Consumer Reports Money Adviser: Don’t Buy Into Expensive ID Theft Protection Services
Identity theft can scare the bejeezus out of anyone—drained bank accounts, credit cards set up in your name, purloined Social Security numbers, oh my—but that doesn’t necessarily means you should buy into an expensive credit protection service. Our wise older siblings at Consumer Reports break it down in a new installment of Money Adviser. Full Article »
The One Resolution You Need To Make In 2012
As the New Year approaches, many of us are thinking about our resolutions. What will we vow to do this coming year to be better--both at what we do for a living, and as members of the human race? There’s only one resolution you need to make and keep. Do this one thing and you’ll be good to go for the year: Do what you say you are going to do, otherwise known as accountability. Full Article »
In Pursuit of the Perfect Gift? It’s a Lot Closer Than You Think
Traditionalists and etiquette mavens are complaining, but the rest of us can thank social scientists this season. They have come up with experimental evidence to support three revolutionary rules for people who hate shopping for holiday gifts:
1. You don’t have to spend any time looking for “thoughtful” gifts.
2. You don’t have to spend much money, either.
3. Actually, you may not have to spend any money. Full Article »
Quadrennial Effect Could Make ’12 a Very Good Year
It sounds like the title of a thriller by Robert Ludlum: “The Quadrennial Effect.” Actually, it is something that may make 2012 less of a nail-biter for media and advertising companies.
The fact that several events that happen every four years will take place next year will stimulate the media and ad industries, leading forecasters said on Monday, offsetting the detrimental effects of the European debt crisis. Full Article »
Hot Stuff Sure, Hot in Cleveland has Betty White, but is this little sit-com that could the heir to “The Golden Girls?” It just may be. Though Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick and Valerie Bertinelli may seem much younger, they’re actually quite similar in age to those sassy ladies of Miami. What’s more, as the show enters it’s third season (which premiered Wednesday November 30), it’s showing all the hallmarks of a series that keeps viewers coming back time and time again: a cast of talented TV veterans, a willingness to put them in wacky - almost unbelievable - situations that push the boundaries of taste, and (most important of all) the ability to deliver laughs every time.
The Reason for the Season? Here’s an unusual way to put the Christ back in Christmas — with Mangus! It’s ostensibly the tale of a young man who is desperately committed to play Jesus in his community production of “Jesus Christ Spectacular!” (a low-rent rip-off of “Jesus Christ Superstar”) as did his father and grandfather before him. But - following in the tradition of John Waters (who actually makes a brief appearance in the film), it’s really just a unfolding series of events — each more bizarre and unexpected than the last. With impish Leslie Jordan playing the show’s director, the amazing Jennifer Coolidge deadpanning as Mangus’s mother and Heather Matazzaro as Mangus’ half sister (whose character seems to have been named “Jessica Simpson” for entirely comedic purposes), the moral to this story may just be that some stories are better left amoral.
Oh What a Night The holidays don’t always seem to make sense - the tense family moments, the frenzied spending, the romanticizing of inclement weather - but nothing helps make sense of the holidays like tales of how other gay people handle them. Remembering Christmas, offers a tasting menu of Christmas stories by three gay authors. Tom Mendicino strands a world weary New Yorker in a backwater bar on the way home to West Virginia. Frank Anthony Polito follows a college kid revisiting his high school crushes. And Michael Salvatore offers us an unexpected reunion in an airport that leads to cocktail-fueled reminiscences and reconsideration of roads not taken. Get your copy for about $10.
Retailers Woo the ‘Mission Shoppers’
Americans don’t shop the way they used to. It’s not only that they’re going to the mall less often. Consumers in this post-recession era are also less likely to stick around and browse after they walk into a store. Marketing pros say that shoppers tend to come armed with oodles of Web research on brands and prices. They buy, then leave. No browsing. No impulse buys. Full Article »
Why Americans Won’t Do Dirty Jobs
Skinning, gutting, and cutting up catfish is not easy or pleasant work. No one knows this better than Randy Rhodes, president of Harvest Select, which has a processing plant in impoverished Uniontown, Ala. For years, Rhodes has had trouble finding Americans willing to grab a knife and stand 10 or more hours a day in a cold, wet room for minimum wage and skimpy benefits. Full Article »
Scary Good Have you tuned into American Horror Story on FX? If not, you’re missing out on one of the most addictive new shows of the year. Set in a haunted Los Angeles house whose residents seem destined to die in horrible ways (and then stick around as ghosts to make sure that others do the same), the the scintillating series provides a weekly dose of good old fashioned frights, interwoven with a complex supernatural mythology that is still unfolding. Plus, it’s got one of the most attractive and talented casts on TV—with healthy doses of naked Dylan McDermott in the pilot, plenty of the great Connie Britton (who probably should have won an Emmy for “Friday Night Lights”) and the phenomenal, glamorous, creepy Jessica Lange, dishing out movie-star quality scene after scene. Tune in for new episodes Wednesdays at 10pm EST on FX.
