs which will make you feel like you're at Woodstock... only without the music." I kid you not. Apparently CBS cares in a very strange way.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Running Philly Style

Rarely have I ever witnessed the rise of a phenomenon from the front row. With the March issue of Runner's World magazine, I now see that I have. For the past four years, I've been hearing about, watching, and running alongside kids participating in the Students Run Philly Style program.

SRPS uses running to help kids in Philadelphia improve their health , self-esteem, and choices in life. In its short tenure, more than 700 have taken part...and the success stories seem the stuff of Hollywood movies. The latest tribute in Runner's World, by Tom McGrath, is titled "Youth movement: A running program gives inner-city kids confidence, discipline, and a bit of bling."

Heather McDaniel is both program director and its major champion. Congratulations to her and to the entire gang for achieving this national recognition.

I look forward to seeing those newly famous faces and bright blue shirts at upcoming races.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

All the news...

Blogs. Social Networks. Tweets. I'm still trying to sort out the value of each and how it fits in my day. Granted, I'm not one to spend more time than is necessary in front of the computer. If I'm not working at the keyboard, I prefer to stretch, get some fresh air, read the paper. A real paper. Newsprint in my hands. Pages to turn. Stories to skim.

I must be in the minority, because newspapers are in crisis...and I don't get it. To me, a newspaper is like the main meal of the day and blogs are like tasty snacks. You can't get all your nutrition from snacks, but snacks can satisfy your hunger between meals.

Try getting your cat to roll around and play on your blog. Never happen. But just try to keep the cat from batting around the newspaper whenever you're trying to read. That's quality time.

One resource that's working to save newspapers is the Newspaper Project. Click on over and give it a read. Otherwise, we could wind up singing Joni Mitchell songs for departed papers: "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone...."