Laughter is a gift. But those that can give it to others are truly remarkable, especially those like Larry Miller who make it a lifetime pursuit. Imagine, spending every waking moment figuring out how to make a stranger laugh. And, yet, that’s what these professional comics aspire to achieve – to get you or me to laugh, if even just once.
Sure enough I once again dug deep into the TED archive during some recent air travel. I haven’t been this addicted to something since I compulsively tackled four hours of Sudoku on an ORD-SFO flight. Although there were plenty of inspiring and interesting presentations (as well as a few duds) I was left most impacted by funny-man actor/comic Larry Miller who made a marathon-length guest appearance on Kevin Pollack’s fledgling web talk show. A stripped down set with black background feels a bit like Charlie Rose. But it takes only a few seconds to realize this is all about the laugh… and the story. Ah, the story telling! Larry Miller demonstrates his ability to spin a yard time and time again, over the course of 90 minutes in a relaxed, commercial-free atmosphere that only something like the Internet could enable.
Magazines and the iPad Reading Hype Curve
Why all the hype around magazine apps (such as Wired and Flipboard) for the iPad, then the sudden loss of interest?
This was the question Leo Laporte’s co-host Sarah Lane was asking on the geek-out show of the century: iPad Today.
She wanted to know why seemingly every single major media outlet would sing the praises of the latest iPad app that digitized a magazine, say like one from Wired, only to drop off the radar after a few days. It was true. We had seen this happen with Wired. Then scores of others: Popular Mechanics, Time, Sports Illustrated, Flipboard, and so on. The headlines were massive; transform this, transform that. A revolution. Astonishing! But days later… crickets. Are we, the Tweet-obsessed, suffering from that much fantod?
Well not really.
Here’s the two-part answer:
1. Marketing $ can buy publicity – those headlines often (usually) don’t happen by accident. They are the result of weeks and often months-long marketing campaigns to drum-up publicity. If you want to know why something is inexplicably receiving an inordinate amount of attention, chances are there is a strong PR team behind the initiative.
2. America really doesn’t like to read – this is the more interesting one. In general, people don’t like to read. Well, at least they don’t like to read anything longer than 140-characters. Of course this is an over-generalization. But it is a real trend. So when it comes to these uber-sexy iPad magazines, people get very excited at first. Look at this: flip the page, click the image, etc. But then after the initial swiping euphoria wears off, they quickly find themselves firing up Angry Birds. Why? Because, they quickly realize: Oh, you mean, I need to read? How boring!
Backgammon (for blood)
Astonishing that such a simple game involving dice and checkers can last centuries. Even more impressive is the amount of competitive fury it can invoke. Year after year, a Stark family tradition involves Backgammon tournaments. Crying, cursing, trash-talking, getting into fantods and dancing are all integral components.
Note: As always the case with Sunday Espresso, the Word of the Day must be used at least once.