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OCTOBER 25, 2007   More below: INTELLIGENT TV  

Junk food fix

I went to a meeting a Lakewood High School after work and got there too late for the free food. Afterwards I drove to Lakewood Library to take back The Things They Carried and to renew (for the 4th two-week period) Teach Yourself Post-Modernism. I picked up a couple of DVDs for the weekend and thought about food. I hadn't had any supper except for the two cookies I'd managed to score at the meeting.

I could have gone home and made a nice salad or something healthy, but for the last several days I've been craving a Big Mac. I know, bad idea, but still...

Burger King receipt for Whopper Jr. and small friesThere was no McDonald's anywhere nearby—imagine that!—but there was a Taco Bell across the street and a Burger King a couple of blocks away. Years ago when I was commuting to Herron School of Art twice a week, my regular lunch at the airport before my Monday flight to Indianapolis was a Whopper Junior, so I thought I'd try it again.

When I got my burger and small fries for a buck each—hard to argue about the price—I had a passing thought to ask for the nutritional info sheet that they keep hidden behind the counter, but figured I'd be better off not to know. At least I'd walked to the BK and back to my car, figuring it would at least burn off a few of the hundreds of calories I was about to consume.

But you know what the real problem turned out to be? It didn't taste all that good.

I'd made my peace with multi-national corporate factory-farmed over-processed fat-laden super-salty junk food because I remembered it as pretty tasty, but it wasn't. Disappointing, but maybe a good thing. It will be a while before I try Burger King again. That salad is starting to sound pretty tasty right about now.

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Intelligent TV online?

I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but it may just be true. I've avoided becoming a YouTube junkie because most of the videos are stupid and juvenile. There's good stuff (teacher, pay attention) of course, but you have to dig it out from the piles of self-indulgent crap. But YouTube isn't the only game in town. Try TED Talks, a collection of short (about 15 minutes each) presentations by some of the most imaginative and talented people in the world. There are artists, inventors, businesspeople, humanitarians... some whose names you'll recognize immediately, some you've never heard of.

Watch sculptor Theo Jansen's amazing lifelike sculptures of plastic tubes and pop bottles that walk along the beach powered by the wind, or listen to Stephen Sagmeister explain how design and happiness are connected in his life. (By the way, Hillman Curtis' video portrait of Sagmeister tells a story both similar and very different.)

Al Gore talks about the climate crisis with a sense of humor you might not expect. Gregory Colbert shows part of the Ashes & Snow film and explains how this relates to saving animals.

I've only watched a few of the dozens of videos, but I haven't been disappointed yet.

Had enough yet? Well, if you have a few minutes to spare, hop over to CurrentTV, a prettier, more organized, less chaotic version of YouTube that was created by Al Gore (yes, that Al Gore) and former Clevelander Joel Hyatt. The Viewpoints section features more political topics with a tilt toward the left, not surprisingly. The videos I watched had much higher production value than a lot of what's on YouTube (i.e. they didn't look like crap). You have the option of voting, tagging, etc. as well as uploading your own content.

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