Archive for June, 2008

NBC – TV News Coverage

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

KNBC, the powerhouse Los Angeles-area NBC affiliate, has a new digital broadcasting initiative called Digital 4.4 News Raw. They produce lots of interesting coverage, including news and stories about cutting edge companies that might not get lots of mainstream attention in a more traditional broadcast news setting.

News Raw content airs on KNBC’s digital channel, on News Raw Online, and on the station’s various traditional/analog newscasts.

Last week, 2SWAP founder Todd Beck went in studio at KNBC for a sit-down interview with Digital 4.4 Anchor Mekahlo Medina. You can check it out here.

Mahalo, Mekahlo!

$3.5 Million Typos? Please stop.

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Typos are everywhere. They show up in the NY TIMES, text books, public signage, government forms, and in advertising copy.

In the TIMES, I get it – they publish many thousands of words every day. A couple of glitches here and there are to be expected. It’s actually impressive that there aren’t MORE. In text books, typos aren’t cool. Kids are trying to learn, and if you make them learn from flawed materials, you risk confusion and misunderstanding.

In public signage, it’s easy to see how bureaucracy and lack of attention may result in the occasional mistake. Likewise on a government form.

When it comes to display advertising, which is NOT CHEAP, there is almost no excuse for such mistakes. With so many writers, editors, designers, proof readers, printers and publishers in the mix, it is pretty galling that typos make their way in to $100,000 ads in newspapers and magazines, and sometimes on to billboards and signage.

But there is a special class of typo that has really been bugging me lately. Call it the $3.5 million typo. (more…)

Bacon Maple Bars @ Voodoo Doughnut and Wedding Chapel

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

This has nothing whatever to do with books or swapping, but I just had to post about Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon. Portland is renowned for its counter cultural civic bent, and the guys behind this one-of-a-kind doughnut shack certainly fit the bill.

Now, I should disclose that the traditional Maple Bar is among my top 5 doughnuts, a hallowed list filled out by the Maple Glazed French, the Stan’s Peanutbutter and Banana, and certain Apple Fritters (especially Arlene’s in West L.A., circa 1982, long before they turned it into a Starbucks). I’m not sure what my fifth doughnut is – probably the Krispy Kreme standard glazed, but let’s move on.

Voodoo offers a maple bar with a few crispy strips of bacon riding on top (pictured here). Yes, it sounds like it should be illegal, but there is precedent. First, bacon is often maple-cured. Next, Sona in Los Angeles makes a bacon ice cream that’s very, very good – smoky and sweet. Finally, Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles delivers waffles, butter, chicken, and maple syrup in a commingled and spectacular execution. So…salty…sweet…meaty….doughy…fried. I’m seeing a trend that says maple bacon bars are just fine. Next time I’m in Portland, I’ll check them out.

Oh, the madness doesn’t stop at the maple bacon bar. Voodoo offers Swahili lessons once a week (really), and they run a wedding chapel right there in the doughnut shop where they officiate weddings of all kinds – traditional, same sex, commitment ceremonies, pet weddings, you name it. $175 bucks gets you the chapel, the ceremony, and doughnuts and coffee for 10. A better deal is not likely to be had, unless you consider an unlimited number of gently used books absolutely free of charge to be a better deal. In that case, please keep rocking at 2swap.

Would You Watch A Reality Show About A Book Swapping Website?

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Okay, so that’s not a very good idea for a reality TV series, but I’m sure there are plenty of great show ideas out there.

Did you ever read a book that made you think, “They could make a reality TV show out of this.”?

One that comes to mind for me is The Yosemite by John Muir – one of my all-time favorite reads. It’s a series of essays about Muir’s amazing relationship with what is now Yosemite National Park. To attempt to recreate the adventurous spirit, ecological sensitivity, and pioneer’s grit conveyed by Muir’s prose
would be a challenge for any TV production.

I mention it because a new website that launched today wants everyone to send in their unscripted TV show ideas. The site was founded by the guy who created FEAR FACTOR, BIG BROTHER and DEAL OR NO DEAL, so he knows a little bit about making hit TV shows. They promise to pay for any good ideas that they actually develop into a show.

Check it out. It’s online now…

Remembering NBC's Tim Russert

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

One of the brightest lights in broadcast news went dark today.  Tim Russert, a leading political commentator, has been a fixture in televised political coverage for as long as I have followed the sport of politics.

In so many ways, he went too soon.

In his 50s.  That’s too soon.

With a college-aged son (just graduated, I understand).  That’s too soon.

On the verge of the 2008 presidential main event.  Russert’s own Olympics, and a season in which I’m sure he would have earned his fair share of gold medals for insightful coverage with the power to both elevate and guide the national conversation.

And two days before Father’s Day.  When he will be so sorely missed by his family.

Take a moment to wish Tim Russert peace, and his family healing.  And remember that he was the author of a popular book on the profundity of the parent-child relationship that’s worth reading (or re-reading).

The Word Is Cookie

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

2SWAP has gotten some more great press, this time from

Cookie is a parenting magazine and website for stylish, sophisticated parents. They gave 2SWAP a shout out in a story about ways to donate or swap things you no longer need.

We truly appreciate Cookie’s love and support. Now we’re going to go have a cookie.