Mommy and Me If you’re tired of reading the same old coming out story, the same old coming of age story or the same old moving to the big city story, then have we got a twist for you! Conversations and Cosmopolitans by Robert Rave and his mother Jane Rave tells the story of Robert moving to New York and coming out to his parents (by letter, no less!) from the points of view of both Robert and his Mom. In each chapter of this inventive memoir, Robert tells a story of his young, gay life and his mother answers with her point of view. Sometimes providing multiple points of view on each topic exposes hilarious or intriguing differences between the two, but more often than not it reveals a mother/son bond that will touch your heart.
Relaxing Gifts The holiday season is upon us, and that means racking our brains to come up with gifts for a list of people who seem to already have everything; so we’re helping you out with a few suggestions. On the higher-end, do you know someone who would love a roaring fire but has no place to put it? Consider gifting them with an Anywhere Fireplace. For a more price-conscious choice, fans of holistic medicine may appreciate an accupressure mat from Hälsa, designed to ease pain by lying on spikes which encourages relaxation using the body’s own hormones.
The 7 Iconic Business Buzzwords That Need To Die
When I started writing a blog to support my book, Talk Normal: Stop the Business Speak, Jargon and Waffle, I had an inkling that many of the words I loathed were common in the offices where I was working.
But this could be an illusion: Once we’re bothered by something, we tend to notice it more. So it could be that the business buzzwords that make me cranky are no more significant than the guy who bumps my chair when he walks past--which, on second thought, isn’t a big deal, he’s been doing it for years. Full Article »
Don’t Blink! The Hazards of Confidence
Many decades ago I spent what seemed like a great deal of time under a scorching sun, watching groups of sweaty soldiers as they solved a problem. I was doing my national service in the Israeli Army at the time. I had completed an undergraduate degree in psychology, and after a year as an infantry officer, I was assigned to the army’s Psychology Branch, where one of my occasional duties was to help evaluate candidates for officer training. We used methods that were developed by the British Army in World War II. Full Article »
It’s the goal of most ad makers today to create brand content that’s at least as watchable as the entertainment it supports. It doesn’t happen often, needless to say, but U.K. dairy brand Yeo Valley and agency BBH London hit the jackpot with “Boy Band,” a mock music video that aired during the opening live show of the British edition of X Factor on Saturday. Full Article »
In Praise of Bad Steve
When filmmaker Stanley Kubrick died, the steely perfectionist who ground actors into submission died with him. Kubrick was a good man—Matthew Modine once described him as “probably the most heartfelt person I ever met”—but by all accounts, his shoots were crucibles for which the faint of heart need not apply. When he walked onto a set, Stanley Kubrick would get exactly what he wanted, and he would exact this vision without mercy. Upon his death, however, only a mythical Saint Stanley remained, a slightly taller Yoda with a slightly better complexion. Full Article »
Steve Jobs: He Brought the Show to Business
Much has been and will be written about Steve Jobs’s outsize footprint in digital culture: the screens we stare at, the music files we listen to, the hardware in our pockets. I’d stipulate to all that, but I found myself thinking about his less obvious influence on business and the journalists who cover it.
Business has always been important, but until Mr. Jobs arrived, it was rarely accused of being cool. As a young reporter I made a lane change from writing about pop culture and politics to business, and I can remember the look of sympathy from my colleagues and the message that went with it: Good luck in the Land of the Suits. Business, while vital to the civic common, was not thought to be an important part of the stories that we tell each other. Full Article »
Dinner and a Movie The delicious motion picture Toast whisks audiences away to 1960s Britain, where the clothes were loud and the food was boiled. The film tells the (mostly true) story of British food-writer Nigel Slater, who grew up with a frail mother whose cooking was so bad that toast was invariably the best thing on the menu; she was soon supplanted by a stepmother (played with great sauciness Helena Bonham Carter), who used her own far superior cooking to wrap Nigel’s father around her little finger—prompting young Nigel to develop some cooking skills of his own. “Toast” is an utterly delightful romp—positively drenched with the music of Dusty Springfield—that follows Nigel’s emerging personality, burgeoning sexuality and growing passion for food until he finally builds a life that he can stomach.
Hung Love It’s been hard not to notice the advertisements for the third season of Hung—premiering on HBO October 2—featuring a hunky, shirtless Thomas Jane between the sheets with a fan of shapely ladies’ legs. In season three, Jane returns as Ray Drecker, a man who faces financial troubles by bringing his most important tool to the table. This season promises a fresh infusion of drama, as Ray and Tanya (his partner in “Happiness Consultation”) face off against deliciously nasty rival pimp Lenore and hunky new-gigolo-on-the-block, Jason. Plus, later in the season, Ray is set to encounter his first transgendered client—we can’t wait!